Finding Something “Better” Than God Planned
For more than two hundred years, every person who entered the temple saw everything the way Solomon had established it. Entering through the east gate, one first saw the magnificent bronze altar designed by David and built and dedicated by Solomon. That was exactly the way it should be. One should not approach God’s holy presence without a reminder of man’s need for redemption from sin.
However, in the reign of Ahaz it all changed. As men entered through the east gate, the altar was not there. It had been removed toward the north side of the temple area (2 Kings 16:14). There was another altar, even greater in appearance, that now stood where the one dedicated by Solomon once stood. Men had forgotten that when Solomon finished his prayer of dedication of the temple, God sent fire from heaven to burn the sacrifices placed on the altar (2 Chron. 7:1). Yet, somehow that very altar had been replaced by a new one!
How had all this come about? King Ahaz (the father of righteous King Hezekiah) was in dire circumstances because the Syrians had come and besieged Jerusalem. Instead of turning to God for help, he asked the Assyrians to come help him and send treasures of gold and silver from the temple as gifts to the king of Assyria. The Syrians were defeated, and Jerusalem was saved. To show his gratitude for the help given to him, King Ahaz traveled to Assyria and while there saw the beautiful altar used in pagan worship. He made drawings of that altar and an exact copy of it was soon brought into the holy temple in Jerusalem. God’s plan for the bronze altar was rejected, and now a pagan altar stood in its place.
Evidently, King Ahaz saw the new altar and the pagan gods worshiped at that altar as being more desirable than the true God and the altar He had dedicated. Ahaz did not use the altar to worship pagan gods, he just preferred that altar above what God had designed.
Isn’t this precisely what has happened to the holy church designed and sanctified by the blood of Jesus? It is not that difficult to read the New Testament and see what He planned. That church had no clergy/laity concept with a religious hierarchy ruling over His people. There were no reverends, vicars, or elevated priests. Morality was not defined and changed by church conferences or conventions where mortals decided the acceptability of the LGTB lifestyles of our day. It was so different then—baptism was always by immersion; the Lord’s Supper was observed every Sunday; worship was designed to appeal to God rather than to entertain men.
Ahaz thought human wisdom was superior to God’s wisdom, and America is making the same mistake today!