2 Kings 16
10Then King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria. He saw an altar in Damascus and sent to Uriah the priest a sketch of the altar, with detailed plans for its construction. 11 So Uriah the priest built an altar in accordance with all the plans that King Ahaz had sent from Damascus and finished it before King Ahaz returned. 12 When the king came back from Damascus and saw the altar, he approached it and presented offerings on it. 13 He offered up his burnt offering and grain offering, poured out his drink offering, and splashed the blood of his fellowship offerings against the altar. 14 As for the bronze altar that stood before the Lord, he brought it from the front of the temple—from between the new altar and the temple of the Lord—and put it on the north side of the new altar. 15 King Ahaz then gave these orders to Uriah the priest: “On the large new altar, offer the morning burnt offering and the evening grain offering, the king’s burnt offering and his grain offering, and the burnt offering of all the people of the land, and their grain offering and their drink offering. Splash against this altar the blood of all the burnt offerings and sacrifices. But I will use the bronze altar for seeking guidance.” 16 And Uriah the priest did just as King Ahaz had ordered.
Evil King Ahaz demonstrated a callous disregard for God’s commands. We condemn Ahaz for his action, but we act the same way if we try to mould God’s message to fit our personal preferences. We must worship God for who he is, not what we would selfishly like him to be.
2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.
5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
Self-control is an important aspect of living the Christian life. The Christian community, then and now, is made up of people from differing backgrounds and viewpoints, making conflict inevitable. We live in a pagan and often hostile world. To stay above reproach, believers need wisdom and discernment to be discreet, and to master their wills, tongues, and passions so that Christ would not be dishonored. How’s your self-control?
7 The days of punishment are coming, the days of reckoning are at hand. Let Israel know this. Because your sins are so many and your hostility so great, the prophet is considered a fool, the inspired person a maniac.
By the time Israel began to experience the consequences of its sins, it was no longer listening to God’s messengers. We all listen and read selectively-focusing on what seems to support our present lifestyle, ignoring what demands a radical reordering of our priorities. In doing this we are likely to miss the warnings we need most… Ask yourself, “Is God speaking to me through these speakers and writers? Is there something I need to change?”
God’s ability to restore life is beyond our understanding. Forests burn down and are able to grow back. Broken bones heal. Even grief is not a permanent condition. Our tears can be seeds that grow into harvests of joy because God is able to bring good out of tragedy. When burdened by sorrow, know that your times of grief will end and that you will again find joy. We must be patient as we wait. God’s great harvest of joy is coming!
5 Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. 6 Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.
2In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves.
God is not against human effort. Hard work honours God. But working to the exclusion of rest or to the neglect of family may be a cover-up for an inability to rust God to provide for our needs. We all need adequate rest and times of spiritual refreshment. On the other hand this verse is not an excuse to be lazy. Be careful to maintain a balance: work while trusting God, and also rest while trusting him….
A good family life is a reward for following God. The values outlined in God’s Word include love, service, honesty, integrity, and prayer. These help all relationships, and they are especially vital to home life. Is your home life heavenly or hectic? Reading and obeying God’s Word is a good place to start to make your family all that it should be.