Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 12 June 19:
Note: Here is a short video overview of Galatians: https://youtu.be/vmx4UjRFp0M
2 Kings 14:3, 4 – “And he [Amaziah] did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, yet not like David his father. He did in all things as Joash his father had done. But the high places were not removed….”
The high places, centers for Canaanite idol worship, are mentioned 117 times in the Old Testament. God had commanded they be torn down, but instead they remained as monuments of Israelite compromise and enticements for ever-increasing sin.
Amaziah, in almost every way, did what was right in the eyes of the Lord… but he did not remove the high places. II Chronicles 25:2 describes it this way: “And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, yet not with a whole heart.” Amaziah simply wasn’t fully committed or faithful, and that is how he is remembered for eternity – half-hearted.
One of the big problems for Amaziah was he had been born into a world, a community, and a family accustomed to high places. These monuments to sin were woven into the fabric of society and had deep roots. Even Solomon, Israel’s wisest king, “built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem.” (1 Kings 11:7) And what about Amaziah’s dad, Joash? Joash rebuilt the temple, yet he didn’t tear down the high places. “Amaziah simply “did in all things as Joash his father had done.” Compromise was natural, normal, comfortable and expected for Amaziah. To obey wholeheartedly would have been radical in his day and very challenging; it would have defied all reason from the world’s perspective. So, Amaziah followed social norms rather than God, living out a sociably acceptable ‘faith’ that didn’t challenge the mores of the people.
What about you? Are you wholeheartedly loving, obeying and serving the Lord in fidelity, or do you still have high places in your life, areas of compromise that are robbing you of the fullness of joy experienced through unity with Christ? What values, traditions, customs, attitudes or habits might you have adopted which are normal, even celebrated, but offensive to God? In what areas of your life might you need the courage of conviction to be “Semper Fidelis Coram Deo – Always Faithful Before the Face of God.” Don’t let anything hinder your relationship with the Lord or your witness before a watching world.
– Luke 12:1 — Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
– Galatians 5:9 — A little leaven leavens the whole lump.
– Proverbs 25:26 — Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.
– Song of Solomon 2:15 — Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.
– James 4:8 — Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
– 2 Corinthians 11:3 — But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
– 1 Timothy 1:5 — The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 12 June 19: Today, courageously remove the high places from your life once and for all. Love God from a pure (unpolluted) heart, a good conscience and sincere faith – “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30)