An open Bible and a cup of coffee.

For Ahaz took away a portion out of the house of the LORD, and out of the house of the king, and of the princes, and gave it unto the king of Assyria: but he helped him not. And in the time of his distress did he trespass yet more against the LORD: this is that king Ahaz.”
2 Chronicles 28:21-22


Ahaz was one of the worst kings in Judah’s history, a stellar example of faithlessness and foolishness. When threatened by the king of Syria, Ahaz refused to humble himself before the LORD and seek His help. Instead, he sought the help of the king of Assyria, hoping he would step in and protect him from his enemies. As today’s verse passage tells us, the Assyrian king offered no help to Ahaz, despite his shameless groveling. Interestingly, the parallel passage in 2 Kings 16:7-9 tells us the exact opposite, namely, that the Assyrian king did in fact step in and defeat the Syrian aggressor. What are we to make of this apparent contradiction? It is important to recognize that the books of Kings record, for the most part, bare history with comparatively little commentary. The books of Chronicles, however, not only narrow the focus to the kingdom of Judah almost exclusively, they provide spiritual commentary on the events they record. We may resolve the apparent contradiction by understanding the Assyrian King’s involvement to have indeed neutralized the Syrian threat. Nevertheless, in the long run the pagan king’s involvement was most certainly no help to Ahaz, who was encouraged in his religious apostasy. Similar threats surround us as well. Well-meaning doctors who prescribe pills to mask symptoms may seem like a help to us. Unless they address the root problem, however, their involvement may be less than useless. Unchecked, the problem may grow to become life-threatening. People who refuse to work may think that a Government who gives them a monthly cheque is helping them. In reality, all they are doing is encouraging laziness and dependence, the exact opposite of what the Bible commends (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Counsellors who encourage their clients to persist in sinful lifestyle choices may salve their consciences, but we know that this kind of help is no help at all. If they persist, their consciences may become seared and insensitive to God’s objective moral values and duties (Ephesians 4:19; 1 Timothy 4:2). In the most extreme cases, their very ability to discern truth from error, good from bad, may become hopelessly defunct (Romans 1:28). Let us be wise and discerning (Colossians 4:5), testing all things and holding fast to the truth (1 Thessalonians 5:21). May we learn to recognize help that is help indeed, and may we be ready to offer real help to others also, for their good and God’s glory.

God bless you dear saints,

Pastor John