Destroy them all, part one

Last week I wrote about Hezekiah, king of Judah, and I mentioned how he reinstated Passover in the book of 2 Chronicles. It’s really an awesome section of the Bible as you watch the people of God come back together and start upholding this important festival. The return of the Passover celebration in Judah signified a renewed commitment to make God the Lord of the land, and it also was a chance for a hand of friendship to be extended to enemies. It’s all in chapter 30 of 2 Chronicles and is just an inspirational time in the history of Judah.

If you’ve ever been present for a mighty move of God then you know there’s something special about when it ends. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not special that the mighty move ends, but let’s say that the church service where it happened comes to a close. People don’t want to leave. There’s an electricity in the air, a buzz in the room. I remember last year I attended a 7 hour prayer and worship service. It ends at 2:00 am and guess what people did? They stuck around longer and kept singing worship songs and praising God. Once the event or service where the move happened ends, the move of God lives on in those who were there. You’re inspired to go out and make a difference for God, to do something great in the world. You feel more alive as you walk to your car, the night is full of possibilities, your problems are a distant memory, and you are full of confidence and wisdom and love and power.

As you read 2 Chronicles chapter 31, you get the sense that this is what was going on with all the people who attended Passover in Jerusalem. After Passover was finished, with this power of God and renewed energy and joy coursing through them, these amped up believers went out and did something great in the world.

2 Chronicles 31:1 Now when all this was finished, all Israel who were present went out to the cities of Judah and broke in pieces the pillars and cut down the Asherim and broke down the high places and the altars throughout all Judah and Benjamin, and in Ephraim and Manasseh, until they had destroyed them all. Then all the people of Israel returned to their cities, every man to his possession.

You see, these people had a renewed relationship with God. They were re-energized and recharged and recommitted to following the Lord and keeping Him in His rightful place as the number one priority in their lives and in their lands. And to do that, they had to tear down the idols that had been tripping them up for generations.

Now if you study the Old Testament you become pretty familiar with all the different idols and false gods of the day. The pillars, Asherim, high places, and altars described here are all idols of one sort or another. As you study the Old Testament, you learn that really the thing that tripped up the people of God the most was their worship of idols. As the Bible takes you through the history of Israel and Judah, you see it happening time and time again. Instead of worshiping and believing in the true God, people continued to turn to idols.

I think it’s easy for us to picture this, isn’t it? Most people are familiar with the story of the golden calf, as Moses is up on the mountain talking to God and his brother Aaron creates a golden calf statue that the people start to worship. Old Testament idols are easy to picture. Ornate pillars, carved likenesses, unclean altars dedicated to the worship and sacrifice to a false god. We can picture those. But what are modern day idols that people worship? What do those look like?

Before I answer that, I want to share something with you. A lot of people feel like we’re on the brink of the end days, the time when things in the world go from bad to worse and the book of Revelation plays out and ultimately Jesus returns and establishes His kingdom. Many people I know, and myself too, have been praying for a mighty move of God before that happens. We’ve been praying for revival, a chance for God to sweep across the lands and save a vast number of lost people. Before things go dark, before the clock runs out on this great age of God’s mercy and patience, let there be a return of the people to their God.

I believe that this great return to God is going to happen. I haven’t been told by God that it’s happening, but I feel it deep down. I’m pretty sure that my Pastor believes this revival is going to happen as well, and that just strengthens my own feeling of belief. I think we’re on the brink of a massive return to God, a glorious era of salvation and love and God returning to the rightful place as our Lord.

It’s my belief in this coming revival that made this story in 2 Chronicles chapter 30 and 31 really resonate with me. Because if we are going to return to God as a people, if we’re going to make this a move of God that sticks and effects real, actual change, we’re going to have to do something. We’re going to have to tear down the idols of our own society, just like the people of Judah tore down the idols of their society. We’re going to have to eliminate the stumbling blocks, destroy the things causing us to sin, tear down the things that are getting between us and God.

The call not to put anything above God is throughout the Bible, but most famously it’s at the beginning of a little thing called the ten commandments.

Exodus 20:1-6 And God spoke all these words, saying,2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.3 “You shall have no other gods before me.

It’s time to do like the people of Judah did. It’s time to tear down the idols and remove ourselves from their influence. It’s time to destroy them all.

Tomorrow I want to start looking at what a modern day idol looks like and what we can do about it.

PRAYER AND CLOSING

Father God, today I come to you in repentance.  I’ve made idols in my life, I’ve put things above you on my list of priorities.  Forgive me, Lord, for trying to force other things above you where they don’t belong.  And God, I repent right now on behalf of my nation.  America needs you, Lord, we need a revival to sweep across this country.  There are so many people who need you, who aren’t experiencing the beauty of your love, who haven’t secured their eternal place in heaven.  But first we need to repent, and turn away from our idols.  Today God, I ask that you give us wisdom.  As we go through this study this week, please show us the idols we’ve set up in our lives.  Go beyond the obvious, show us the hidden idols, the unrealized things that we’re elevating above you.  We’re a people that are completely out of whack, and it’s because our priority system is out of whack.  Everything begins with you, Jesus, everything starts there.  Guide us back to that place where you are first in our lives.  Show us the things that are stopping that from happening in our life and give us the wisdom and the strength of character to do something about it.  Make us strong and courageous.  Lord, I ask you for revival in the land.  I ask you to sweep across America in a way that hasn’t been seen in my generation.  I ask that you show your power, and that you are glorified as millions who don’t know you come to salvation.  I’m asking for millions, Lord, knowing full well that you’re capable of delivering billions.  I ask that whatever your will is, you bring it to pass in my life, and that you help me keep my eyes fixed on you.  Thank you for all that you are, and thank you for the amazing friends you’ve brought into my life.  I feel so loved lately, and I thank you for that, God.  In the precious name of Jesus I pray, amen.

Another week is underway my friends.  I’m really excited about the blogs this week, I feel like God is really pushing us to get serious.  He loves us too much to let us sit around with our lives stuck in neutral.  Let’s work on getting into gear and gaining ground for our King!

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