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When You’re Struggling, Beware Of This Mistake…

yellow two-way turn sign at the end of a road in a desert
January 9, 2023
Caroline Burk

There’s a lot we can learn from the king’s that we read about in the Bible. Some teach us what to do, and others teach us what absolutely not to do.

King Ahaz is one of the kings who teaches us very clearly what not to do.

I had never heard of King Ahaz until I started reading the book of Isaiah. In chapter 7, we get a glimpse of his story…

Isaiah describes that during King Ahaz’s reign over Jerusalem, a very powerful alliance formed and threatened to overthrow him and his people. Like any human might do at first, Ahaz panicked. God, however, in His infinite wisdom, knew this and sent the prophet Isaiah directly to Ahaz to speak some wisdom over him:

“‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart…'” – Isaiah 7:4

God doesn’t stop there…He gets specific and speaks truth to combat Ahaz’s fears:

“Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah’s son have plotted your ruin, saying,  ‘Let us invade Judah…Yet this is what the Sovereign Lord says:It will not take place,
    it will not happen,'” – Isaiah 7:6-7

When reading this passage, two words stuck out to me…“Be careful” Why did God tell Ahaz to be careful? What was this warning for?

Then, I started thinking about what I do when I get intimidated by the circumstances around me, and this warning made a lot more sense. Whenever I’m consumed by worry or fear, I try to control the situation myself and rely on my own arsenal of resources. Can you relate?

Turns out Ahaz and I aren’t much different because the King did exactly that. Instead of taking God at His word and trusting in His ability to save Jerusalem, Ahaz made an ungodly alliance with the king of Assyria. This temporarily saved the nation from the threat they were facing, but it pushed Ahaz and Jerusalem into idol worship and would ultimately lead to their defeat later when Assyria, who once was their ally, became their enemy and would take them into captivity.

It’s clear…Ahaz made the wrong decision. It’s easy for us to see that as we know how the story ends, but what can we take away from King Ahaz’s mistakes to help us in our own struggles?

1. God’s word will never fail

God told Ahaz that the attack on Jerusalem would “not take place” and He kept His word. Although Ahaz refused God’s help and turned to his own resources, God followed through on His promise. There were consequences to Ahaz’s decision that he would see later, and he forfeited the peace and faith that choosing God’s way would’ve offered, but God will never break a covenant He has made. This is true for us as well. Our Savior is trustworthy and will always follow through on His word.

2. When we enter conflict, we need to “be careful”

God’s warning to Ahaz is one we should take to heart too. God knew the temptation King Ahaz would face as this threat loomed in the distance. God knew he would want to control the situation himself. And God also knows that we face the same dilemma every time a problem arises in our lives. Remembering God’s words to Ahaz can help us find strength turn to our Lord and trust in His ability to save us and provide.

3. God offers to fight for us, but He won’t force us to take His help

God gave Ahaz a choice, and He gives us the same one. God’s strength is always available to us (Psalm 46:1), but He won’t force us to choose Him and trust in Him above ourselves. It’s up to us to turn to God, pour out our hearts, and seek His way rather than our own.

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
-Psalm 46:1

If you’re anything like me and King Ahaz, life’s worries and problems can be blinding and we can easily fall into doubt about God’s abilities and promises. Fortunately, God knows this about us and He sends us wisdom, like the story about King Ahaz, to help us realize our sinful tendencies and choose Him.

May we tuck this Bible story in our hearts and remember it’s lessons every time we find ourselves faced with hardship!

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