I was reading in Isaiah this morning and found a cross reference that took me back to read the story of King Manasseh, the son of King Hezekiah. That trip then took me through the 1st and 2nd books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles.
I’ve noticed that whether or not someone was deemed a good king often boils down to two points:
1. If they followed in the steps of King David. (Following the Lord and obeying His commands.)
2. Whether or not they took down the high places. (The worship of idols and false gods.)
In speaking about Jehoshaphat, 2 Chronicles 17:6 reveals, “His heart was devoted to the ways of the LORD; furthermore, he removed the high places and the Asherah poles from Judah.”
In speaking of Hezekiah, 2 Kings 18:3-4 reveals, “He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father David had done. He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it.”
That’s pretty clear cut. They loved God and obeyed.
Also clear cut: the reigns of Nadab, Ahaz, Hoshea, Manasseh, Ahab, Joash and others. Check out their stories. You can’t miss them. They are evil.
But you know what really amazed me? It was the number of kings who followed after God but did not tear down the high places.
In 2 Kings 14 we read of Amaziah, King of Judah, “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but not as his father David had done. In everything he followed the example of his father Joash. The high places, however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burnt incense there.”
Can you picture someone you know who follows after the Lord and does what is right? I’m hoping your answer is yes. I’m thinking of two women I know who have had a rush of increased passion in the Lord. Over the past few years I have even watched their demeanor and character be changed through their devotion to the Lord. They have such a desire for Him to have His way in them. They are growing right before my eyes.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” Colossians 3:16a, NIV
“Let the Word of Christ – the Message – have a run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives…” (The Message)
“Let the message about Christ, in all its richness fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom He gives…” (NLT)
I know that these women saw areas that could be considered high places in their lives. They saw them- and rather than simply accepting that struggle or idol, they battled those places that can so easily become idols for each of us. They have let the truth of God’s Word fill their lives to the brim.
I’m convicted. I know that I still have high places. My best guess about my own places? Fear. My fear comes from pride and from a desire for comfort. I fear not being liked and accepted by everyone I come across. I need help to tear these high places down. I know that saturating myself with truth is an excellent place to start. I’m continuing to pray that God will have His way in me.
I know one thing is for sure, I do not want this to be a descriptor that follows my life…
“She followed the LORD, but she did not tear down the high places.”
Change me, O Lord.
“Let Christ’s Word with all its wisdom and richness live in you…” (GWT)