Feb 27-28, 2021
From the Pastor’s Desk: Rev. Collins Kung
In the last week’s worship sermon, I talked about King Hezekiah’s facing the trial of crisis. He trusted in the Lord to overcome the crisis. He was facing the invasion by the Assyrian army and the Assyrian general had arrived in Jerusalem. 2 Kings 18:17 “And the king of Assyria sent the Tartan, the Rab-saris, and the Rabshakeh with a great army from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. When they arrived, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is on the highway to the Washer’s Field.” Hezekiah was facing the extreme pressure of Rabshakeh, which shaking the confidence of the people in Judah, he chose to go to the House of the Lord to pray. At the same time, he took the initiative to ask the prophet Isaiah for prayer. As a result, God sent a message of comfort and deliverance to him through the prophet. Hezekiah’s performance is in sharp contrast with his father Ahaz.
Chapter 16 of 2 Kings wrote: Ahaz, the father of King Hezekiah, king of Judah in the southern kingdom, began to reign. The Bible describes him as an evil king. Unlike his father David had done what was right in the eyes of the Lord his God, he sacrificed and made offerings on the high places and on the hills and under every green tree and even burned his son as a sacrifice. At that time, the northern kingdom of Israel and Judah were in a state of hostility. The northern kingdom allied with the Syria kingdom, Rezin king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, came up to wage war on Jerusalem. They besieged Ahaz.
Isaiah chapter 7 wrote about the crisis at that time. Isaiah 7:2 “When the house of David was told, “Syria is in league with Ephraim,” the heart of Ahaz and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind.” God told the prophet Isaiah to comfort Ahaz. Isaiah 7:3 “And the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out to meet Ahaz, you and Shear-jashub your son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Washer’s Field.“ God was even willing to give a sign to Ahaz so that he could relax and calm down. This sign is the famous Immanuel prophecy in the Bible. Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”.
However, Ahaz ignored it and chose to rely on Assyria to rescue Judah from the plight. He sent messengers to Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria and said, “I am your servant and your son. Come up and rescue me from the hand of the king of Syria and from the hand of the king of Israel, who are attacking me.” He took the silver and gold that was found in the House of the Lord and in the treasures of the king’s house and sent a present to the king of Assyria. Later, he personally went to Assyria to meet with the King of Assyria, introduced the Assyrian altar, built another Assyrian altar in the House of the Lord, and offered sacrifices there. And he moved the bronze altar that was before the Lord from the front of the House, from the place between his altar and the house of the Lord, and put it on the north side of his altar. This showed that Ahaz has no God in his heart.
The same crisis, the same place, but different reactions. Let’s reflect deeply on the reactions of the two kings, hoping that you and me, whether in adversity or prosperity, can trust in God, remembering that we are redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ through His precious blood.