Today’s passage is 2 Chronicles 28:1-15. Let’s go!
2 Chronicles 28:3 (NIV) 3 He burned sacrifices in the Valley of Ben Hinnom and sacrificed his sons in the fire, following the detestable ways of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites.
On verses 1-4: Ever met someone who was easily impressionable? In other words, they would easily fall for anything that any stranger would say and fall headlong for whatever latest fresh, new philosophy or belief system is out there. A good argument can be made that Ahaz was the most easily impressionable king in Judah’s history. Whenever he saw other nations worshiping other gods that he did not grow up with, Ahaz wanted to worship those same gods as well. Whenever he saw some new foreign religious practice that was different from what he grew up with, with little discernment or discretion Ahaz would adopt it, even if it meant doing something as horrific as sacrificing his own children in the fire (v3). At the same time, Ahaz had this tendency to disregard, downplay, and take for granted the Lord whom his father Jotham had worshiped.
What can we learn from this? There is a difference between being teachable and overly impressionable. An attitude of teachability is something that we all need, is fueled by the Holy Spirit and is grounded in humility. Being teachable means having a heart that is open to learning but is also discerning. Being overly impressionable is where you don’t have a strong spiritual foundation and as a result you fall for almost anything easily. People who are overly impressionable have a tendency to worship whatever is new and foreign to them, but then the moment it stops feeling fresh and new, they’ll leave it behind for something that feels newer and fresher. God wants us to be teachable but not overly impressionable.
2 Chronicles 28:5-7 (NIV) 5 Therefore the LORD his God handed him over to the king of Aram. The Arameans defeated him and took many of his people as prisoners and brought them to Damascus. He was also given into the hands of the king of Israel, who inflicted heavy casualties on him. 6 In one day Pekah son of Remaliah killed a hundred and twenty thousand soldiers in Judah–because Judah had forsaken the LORD, the God of their fathers. 7 Zicri, an Ephraimite warrior, killed Maaseiah the king’s son, Azrikam the officer in charge of the palace, and Elkanah, second to the king.
On verses 5-8: Verses 5-7 show the dangers of being overly impressionable like Ahaz: when you are overly impressionable you will be deceived by false thinking, dominated by foreign powers (v5), and defeated in many of the battles you face (v6). Just as Ahaz lost his son Masseiah and his senior officials (v7), and just as the men of Judah lost 200,000 wives and children, overly impressionable people risk losing the most important people and things that God has given them.
How can you avoid being overly impressionable? Study the Word of God diligently and regularly so that you can discern truth from error. Don’t just attend church, but be connected with a small group that you can grow with and who can keep you accountable. Finally, grow your relationship with your Heavenly Father. Overly impressionable people often tend to lack a strong, present, loving father figure. Thus they gravitate toward all sorts of new philosophies easily. But when you have a close relationship with your Heavenly Father, you become much more stable, secure and not easily shaken.
On verses 9-15: The nation of Israel defeats the nation of Judah and is about to make slaves of the survivors from Judah (v9-10). However, Oded a prophet of the Lord convinces the Israelites not to treat their brothers in Judah this way, lest they incur further wrath from the Lord. So instead of turning their brothers in Judah into slaves, they release the prisoners, clothe the naked, feed the hungry, heal the wounded and allow them to return to their homeland (v15).
This reminds me of two important lessons: (1) God cares about the way we treat those who are at our mercy; (2) Just as the Israelites showed mercy to their prisoners from Judah, so God had mercy on us. By sending Jesus Christ and through Christ’s finished work on the cross, God clothed the naked with Jesus’ righteousness, fed the hungry with Jesus’ Word, healed the wounded with Jesus’ touch and released prisoners from captivity with Jesus’ power.
Heavenly Father, may I not be overly impressionable like Ahaz, but may I have a teachable and discerning heart so that I can discern truth from error. Thank You so much also for how graciously You treat us when we are at Your mercy. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!