Ahaz sacrifices his son to a pagan god and kisses #blessed goodbye.
“Therefore the LORD his God delivered him into the hands of 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.” (28:5)
Still the LORD sends Oded to advocate for Judah’s captives.
I don’t know if it’s worthwhile to try to get to the bottom of why someone would choose a god who requires child sacrifice over a God who forbids that sort of thing and extends grace alongside discipline. It is, however, worthwhile to notice how gloriously different the God of Abraham is among other gods.
This stark contrast was to be God’s mode of “evangelism” in the ancient near east. Positioned on a trade route the entire earth used, word could get out about a people whose God provided for them, had clear expectations and loved His people. He starts with love, where as all the other gods started with anger, needing to be appeased. There was always much more at stake than the wealth of Israel. How was the world going to know about this Beautiful Lord if Israel busied themselves with blending in?
This God wasn’t blindly loyal to Israel either. Whenever necessary, He used their enemies to accomplish His tasks. Because, listen, HE IS THE LORD AND KING OF THE WHOLE WORLD.
I’m so glad He’s not like us. Whenever we try to make Him into our own, understandable image, He doesn’t fit. I’m so glad He takes matters into His own hands and didn’t wait for Israel to tell us about Him. I’m so glad matters are still in His hands and I can be still and know that HE is God and HIS name will exalted among the nations.
Make us more like you, Jesus.