They would not listen, however, but persisted in their former practices. Even while these people were worshiping the LORD, they were serving their idols. 2 Kings 17:40,41a
Have you ever wondered how? why? When we read they served the Lord but did not remove the high places...how could they be worshiping God and those other things?
As I pondered this, It occured to me that our "high places" are worldly or religious practices. Have you noticed some things that "blend" Christianity with Eastern mystical practices? Like "Christian Yoga" (yoga is a hindu practice). Or how about a local Lutheran church that advertises their "labyrinth" (a maze-like path where as you walk and chant a word over and over as you move toward the center you are sudposed to be able to connect with God more). Or how about "contemplative prayer". A "system" of meeting God by repeating a phrase over and over in order to "center" on Him. (another eastern mystical practice).
Other "high places" might be as simple as making success in business an idol (something you rely on) Or having a large home, or being popular. Having great vacations to boast about. A great body, a wonderful wardrobe, etc. Or what about movies that have garbage in them? Or books, music...Why do we do the things we do? I must search my heart with Jesus.
In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother's name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. 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. 2 Kings 18:1-4
What a refreshment God gave in sending Hezekiah as their leader. Quite amazing how much influence one leader has. I love how his mother's name is listed. I imaging she had much influence on Hezekiah's life. Perhaps that is one reason she is mentioned!
Look what he did: Removed the high places. Smashed the sacred stones. Cut down the Ashera poles. Broke to pieces the bronze snake. In conclusion, he destroyed everything that hindered pure worship of the Lord.
The same is true for us. We need to destroy ties to things that take our affection off of the Lord. We need to sever our ties to things that pollute our lives. We need to weed out areas where we compromise.
By prayer, by "sword fighting" with the Word of God, by submitting, by obedience.
How refreshing to have leaders who walk in purity and holiness. I want to be a leader who walks in purity and holiness.
Lord, make me pure and holy as a leader of my family, and anyone else you give me influence over. Help me be self-controlled and alert. To be on guard against the enemy and his wicked schemes. Keep me close. Cleanse my heart. Purify my mind. Show me any areas that are displeasing to you and lead me in the way everlasting. Amen