2 Kings 16:10-20

Damascus Falls

10 Now King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and saw the altar which was at Damascus; and King Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the [g]pattern of the altar and its model, according to all its workmanship. 11 So Urijah the priest built an altar; according to all that King Ahaz had sent from Damascus, thus Urijah the priest made it[h]before the coming of King Ahaz from Damascus. 12 When the king came from Damascus, the king saw the altar; then the king approached the altar and [i]went up to it, 13 and [j]burned his burnt offering and his meal offering, and poured his drink offering and sprinkled the blood of his peace offerings on the altar. 14 The bronze altar, which was before the Lord, [k]he brought from the front of the house, from between his altar and the house of the Lord, and he put it on the north side of his altar. 15 Then King Ahaz [l]commanded Urijah the priest, saying, “Upon the great altar [m]burn the morning burnt offering and the evening meal offering and the king’s burnt offering and his meal offering, with the burnt offering of all the people of the land and their meal offering and their drink offerings; and sprinkle on it all the blood of the burnt offering and all the blood of the sacrifice. But the bronze altar shall be for me to inquire by.” 16 So Urijah the priest did according to all that King Ahaz commanded.

17 Then King Ahaz cut off the borders of the stands, and removed the laver from them; he also took down the sea from the bronze oxen which were under it and put it on a pavement of stone. 18 The covered way for the sabbath which they had built in the house, and the outer entry of the king, he removed from the house of the Lord because of the king of Assyria.

Hezekiah Reigns over Judah

19 Now the rest of the acts of Ahaz which he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 20 So Ahaz slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David; and his son Hezekiah reigned in his place.

Ahaz was an odd duck… He goes off to Damascus to meat the king he idolizes (among is other idols), and sees this grand alter that Tiglath-pileser had built. Then he had one made at the temple, but then designates it for all the people to use, and the old bronze altar (made by Solomon) would only be used by the king. Except then he goes and cuts parts of it off, and puts in on a pavement of stone rather than the bronze oxen.

No doubt he does all this to impress the king of Assyria, as if imitation would somehow win him friends. It reminds me of a common saying, though one we don’t commonly follow in our culture (or probably in any culture): “don’t try to be someone else, be yourself.” And indeed, be who God made you to be. God doesn’t have a cookie-cutter, and he didn’t make any of us to be clones of someone else. So perhaps Ahaz wasn’t an “odd” duck, since he was just doing what most of us try to do, pretend to be someone we’re not!

There’s a tagline in a popular kids show, “God made you special, and He loves you very much!” In fact, you might even go so far as to say, He made you unique (and special) because He loves you very much. And the reverse, that He loves you very much because He made you (unique). You are His masterpiece, “created in Him to do good works”, so don’t try to be something you’re not. Be you, because there’s no way on earth you could improve upon God’s design. Even if you think you’re not very special, focus on being who God created you to be, and I know you’ll find that is more amazing than you would ever think.

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