Monday, January 2, 2012

Tale of two kings

While reading through 2 Kings I noticed stark differences between Jotham (2 Kings 15: 32-38) and Josiah (2 Kings 23: 25).

What exactly did Jotham do? He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord…. Nevertheless, the high places were not removed. He had the power to remove the high places and direct the people to give themselves fully to the Lord but he didn't go all the way. 

Jotham: Compromise
Jotham is an example of compromise. I have heard it said that compromise may be a way to build relationships with people but it's not a way to build a relationship with God. 

Why were high places offensive? As the name suggests, high places were located on hills and mountains. Originally, the people of Canaan went up to these places to offer human sacrifices, blood sacrifices, and worship Asherah, Chemosh, Milcom, and other idols. Idol worship is a violation of the first commandment. 

The people of Israel and Judah blended worship of God and idols. I guess they were trying to cover all the bases so as not to offend God or the gods.

Josiah: Devotion
Josiah was the last good king of Judah. There was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might (2 Kings 23:25). He did not turn to the right or to the left, but did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. 

His leadership was impressive. He destroyed every thing that was an abomination to the Lord.  He got rid of the male and female temple prostitutes. He removed all pagan images erected in the temple. He deposed all priests who facilitated worship of false gods. He even removed horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun (2 Kings 23:11). As we like to say, "He cleaned house!"

As people of the New Covenant, we do not worship in temples made by human hands. Scripture says we are the temple of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:19). God dwells within us; therefore we are called to be holy. 

Which king do we mimic? Are we like Jotham, some days we worship God and then other days we worship on our High Places?

Or are we like Josiah, no compromise; no turning to the left or to the right; fully devoted to Christ?

Either way we choose, there is a price to be paid. May God help us to choose today and through this year to serve God and God alone.

Where do you start? Do what Josiah did: he based his devotion to God 100% on Scripture (2 Kings 22: 11-13). You can't go wrong with obedience to God's word. 

Question: What are you doing to deepen your relationship to Christ?