After the time when the children of Israel settled in the land the Lord God promised them there were some of the people of Israel who were returning from their assistance of their brethren to their homes. They lived on the east side of the Jordan River (while most of the tribes of Israel lived on the west side. Those who lived on the east side of the Jordan River became apprehensive about the future. In order to meet their apprehension, they decided to build an replica of the altar of burnt offering. When they were challenged by the rest of the nation they replied that is was for the sole purpose of their own reminder to those on the west side that those on the east side also belonged to the nation. This was accepted as a satisfactory answer (Joshua 22).
Well over 600 years later Israel had a king, Ahaz, who was not going to be troubled by such a thing as that. He was an evil king, a king whose interest was his own and not anything that was of the Lord.
On one occasion (2 Kings 16), Ahaz met with the great Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser in Damascus (Syria). So impressed was Ahaz with what he had seen of the altar in Syria that he made a copy of the plans of the altar and sent it back to Jerusalem, expecting the priest to build a replica of that. Unlike the replica of the altar in Joshua 22 that was a visual reminder to the whole nation, this replica of the altar from Damascus was an altar that was to be used by the religious community. The king and the religious community cast aside the pattern of the altar the Lord gave to Moses when the Israelites came out of Egypt into the land of promise.
That which the king did was no light thing. In fact, it was nothing but rebellion. While the king thought that he controlled his destiny while he lived on this earth, he was the controlling authority for the nation, in his controlling he forgot that the One who controls life will be right there when the king’s life is over! What would the king think of his grand plan then?
Sometimes we think that of those things we do in life, especially our religious walk of life can be done better if we just do this or that. Perhaps there may be some substance to such a way of thinking. On the other hand, King Ahaz thought the same thing and it was a disastrous way of thinking. This we know if we know the Scripture at all. Let us further know that the Lord’s way is the best way and before we go altering anything that has been done in the past, be sure that it is something the Lord will accept. That which we can be sure of is revealed in the pages of the New Testament. RT