In the view from our living room, we look out over the bay and see the Kowloon side of Hong Kong. Behind the tall buildings are even taller mountains. On top of these mountains are small structures. I believe some of these are observatories while others are possibly shrines or temples. (For the sake of this blog, we will say they are shrines.) Over the past few weeks I have been reading through 1 and 2 Kings. I admit that I usually skim the last part of 2 Kings because it seems like it is saying the same thing because all of the kings of Israel did horrible things while the kings of Judah averaged around 50%. This time around something caught my eye. For the kings of Judah you had some who chose the way of the kings of Israel, but others who did right in the eyes of God. Although a few did right in the eyes of the Lord they still were not completely obedient. For example, in 2 Kings 15 verses 4-6 we see that Azariah reigned 52 years in Jerusalem and he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. Then you see another common verse, “nevertheless, the high places were not taken away. The people still sacrificed and made offerings on the high places.” These were not sacrifices to Jehovah, but to other gods that were initiated back with Solomon due to him trying to please 300 wives.
Ok, what does this mean? The other day I looked out and saw the shrines on the mountains across the bay. I thought about the struggles we have experienced over the past three months of selling cars, moving to a temporary house, storage, flying overseas, starting a company overseas, etc and etc, and I thought why has this been so hard. In the midst of this very uncomfortable journey, it jarred my eyes so that I began seeing things in my life. Even though I was like Azariah and did things right in the eyes of the Lord, I was still not being a leader that challenged myself to take away the high places. I started to see that I had so many little gods in my life that were controlling how I made decisions, placed my hope and trust, and whom I even worshiped at times. As our loving Father began stripping me of my comforts I recognized these gods. The bible tells us that God is making us to be crucibles of silver that are pure and without defect. In order to make silver you have to produce a very hot furnace for a long period. I see now that I need the furnace to be hot to melt away the filth of the world and to be able to worship, adore and abide in my Savior in the way that He desires. We serve a very jealous God who does not share His children with no one. So in order to take away those high places He sends trials that point us to our Hope. (In my mind I am thinking that the jackhammer that continues to work above our apartment seemed a little over the top, but God knows best. haha)
I pray that we all become like Josiah and tear down the shrines on the high places (2 Kings 23) and was written “Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him.”