BIBLE TEXT FOR THIS BLOG – 2 KINGS 18:1-8
I love Bible detective investigation, especially when uncovering hidden truths that were there all the time. They were never HIDDEN, just ignored.
This week’s BLOG is no exception when it came to looking for the significance of ‘HIGH PLACES”.
HIGH PLACES is mentioned 117 times in the Old Testament of the Bible. They were centers for Canaanite idol worship that God had commanded the Jews to tear down. But instead, these places became IDOLS that subtly seduced God’s people year after year–they couldn’t stay away!
The HEBREW word is bamah – a mountaintop, open-air altars on elevated knolls near towns. (*Footnote  )
In 2 Kings 12:1-3, we read and notice Joash’s promising reign fell short of its promise; for he failed to get rid of the high places.
In this week’s Bible Text, 2 Kings 18:1-8, we are treated to the example of Hezekiah, a king who the Bible says, “did right in the sight of the LORD”
What then went wrong (king JOASH), and What went right (king HEZEKIAH)?
#1. What was it about Joash’s reign that kept the LORD from sending REVIVAL to the land?
#2. What was it about Hezekiah’s reign that found favor in God’s eyes and led to REVIVAL?
The answers to the questions seem straightforward to me, but then again, I’ve been spending time in study lately in The Book of Kings!
Uncovering Evidence –
I see some very specific things in this eight verse summary of king Hezekiah’s reign, giving a clear indication what it was about Hezekiah that PLEASED GOD.
THE FIRST is found in verse 4 and it is his completed…
JOASH failed to tear down the HIGH PLACES–
He wasn’t willing to make the effort to confront those STRONGHOLDS of sin and idolatry, and the consequence was the momentum toward REVIVAL; which was overcome by the EVIL of those strongholds, both in the nation and in Joash himself.
HEZEKIAH on the other hand, doesn’t fool around in his TURNAROUND. He takes REFORM all the way to the hills!
He confronts the pagan priests and idolaters–he says, there is no more room for this kind of activity in my kingdom, because my kingdom is really God’s kingdom.
The PROCESS of Experiencing REVIVAL –
If we want to experience REVIVAL in our lives, in our home, in our church, in our community, we are going to have to make the same bold stand.
We can’t afford to have HOLDOUTS.
We can’t allow the HIGH PLACE of SIN to escape the LORD’S AUTHORITY.
We can’t say, “Lord, you can have all my life except…
- MY FINANCES,
- MY RELATIONSHIPS,
- MY ENTERTAINMENT,
- MY FUTURE PLANS.”
Today we don’t construct idolatrous clay figurines such as Baal, or attend worship services for Asherah. But our TEMPTATIONS are just so seductive and perhaps even more subtle than in Hezekiah’s time.
Believers today might avoid the obvious “high places” such as THEFT, CHILD ABUSE or EXPLOSIVE ANGER. But we tend to be casual about what the Bible teacher Jerry Bridges calls “respectable sins.”
We rarely speak of envy, worry, spiritual pride, sexual window-shopping, gossip or strife as SIN. But these habits are nothing but sinful deeds of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21).
Historically, REVIVAL has come to the church when people have allowed the Holy Spirit to take the hammer of REPENTANCE to strongholds we harbor and once those barriers are busted, the river of REVIVAL becomes like a flood.
The second thing I noticed about Hezekiah that pleased God and led to REVIVAL was his complete…
 Hezekiah trusted in, leaned on, and was confident in the Lord, the God of Israel; so that neither after him nor before him was any one of all the kings of Judah like him. (AMP)
The Bible says, Hezekiah TRUSTED in the Lord, the God of Israel.
There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before or after him.
Hezekiah’s forefather, DAVID declared…
It must be easy for a king to TRUST in the resources of his kingdom, to try to devise a way to solve their problems of weapons, and wisdom, and wealth the way Joash did.
But Hezekiah TRUSTED in the LORD!
Without FAITH, the Book of Hebrews says, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE GOD (Hebrews 11:6).
But as we see here, with FAITH and TRUST in the Lord, God is genuinely PLEASED!!
CHURCH, if we are ever going to PLEASE the Lord, He will require from us the same that He required of the kings of Judah–REPENTANCE and FAITH–TURNAROUND and TRUST.
That TRUST must mean trusting in Him for SALVATION–believing that the SACRIFICE of Christ upon the CROSS is sufficient payment for your sins to make you righteous before God–this is the FOUNDATION of a God-blessed life!
With the central issue of SALVATION is dealt with, the LORD wants us to TRUST Him with even more–with ALL of our life. He wants us to RELY upon Him for deliverance from the enemy, for daily bread, for our families, and for our future.
When we can openly give ourselves to God by TRUSTING HIM with ALL of our lives, and when we do that, (here it comes!)…we open ourselves up to His BLESSING, not that He’s been withholding it, but simply said, because we’ve been unable to receive it!
So then with TRUST as with TURNAROUND, we open the floodgate of REVIVAL!!
The last thing I found about Hezekiah in my reading that PLEASED GOD and opened the way for REVIVAL was Hezekiah’s…
By definition, TENACITY is “the quality or fact of being very determined” [Google Word Definitions].
HEZEKIAH CONTINUED–he stuck to it with a ‘bulldog’ mentality!
It wasn’t that he never faced difficulty, he did. But unlike Joash, who when faced with a CRISIS…surrendered what was SACRED.
Hezekiah plunged forward with unwavering commitment to the task at hand.
He continued to TRUST, he continued to do what was right even when confronted by the world’s only superpower of his day, even when he saw his Northern neighbor Israel being defeated and sent into exile. Hezekiah continued to SERVE God in FAITH and in RIGHTEOUSNESS!!!
If we (the church) are genuine in our DESIRE to see God moving in our lives in a new and a fresh way, and if we long to see His BLESSING poured out across our nation, WE must exhibit the same kind of spiritual TENACITY!
So, why aren’t we seeing REVIVAL today as we should?
I’ve seen people over the years anxious for God to move in power; people who earnestly desire to have a new vision, a deeper understanding of the majesty and holiness of God, people who are anxious to see the lost come to faith, people who believe they have a God-given vision of REVIVAL in their community, people who have begun special prayer meetings to ask God to send REVIVAL, but who never seem to get there. I know all this because, I’ve been there myself! I don’t mean to say nothing happens–there is always spiritual fruit when people desire to be closer to Jesus. And yet, the outcome never quite lives up to the expectation.
I don’t know why this happens for sure–perhaps part of it is, simply our inability to box God to define what REVIVAL is going to look like. I suspect that part of it is the lack of one thing on our part: TENACITY
After a few days of resisting TEMPTATION…we give in.
We have not resisted to the point of blood (Hebrews 12:4).
Choosing How We Are to Live –
If we are going to see REVIVAL, we must choose to TURNAROUND, and tear down the “High Places,” giving God the sovereignty over every part of our life, leaving no place for temptation and sin to take root.
AND, we must choose to TRUST in Christ alone, both for SALVATION from sin–to be SET FREE from its penalty and for all matters of our lives.
AND it cannot be just a temporary decision but we must choose to follow hard after the Lord with TENACITY.
WHAT’S YOUR CHOICE TODAY?
Share your decision if you wish in the Comment Section of this Blog. Your words just might encourage another.
Footnotes & Credits ~
Footnote  : Billy Graham Evangelical Association – Seduced by the High Places by Scott Morton, May 2, 2012.
Photo Credits: Google Image Search and Seduced by the High Places provided by B.G.E.A.
Bible Translations used: Amplified Bible (AMP); New International Version (NIV)