Ahaz began his reign at the age of twenty and reigned for sixteen years; which during his reign idolatry was escalated significantly. One of the things that he did, “he made his son pass through the fire”; which was abomination in other nations around Judah. There are two ardent thoughts concerning what was intended by making his son “pass through the fire”. One, his son was literally offered as a sacrifice, which was an abomination not just to the other nations, but more importantly to the Lord God. The second understanding of what is meant was that Ahaz dedicated his son on this altar to appease the gods for the good of Judah. It is this second understanding that was likely intended.
As a result of his evil leading Judah into a greater depth than any other, Judah was “besieged” by Syria in alliance with Israel. Ahaz sent a request to Assyria for assistance. The king of Judah used some of the silver located in the temple as a payment to Tiglath-Pileser for his services. Much to the dismay of Ahaz, it was only the nation of Syria and its king, Rezin that were defeated and taken captive, along with Rezin being killed. Israel was still in position to besiege Judah.
Ahaz wanted to thank the king of Assyria and present more gifts. Rather than looking to the Lord for assistance, Ahaz had sought the assistance of another evil leader; but not as evil as Ahaz. During his stay in Damascus, Ahaz saw an “altar”; which he had drawn up and sent to Urjiah the priest, to construct such an altar. When Ahaz returned to Samaria (Judah) he ordered the “new” altar to be placed in a better position next to the genuine articles in the temple and courtyard. He then ordered Urjiah to present the offerings on those idolatrous altars. Essentially he was committing Judah to be under the spiritual authority of the evil one.
As we read this account it is clear that Ahaz was beant toward all manner of evil and idolatrous worship. He had displaced the genuine altar and laver; which a portion was relocated to a tunnel from the king’s palace to the temple. In addition, we see that Ahaz overstepped his jurisdiction of authority in relocating the God given articles of worship.
Every saint of God has a certain level of authority, no question; however it is often observed that “religious” folk will spend and be spent on things that are out of their jurisdiction. We may have authority and have a place of jurisdiction; yet when that line is crossed into another’s jurisdiction, that all kinds of evil things can be birthed.
For our current culture, we observe similar situations, in particular with the government overstepping their jurisdiction that truly belongs to the CHURCH. God gave the Church; apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to equip the saints to do the work of ministry. That is the jurisdiction which doesn’t belong to the government; rather to the CHURCH.
As a minister, it seems as though Urijah didn’t have the back bone to confront Ahaz for constructing the altars and articles of worship to idols. There isn’t anything quite like when people don’t have those who will “speak the truth in love” to correct and lead back to being on course for the Lord. Pastors, it’s time to “man up” and do what God has called us to do; equip the saints.
Saint of God exercise your authority within the jurisdiction the Lord has given you. When we’ve been faithful with what may seem small, He’ll give us a greater responsibility to exercise authority in expanded jurisdiction.