“THE HIGH PLACES”
“Joash did what was right in the eyes of the LORD all the years Jehoiada the priest instructed him. The high places, however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there” (2 Kings 12:2-3 NIV).
“[Hezekiah] 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” (2 Kings 18:3-4, NIV).
The story of the kings of Israel and Judah is interesting especially when one sees how the chroniclers recounted the life and time of one king after another. While nearly all the kings of Israel were bad, there were some good ones among the kings of Judah. Some of these “good” kings of Judah had flaws - “the high places, however, were not removed” (1 Kings 22:43; 2 Kings 12:3; 14:4; 15:4, 35).
What are “high places”? They were elevated or hilltop sites dedicated to worship of pagan gods. Most references to high places in the Old Testament indicate a form of pagan worship forbidden to the Israelites.
Solomon worshipped the gods of his foreign wives at the latter part of his kingdom in these high places (1 Kings 11:7-8). Jeroboam gave them prominent position right from the beginning of his reign (1 Kings 12:31-32). The other kings of Judah either worshiped the pagan gods on these high places or remain indifferent to the practice. However, Hezekiah and Josiah stood out of the kings of Judah. They totally wiped out such practice during their reigns (2 Kings 18:3-4; 23:3-9). No wonder, they found favor in the sight of the Lord.
What are the “high places” in your own life? What are the “idols” that are competing with God in your life? Do you realize that they are diverting your attention from things of God? As you are trying to serve God, do you take note of such things? What are the sins that are kept in your life unabated? Solomon pictured them as, “…the little foxes that ruin the vineyards…” (Song of Solomon 2:15, NIV). Have you caught them?
Thus says the Lord, "I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols” (Isaiah 42:8, NIV).
In His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).
This message was first sent out on June 6, 2004.