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It’s never a good idea to get yourself out of a jam by making a deal with the devil. Just ask King Ahaz of Judah.
To make matters worse, it was Ahaz who had gotten himself into the jam. Soon after he became king of Judah, he threw himself headlong into idolatry. He practiced it, and he even promoted and supported it throughout his kingdom (2 Chronicles 28:1–4).
Because of Ahaz’s idolatry, the Lord allowed Israel and Aram to attack Judah and inflict terrible losses on His people. Perhaps in a moment of desperation, Ahaz called upon the king of Assyria to help. For years the Assyrians had been slowly engulfing all the nations of the Near East into their vast empire, and Ahaz decided to make Judah a subservient kingdom to Assyria if they would attack Aram and Israel and get them off his back. He also sent the Assyrians all the silver and gold from the temple and the royal palace (2 Kings 16).
Ahaz’s plan worked in the short run, but he traded Judah’s independence for it instead of depending on the Lord, and his interactions with the Assyrians led to even more idolatry. He even replaced the temple altar with a new one patterned after a pagan altar from Damascus (2 Kings 16; 2 Chronicles 28:24–25).
Ahaz was the king to whom Isaiah made his famous prophecy regarding the coming of Immanuel (“God with us”). The prophecy was given to reassure Ahaz that he need not fear the threats of Israel and Aram, but Ahaz refused to trust in the Lord (Isaiah 7–9). As a result, the nation became subject to Assyria.