Is your problem big? Then God is bigger – Tuesday, 15th Week in ordinary time – Isaiah 7:1-9

Today’s teaching requires a historical and a pastoral approach. We are introduced to King Ahaz in chapter 7 of the Prophet Isaiah. We are no stranger to Ahaz as we have heard of him in 2 Kings 16. He was a wicked King who ruled Judah in the south. He worshipped false gods and sacrificed his very son to the pagan god Molech (2 Kings 16:1-4).

At this point in history Rezin king of Syria and Pekah king of Israel of the northern kingdom made an alliance with the intention of attack Jerusalem. As the combined armies of Israel and Syria approached Jerusalem, it looked like everything would be lost. The prophet Isaiah comes to him with a clear message from God; Ahaz was to trust God even when all seemed to be lost. Isaiah is asked to take his son Shear-Jashub as a walking object lesson because the name Shear-Jashub means, “a remnant shall return.” Sadly, in this name we are already told the end of the narrative for Ahaz does not trust in God and the people will eventually be taken into exile. Finally, a remnant did return from exile and Isaiah’s son who because a walking object to Azah is proved true.

King Ahaz and his people react with fear instead of with trust in God. They were shaken and unstable in their hearts. Instead of telling their problem how big their God is they told their God how big their problem was. Azah entered into an ungodly alliance with Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria, and even gave Tiglath-Pileser silver and gold that was found in the house of Yahweh as a present to win his favor and protection (2 Kings 16:7-9).

The attack by Syria and Israel did not result in the defeat of Judah. However, while the attack was unsuccessful, the war against Judah greatly weakened the kingdom of Judah. 2 Chronicles 28:6 documents the damage for us. Pekah the king in the north, killed one hundred and twenty thousand in Judah in one day. He also captured 2,00,000 men, women and children, but sent them back to Judah at the command of the prophet Obed (2 Chronicles 28:8-15). 2 Chronicles 28:5 says that the Syrian army carried away a great multitude as captives.

When Ahaz went to meet Tiglath-Pileser, his new master, in Damascus, he saw the pagan altars and places of sacrifice. He copied these designs and remodelled the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem after the pattern of the pagan temple and altars in Damascus. Ahaz is a powerful, extreme example of someone who enters into an ungodly alliance for “good” reasons yet becomes thoroughly corrupted and compromised (2 Kings 16:10-18).

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