by Fay Davidson
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Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights. But Ahaz said, “I will not ask: I will not put the Lord to the test Isaiah 7:10-12).”
God is not impressed by fake humility, which is generally a sign of unbelief - ‘little’ faith or complete lack of faith.
God had told the prophet Isaiah to tell Ahaz, King of Judah, that the enemies of Judah, Israel and Syria would not overcome Judah. God was saying that inspite of what it seemed like at the time Judah would defeat the two larger countries, eventually.
God also warned Ahaz that if he was doubtful and did not believe the word spoken to him, he would suffer for it; he, King Ahaz, would not be established in his kingdom. In other words, Ahaz would not prosper if he did not believe. To encourage Ahaz to believe that Isaiah was speaking to him directly from God, God invited Ahaz to ask for a sign to prove that the victory he had promised for Judah would come to pass.
But Ahaz did not ask for the sign as God told him to. He said he would not tempt God by asking for a sign, implying that he was a humble man who trusted God and did not need proof of His word. Thus also suggesting that his refusal to ask for a sign, was a good and noble decision for him to make, notwithstanding it was God himself who had instructed him to do so.
Yet, again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, 'Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights'. But Ahaz said, “I will not ask: I will not put the Lord to the test.”
The truth is that Ahaz' decision ‘not to tempt God’ by asking for a sign after God himself had instructed him to do so, stemmed from the fact that Ahaz neither knew God nor understood Him.
If he had known God he would understand that God never speaks an idle word and he cannot and does not tempt people to sin. Ahaz was not the one who at first approached God for a sign. It was God, who invited him to ask for a sign, but he didn’t and he lost out. Ahaz’ lack of trust and fake humility led to his own downfall and that of Judah. The Bible says:
‘The Lord had humbled Judah because of Ahaz, king of Israel, for he had promoted wickedness in Judah and had been most unfaithful to the Lord’ (11 Chron. 28:19).
Instead of believing God and asking him for a sign of victory, Ahaz turned to man (the King of Assyria) for help. He even further demonstrated his complete lack of understanding of God and his ways, by taking it upon himself to design and construct a new and alien altar based on the pattern used by the heathen King of Assyria. To compound matters, Ahaz then removed the altar designed by God from its rightful position (as God had ordered Moses) and placed his personally constructed altar in its place.
Ahaz showed no knowledge or understanding of the God he was supposed to be serving. He did not know the heart and the ways of God. He did not know that God is a God of detail and specifics. He did not know that God does everything with a purpose and an end in view.
Moses was a meek man but he did not fake humility. The Bible describes him as ‘the meekest man on earth’, yet he was able to lead a whole nation of people through the wilderness for over 40 years. He spent many days with God, so he knew and understood the heart of God. He followed God’s instructions exactly as God gave him, without swerving to the right or to the left.
He was daring enough to ask God to change his mind about destroying his own people. He reasoned with God and questioned God, yet God maintained that he was ‘meek’. The true meekness and humility that God seeks after is that which makes us revere and fear Him and walk in obedience to His commands. That is true humility. That is the humility God required of Ahaz – the humility that leads to prompt obedience and submission to him. Any other kind of humility is an act - a pretense to hide the evil in our heart.
Real humility is recognizing your smallness and insignificance before the God who created the heavens and the earth - the God who sees the past the present and the future – the God who possess knowledge and understanding without limit and measure. Real humility is believing what God says about himself. It is fearing and honoring Him. It is knowing how great and awesome God he is and desiring his word above your daily bead. Real humility is giving to God the highest form of worship – obedience.
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