Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 14 June 21:
2 Kings 23:13, 14 — “And the king defiled the high places that were east of Jerusalem, to the south of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Sidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And he broke in pieces the pillars and cut down the Asherim and filled their places with the bones of men.”
Josiah made a covenant before the Lord, “to walk after the Lord and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all his heart and all his soul.” His first step was to “put away all filthiness.” (James 1:21)
We cannot experience the fullness of joy and blessings in our relationship with God while we continue to hang onto sins which are detestable to the One we love. Josiah had to dig deep to remove the idolatry around him which was deeply rooted in Israel’s history and included national high places for idol worship. These high places, built around the same time as the Temple, were by now as much a part of Judah’s national identity as anything else, built by their hero, Solomon, the wisest man of their day, the son of David! Yet, they had to go, likely much to the dismay of many.
As Christians, fidelity may require that we remove things or change things that have always been a part of our lives but that do not meet God’s standard. Looking at our lives from God’s perspective and His standard will most certainly demand massive change in our lives. We may have to get rid of sins which have become old companions or which we have even attached to our personal identity – “That’s just who I am.” The change may come at a tremendous personal cost. However, our love for God demands it. It takes great faith to change what has always been there. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6)
2 Kings 23:24 – “Moreover, Josiah put away… the household gods and the idols and all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, that he might establish the words of the law… found in the house of the Lord.”
What might be your “household gods,” the close and personal, perhaps private thoughts, attitudes, practices, relationships or things in your life which detract from your holiness and hinder your relationship with God? Today is the day to remove them. As you seek to clean house, don’t ignore those “respectable” inconspicuous sins like jealousy, anger, judgementalism, selfishness, and pride, which are just as deadly as the so-called “big” sins widely considered unacceptable (Consider reading the Book, Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges). Don’t let anything stand which is unacceptable before the Lord, even if it has always been there.
- Joshua 24:23 — He said, “Then put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your heart to the LORD, the God of Israel.”
- Hebrews 12:1, 2 — Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
- 1 Samuel 15:23 — For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry.
- Colossians 3:5 — Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
- Ezekiel 14:3 — Son of man, these men have taken their idols into their hearts, and set the stumbling block of their iniquity before their faces. Should I indeed let myself be consulted by them?
- Psalm 66:18 — If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened….
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 14 June 21: Clean house today. Remove those things in your life which dishonor God and distract you from Him.