the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“Immanuel God with us.”
These petty kings had troubles enough of their own from the greater powers, yet they could not be at peace, plunder was sweet to them.
the house of David, or the representative of David’s royal house
The object of the invasion by Syria and Israel was to put down the kings of the line of David once for all, and set up the son of Tabeal, a creature of their own. There was so much discontented feeling abroad among his own subjects that Ahaz was at his wit’s end with fear.
Ahaz was probably going there to see that water was secured for Jerusalem in case of siege, or that it was cut off from the besiegers: at the conduit the prophet was bidden to meet the king.
Here was a most encouraging message, and a noble opportunity for Ahaz; he had but to trust in the Lord, and have his kingdom established about him, but he was at that moment meditating an appeal to the great Assyrian monarch, and preferred to lean upon an arm of flesh rather than upon the Lord of Hosts.
This was a mere evasion. He knew that if he accepted a sign it would be fulfilled, and then he would have no excuse for distrusting the Lord, but he did not wish to commit himself to the course of action which faith would involve; he preferred to continue his negotiations with Tiglath-pileser. How universally do men prefer the crooked road of policy to the straight path of faith; such conduct never prospers.
Butter and honey shall he eat, that or until
As Ahaz had refused a sign, God appointed one far above anything he could have imagined. A son would be born of a virgin, a divine child, whose name should be “God with us.” Such a child would naturally reach years of discretion very early, but in even less space than it would take for this heaven-born son to arrive at a responsible age, the two enemies of Judah would both be dethroned. Blessed be the Lord for granting to his people so glorious a sign of grace; nothing can afford such comfort to the troubled as the fact that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.
Ahaz rejected the way of faith, and therefore the prophet added the following threatening sentence
“Are there not with you sins against the Lord?”
2 Chronicles 28:5-15
Ahaz rejected the message of the Lord by Isaiah
2 Chronicles 28:5
His enemies, though they could not take Jerusalem, were suffered by God to devastate the country, and so Ahaz gathered bitter fruit from trusting in man. The king of Assyria was slow in coming to his help, and meanwhile the confederate princes despoiled him.
2 Chronicles 28:7
So that judgment came home to the king, and death was busy in his own household; a due reward for passing others of his children through the fire to Moloch.
2 Chronicles 28:8
All suffered for the common sin, for “the children gathered wood, and the fathers kindled the fire, and the women kneaded dough to make cakes for the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink-offerings unto other gods, to provoke the Lord to anger.” God has ways of punishing sinners of all ages.
2 Chronicles 28:9 , 2 Chronicles 28:10
With holy courage he confronted the host in the name of God who sent him,
2 Chronicles 28:9 , 2 Chronicles 28:10
A humbling question for any of us when we are severe upon others. Is there no beam in our own eye? Why, then, are we so censorious concerning the mote in our brother’s eye?
2 Chronicles 28:11 , 2 Chronicles 28:13
The prophet’s expostulation was thus backed up by some of the leading men, and speedily had a most delightful effect. If all who hold positions of influence would support the Lord’s servants by co-working with their ministry, a world of good would be effected.
2 Chronicles 28:15
This is one of the happiest incidents in the gloomy history of the ten tribes. It showed a tenderness little to be expected, and makes us the more deeply regret that they had not grace enough to throw down the calves, and turn unto the Lord. Fine actions are sometimes performed by ungodly men, just as one now and then sees a lovely rose blooming upon a dunghill.
Lord, we all look up to thee,
As one favoured family;
May all strife between us cease,
As we love thee, Prince of Peace.
Free from all that hearts divide,
Let us all in love abide;
All the power of grace express,
All the heights of holiness.