The nation was in a crisis. Israel and Aram had united against Judah. They wanted to replace Ahaz with Tabeel and rebel against the mighty Assyria. In preparing for a siege, Ahaz went out to inspect the water supply for the city, and it was here that Isaiah came to him with a message from the Lord.
“ ‘Take care and be calm, have no fear and do not be fainthearted because of these two stubs of smoldering firebrands, … It shall not stand nor shall it come to pass … If you will not believe, you surely shall not last.’ Then the Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying, ‘Ask a sign for yourself from the Lord your God; make it deep as Sheol or high as heaven.’ But Ahaz said, ‘I will not ask, nor will I test the Lord (Isa 7:4-9)!’
On the surface, it would seem that Ahaz gives a noble response. However, this came not from faith, but a refusal to trust in God. Ahaz didn’t want to ask for a sign because he didn’t want to rely on God.
“Then Rezin king of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah, king of Israel, came up to Jerusalem to wage war; and they besieged Ahaz, but could not overcome him … So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, saying, ‘I am your servant and your son; come up and deliver me from the hand of the king of Aram and from the hand of the king of Israel, who are rising up against me.’ Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the Lord and in the treasuries of the king's house, and sent a present to the king of Assyria (2 Kng 16:6-8).”
Ahaz did not want to trust in God, but chose to trust in Assyria instead. Went Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser, he saw a pagan altar there, and sent the plans back in order to build one like it in the temple. Ahaz had completely turned his back on Yahweh. He trusted more in Assyria than in Yahweh. And all this after God’s warning through Isaiah, in the later part of Isaiah 7. It wound up being his undoing.
“ So Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria came against him and afflicted him instead of strengthening him (2 Chr 28:20).”
There is a clear message for us. Last week we reflected on struggling to determine God’s will. But there are those who do not struggle to discern his will. God’s will rarely even crosses their mind. The said thing is that like Ahaz, they are supposed to be God’s people, yet they rely on human strength and human wisdom.
We need to remember, "…the righteous man shall live by faith (Rom 1:17)." The only hope for life is not through our own power, might or wisdom. The only hope for life comes through faith in our Lord. What Assyrias to you have in your life? It could be a bank account, your wisdom, your smarts, your brute strength, the system, or________you fill in the blank.