Uzziah is sometimes known as Judah’s great king. Uzziah
means “strength of the Lord.” His other name, Azariah, means “help
of Jehovah.” Uzziah was elevated to the throne at the age of 16, and
under his sound leadership the nation took on a new life of
prosperity. His spiritual guide was Zechariah but, as in the case of
Amaziah, we see that pride brought forth Uzziah’s ruin.
Chapter 16 covers the reign of Ahaz over Judah. He was so
wicked that he even sacrificed his son to Molock. He reigned for
sixteen years, and his friendship with the Assyrian king led to much
trouble. He saw a heathen altar in Damascus and tried to duplicate
it in Jerusalem. In fact, his new altar replaced the God-ordained
altar in the Temple.
Ahaz was led into idolatry because of his friendship with
Assyria. He even stole from the Lord’s house, and tried to bribe the
king of Assyria, but in the end he failed to help Judah at all. In
his reign he tried to compromise and buy his way to victory, but it
only led to shame and defeat.
We could all learn a lesson from the life of Ahaz. God will
not tolerate a compromising Christian. He tells us that we are to be
separate from the world; that we are to come out from among them
that are in the world. It is true that we are to love the souls of
men who are lost in darkness. We are to take the Gospel to them, but
we are never to compromise our stand in presenting the Gospel.
Chapter 17 is a record of Israel’s last king and how he led
the Northern Kingdom into final captivity. Assyria captured Samaria,
the capital of the Northern Kingdom, in 722 b.c., and in verses 7-23
we read of some of the causes of this captivity.