Today's devotion from 2 Chronicles 27 and 28.
After a few fairly faithful kings that stood in stark contrast with the rebellion of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, Ahaz rose to power in Judah. He did things detestable to the Lord. He made idols, he closed the doors of the temple, devoted a multitude of areas to idolatrous worship, and even offered his sons as burnt offerings in the Valley of Hinnom. His wickedness as on another level.
God not only withdrew His hand of protection from them, but actively engaged Judah in His wrath. He moved enemy upon enemy against the Southern Kingdom. They fell to Syria, the were defeated by Israel,the Philistines attacked, and the Edomites invaded. In looking for help, Ahaz sent to Assyria for support. Instead, Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, pressed his advantage and afflicted Judah further.
You would think that all of this would have humbled Ahaz and caused him to search for God, but that wasn't the case. In fact, Scripture says, "In the time of his distress he became yet more faithless to the LORD--this same King Ahaz." (2 Chronicles 28:22, ESV) He began to grasp at straws. He saw that that nations that defeated him worshipped various gods, so he began to pursue these false hopes instead of returning to the promises of God.
It would be easy to point fingers at Ahaz. His folly is obvious for those of us blessed by the fact that we get to look back on this account from the perspective of the chronicler and from the safety of our modern home. However, I would be willing state that we have probably fallen victim to the same rebellion that gripped the heart of Ahaz.
True, you've probably never built a metal image to worship, but we have both probably spent countless hours pursuing false and fruitless sources of hope. We have grasped at the same flimsy straws in an attempt to find some solution to the situation or obstacle before us. Maybe it was spiritual, or health related, or financially motivated, or even relational, but I would wager that you have felt the pressure building and begun to frantically try to solve the problem yourself.
At one point I was convicted by God for the idolatry in my own life. I was a pastor working on a doctorate. I should have known better. But there were blindspots even in my own life. Instead of running to God to help deal with stress and strain, I ran to the kitchen. Food was my source of comfort instead of my heavenly Father. God eventually helped me to see that this was not only futile, it was harmful. It did not help me at all....just like Ahaz's idols.
Is there an idol in your life? Is there some dark corner in which you continue to try to solve your own problems instead of depending on God? Why perpetuate the madness? Today is a new day, and our God is willing to forgive.