Ahaz was the next king who “did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord” (2Chronicles 28:1). He crafted idols to the Baals and sacrificed his own sons in the Valley of the son of Hinnom. He borrowed indiscriminately the gods of the nations around him. Any god will do, “and he sacrificed and made offerings on the high places and on the hills and under every green tree” (2Chronicles 28:4). He even adopted the gods of the Damascus after losing a battle to Syria, reasoning, “Because the gods of the kings of Syria helped them, I will sacrifice to them that they may help me” (2Chronicles 28:23).
Any god will do, it seemed, except the one God, the true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, of David and Solomon, of his own father Jotham, the Lord, the God of Israel. Ahaz broke up the furniture in that God’s temple, using the wood to make altars to his new gods, “and he shut up the doors of the house of the Lord” (2Chronicles 28:24).
When any god will do, there is one God who won’t. Isaiah was prophet when Ahaz was king, and proclaimed the words of the one true God, “I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols” (Isaiah 42:8). God does not play nicely with others. He does not share. “I the Lord your God am a jealous God” (Exodus 20:5). These are not words of petty jealousy, but the deep passion of love, familiar to us, “forsaking all others, I keep only unto you.” No flirting with others.
This was the first of the commandments, “I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:2-3); the greatest commandment, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:5); and the cry of Israel, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Deuteronomy 6:4). This is how truth works. It is pure, it is holy, it is one. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). God stands alone.
My God, Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, King of kings and Lord of lords, there is none like You. You and You alone are God, and You are my God, my first love. May my love be full and pure. All of life, a life abundantly full of love and good and justice and grace, is from You. I seek other ways at my own peril, and yet I do. The results are never good. Thank You for allowing me to run home to You again and again, and for greeting me with open arms again and again.
Each day will begin remembering it is Your day, a day You have created and sustained. I commit my life to You, to Your praise and pleasure. What a way to live!