The “High Places” Can and Will Prevent REVIVAL

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!

by-the-high-place-1024x672

The HEBREW word is bamah – a mountaintop, open-air altars on elevated knolls near towns.  (*Footnote [1] )

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…

  • TURNAROUND

10029

 

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…

  • TRUST  

ssbc-trust-post

[5] 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…

psa20

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…

TENACITY –

FullSizeRender-2

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 weeks of lacking attendance at the prayer meetings…after a few times2173776885_1108b59098 of inviting of friends and neighbors to church, we quit asking.

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 [1] : 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)

CHOICES: I Choose “The Redpill” (PART II)

After taking the “Redpill” and going down the “Rabbit Hole” to the “Wonderland” of Spiritual Truth, I discovered what had occured.

1.  Half-Truths destroyed.

2.  Strongholds were removed.

3.  True Identity found.

4.  Promises confirmed.

Hebrews 10:32 says,  “…be ever mindful of the days gone by in which, after you were first spiritually enlightened, you endured a great and painful struggle.”

After swallowing the “Redpill” of truth (“spiritually enlightened“), my painful struggle continues. I struggle with the question, “Why are born-again believers so content with the “Bluepill”?

Half-Truths Revealed

Webster’s Dictionary says a “half-truth” is a statement that is only partly true, esp. one intended to deceive, evade blame or the like.  I actually prefer the word “half-baked” truth instead of “half-truths”.  “Half-baked” in The Roget’s Thesaurus explains, “an idea or thinking” that is repeated; that is “underdeveloped, undergrown, sophomoric (immaturity)”, then passed on to others with no harm intended. I don’t believe anyone ever “intended to decive” me with “half-truths”. An example might be in the Holy Spirit’s giftings to Christian believers (I Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4).

Ephesians 4:11  “And His gifts were [varied; He Himself appointed and gave men to us] some to be apostles (special messengers),  some prophets (inspired preachers and expounders),  some evangelists (preachers of the Gospel, traveling missionaries), some pastors (shepherds of His flock) and teachers.”

What was God’s intentions for the gifts for each of us?

Ephesians 4:12 answers,  “His intention was the perfecting and fully equipping of the saints (His consecrated people),  [that they should do] the work of ministering toward building up Christ’s body (the church).”

I had been told by well-meaning pastors for all my Christian life that the Church, the body of Christ wasn’t in need of ALL these “gifts” in today’s churches. They were for the early “First Church“. I was told from many a pulpit that today’s churches no longer needed the gifting of “apostles” and “prophets”. They were taught this in Seminaries and Bible Schools, their teachers had been told the same thing and now all of us developed a “stronghold” of “halfbaked” truths!  No where in the Bible does it say, the truths of the past are no longer needed in this time of the church. Perhaps the shrinking attendance in churches of Europe and America might be from “strongholds”.

Strongholds

II Corinthians 10:4,  “For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood]. but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of STRONGHOLDS.”

What are “strongholds” in your life? Strongholds are “nourished thoughts”. It is information taken into our minds that establish themselves or take up residence in your being; “A House of Thoughts”.  Now these “thoughts” can be good and bad. How to make the determination between the two is relatively simple.  “Does what you are taking into to your mind line up with the Word of God, your Bible?”  If it doesn’t line up, it will take root and the more those thoughts are nourished, the stronger the “root”.  They become a “stronghold”.  “Search and research” what is taken into your “house”. Don’t let a “title” in a program attached to someone’s name determine how you are going to think. My purposes as The WORD Detective is not to convince you to take “The Redpill”.  Only Holy Spirit can do that! My purpose is only to present the evidence.

True Identity Found

Psalm 25:9, 12, 14  “He leads the humble in what is right, and the humble He teaches His way.”  Verse 12,  “Who is the man who reverently fears and worships the Lord?  Him shall He teach in the way that he should choose.”  And Verse 14,  “The secret [of the sweet, satisfying companionship] of the Lord have they who fear (revere and worship) Him, and He will show them His covenant and reveal to them its [deep, inner] meaning.”

“He leads the humble in what is right” in verse 9 of the 25th Psalm, speaks to the humble. What does being “humble” mean? “Humble” or “humility” means “a spiritual dependence” in the Hebrew language. It doesn’t mean that you are “penniless.”  Verse 9  is telling all of us that unless we desire and grow into “a spiritual dependence” with the Triune God, His way, His will can’t be understood. That’s the evidence uncovered!

Verse 12 continues by first asking you a question.  “Who are you?  What is your “true identity”? If your answer is, your relationship with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit; your entire being resting in “a spiritual dependence” in everything you do.  He will “teach” in the way that He chooses for you.

Verse 14 talks about a “secret” to your identity. God will reveal His “sweet, satisfying companionship” and His “deep, inner meanings” to those who “revere and worship” His “Worth-ship”; what His Worth is to you personally. If we don’t know our identity in relationship with Who God is, the “strongholds” will only get stronger.

Promises Confirmed

I have known about God’s promises contained in the Bible all along.  BUT “knowing” about something and doing or acting on them is completely different. Remember that old hymn, “Standing on the Promises“? The title doesn’t tell us to just’ know the promises of God’ but to stand on them.

Standing on the promises that cannot fail  When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,  By the living word of God I shall prevail—  Standing on the promises of God.”

Knowing isn’t enough; it only the beginning. This last Sunday, Pastor Andrew’s message on “Questions Asked on God’s Will” directed my mind towards the “standing” on God’s Word.  Pastor said, “Doing good without desire will only last so long”.  Unless there is a “desire” from within, prompted by the Holy Spirit, your “standing” won’t last long. You will get tired, sit and vegetate on the “promises of God.” You have chose the “Bluepill”.