Originally posted: 3/17/2020
Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem; and he did not do what was right in the sight of the Lord his God, as his father David had done, (16:2).
I’m not sure how many times I read this chapter, searching, trying desperately to see Him. At first, all I could see, on the surface, was a king who “did not do what was right in the sight of the Lord his God, as his father David had done.”
Ahaz, the son of Jotham, became the king of Judah at the age of twenty and reigned sixteen years. And not once is he attributed with attempting obedience in seeking the LORD, the God of Israel. Instead… he seemingly departed as far as one could go.
But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and even made his son pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord had driven out from before the sons of Israel, (16:2).
And as I searched for Him, the words “rejected, disregarded, shunned and cast aside” flooded my mind. And then, something hit me… He has never, nor will He ever, Force Our Allegiance.
Consider Him Who Does Not Force Our Allegiance
From the beginning of creation, the LORD has invited us into a love relationship with Himself; and love relationships are not coerced, they cannot be forced.
God does call us to obedience, but in His great love He Does Not Force Our Allegiance. He desires our love in response to His; a love that will ultimately manifest in a desire to please Him, a desire that results in obedience.
And it is in our obedience, prompted by our love, that He blesses abundantly. God’s Word is clear: obedience positions us in the place to receive His blessing.
Prayerfully consider the following Scriptures communicating His offer to receive His blessing through a love relationship with the LORD God; His invitation that we are free to accept or refuse, for He Does Not Force Our Allegiance.
- And He said, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer,” (Exodus 15:26).
- “If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments so as to carry them out, 4 then I shall give you rains in their season, so that the land will yield its produce and the trees of the field will bear their fruit,” (Leviticus 26:3-4).
- The Lord also spoke to Moses, saying, 38 “Speak to the sons of Israel, and tell them that they shall make for themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and that they shall put on the tassel of each corner a cord of blue. 39 It shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the Lord, so as to do them and not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you played the harlot, 40 so that you may remember to do all My commandments and be holy to your God. 41 I am the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt to be your God; I am the Lord your God,” (Numbers 15:39-41).
- “So you shall keep His statutes and His commandments which I am giving you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may live long on the land which the Lord your God is giving you for all time,” (Deuteronomy 4:40).
- “Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me and keep all My commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever! … 32 So you shall observe to do just as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right or to the left. 33 You shall walk in all the way which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you will possess,” (Deuteronomy 5:29, 32-33).
- “Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. 8 This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success,” (Joshua 1:8).
- “Keep the charge of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the Law of Moses, that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn,” (1 Kings 2:3).
- He who gives attention to the word will find good,
And blessed is he who trusts in the Lord, (Proverbs 16:20).
- “Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Return to Me,” declares the Lord of hosts, “that I may return to you,” says the Lord of hosts,” (Zechariah 1:3).
And Jesus reiterated this truth, leaving no room for confusion or doubt; He calls us to love Him, but He Does Not Force Our Allegiance.
If you love Me, you will keep My commandments…21 He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him…” 23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me,” (John 14:15, 21, 23-24).
How do we respond to Him Who Does Not Force Our Allegiance?
We can think about it this way. Would we feel loved, if we were locked in a room and forced to comply with a standard set by another? Love is always demonstrated in our free will and authentic choice.
The Lord is my portion;
I have promised to keep Your words.
58 I sought Your favor with all my heart;
Be gracious to me according to Your word.
59 I considered my ways
And turned my feet to Your testimonies.
60 I hastened and did not delay, (Psalm 119:57-60).
And the beauty is, He continually offers us the opportunity to choose Him, even in our sins.
“But if the wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed and observes all My statutes and practices justice and righteousness, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 22 All his transgressions which he has committed will not be remembered against him; because of his righteousness which he has practiced, he will live. 23 Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord God, “rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?” (Ezekiel 18:21-23).
What a glorious gift He continues to offers so freely! A gift that prompts our love and gratitude, and precipitates our choice to obey and serve Him Who Does Not Force Our Allegiance.
If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” (Joshua 24:15).
“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love,” (John 15:10).
But Scripture is filled with examples of loveless believers. And so is life. Have you ever felt like a loveless failure? I certainly have! Even as grateful as I am, even as much as I love Him, I still fail in loving Him. But here is the good news! While He Does Not Force Our Allegiance, He Does Fuel Our Ability. We love because He first loved us!
We love, because He first loved us, (1 John 4:19).
He does not ask us to muster up our love and obedience through our own strength. He calls us to trust His work in us. For it is Christ in us Who enables our obedience and our love.
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure, (Philippians 2:12-13).
Today, let us choose to respond in faith, trusting that the One Who Does Not Force Our Allegiance is faithful to do in us what only He can.
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus, (Philippians 1:6).