Uzziah is sometimes known as Judah's great king. Uzziah means "strength of the Lord." His other name, Azariah, means "help of Jehovah." Uzziah was elevated to the throne at the age of 16, and under his sound leadership the nation took on a new life of prosperity. His spiritual guide was Zechariah but, as in the case of Amaziah, we see that pride brought forth Uzziah's ruin.
Chapter 16 covers the reign of Ahaz over Judah. He was so wicked that he even sacrificed his son to Molock. He reigned for sixteen years, and his friendship with the Assyrian king led to much trouble. He saw a heathen altar in Damascus and tried to duplicate it in Jerusalem. In fact, his new altar replaced the God-ordained altar in the Temple.
Ahaz was led into idolatry because of his friendship with Assyria. He even stole from the Lord's house, and tried to bribe the king of Assyria, but in the end he failed to help Judah at all. In his reign he tried to compromise and buy his way to victory, but it only led to shame and defeat.
We could all learn a lesson from the life of Ahaz. God will not tolerate a compromising Christian. He tells us that we are to be separate from the world; that we are to come out from among them that are in the world. It is true that we are to love the souls of men who are lost in darkness. We are to take the Gospel to them, but we are never to compromise our stand in presenting the Gospel.
Chapter 17 is a record of Israel's last king and how he led the Northern Kingdom into final captivity. Assyria captured Samaria, the capital of the Northern Kingdom, in 722 b.c., and in verses 7-23 we read of some of the causes of this captivity.
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