2 Samuel 21-22

Luke 18:24-43


“So the LORD said, ‘I will remove Judah also from My presence as I removed Israel, and I will reject Jerusalem, the city I chose, and this Temple…’”       —2 Kings 23:27

The things that we devote our time and energy to, and the places that consume our attention have a dramatic impact on the trajectory and outcome of our life. When we cease to cultivate a life of worship to God, other things will creep in; this was evident during the period of kings in the Old Testament. 

After King Solomon died, the kingdom was split into two: Israel in the north and Judah in the south. In the northern kingdom, Jeroboam became king and the Lord told him, “…you will rule over all that your heart desires; you will be king over Israel. If you do whatever I command you and walk in obedience to Me and do what is right in My eyes by obeying My decrees and commands…I will be with you” (1 Kings 11:37-38). God’s instruction to Jeroboam was simple: to have a prosperous kingdom, Jeroboam only needed to worship Him. Jeroboam, however, for a fear of people in his kingdom rebelling against him when they worshipped the Lord in Jerusalem (located in the south), was disobedient to God and built altars of worship in the north. Although Jeroboam and subsequent kings led the people astray, God sent prophets to call His people back to Him. But because of their neglect to worship, they were sent into exile. 

In the southern kingdom, Rehoboam became king at the passing of Solomon. While there were generations after him who were faithful to God, kings who would tear down high places and return to worship the Lord, they also struggled with faithful worship of God. The prophet Jeremiah writes, “You, Judah, have as many gods as you have towns; and the altars you have set up to burn incense to that shameful god Baal are as many as the streets of Jerusalem” (Jeremiah 11:13). Therefore, “The Lord has rejected His altar and abandoned His sanctuary” (Lamentations 2:7). Like Israel, Judah was also sent into exile. 

Throughout the generations of kings, the altar changed from a place of encounter to a place of compromise. Kings lost sight of the importance of a life of worship and focused on the work of governance, strategic plans, building allies and protecting their people. They stopped calling on the name of God and relied on their own thinking and the wisdom of the collective culture around them. They built altars to other gods and worshipped them. Yet, whenever God’s people drifted away, God would raise up prophets and send them to call His people back to be who they were meant to be. 

Is there anything in our life taking our attention away from worshipping God?

Righteous and Almighty God, I confess of the things that have replaced my worship of You. Help me to tear down these “high places” and build my life upon You. Thank You, Lord.

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