Tuesday, February 14, 2012


The danger of pride...

In 1 Chronicles 32, Hezekiah was king and all was well in the land. He " did
what was good, right, and faithful before the Lord his God.And every work that
he began in the service of the house of God, in keeping with the law and the
commandments to seek his God [inquiring of and yearning for Him], he did with
all his heart, and he prospered"(verse 20-21). When his kingdom came under the
attack of The Assyrian king Sennacherib (there's an idea for a baby name), he
"spoke encouragingly" to his people, "saying, 'Be strong and courageous. Be not
afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with
him, for there is Another with us greater than [all those] with him" (32:7).
It's amazing how much this king trusted his God! God did deliver his kingdom
from the hand of the Assyrians, but as a result Hezekiah got a little puffed up
from all the fame, and deadly pride entered into his heart. Fortunately, he was
able to humble himself (verses 25-26). That pride had snuck into his heart
before he could say "Thanks be to God" and he had to turn around and humble
himself before he went too far. It makes me wonder sometimes if my own pride
stands in my way of true healing...

Things get worse before they get better for these people, and all because of
pride. When Hezekiah dies, his son Manasseh becomes king, "But he did evil in
the Lord's sight, like the abominations of the heathen whom the Lord drove out
before the Israelites" (33:2) by rebuilding all the altars to false gods and
high places that had previously been thrown out. "So Manasseh led Judah and the
inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more evil than the heathen whom the Lord had
destroyed before the Israelites" (33:9). This makes me think twice; I need to
pay attention to what I'm doing so I'm not leading someone else astray (like
unwittingly leading my daughter astray to idolizing the false god of beauty...).
Fortunately, he realizes his sin and repents (v12) and-look at this!-throws the
altars outside the city(v17). Bad move, because his son, Amon, becomes king and
also does evil and sacrifices to all the altars his dad had made. Why? Because
they were not destroyed, they were only thrown to the side for awhile, and that
just won't cut it. Since the idols weren't completely destroyed, the people went
back to them. It reminds me of the parable Jesus tells in Matthew 12 about the
spirit who leaves a soul but the person doesn't fill his soul with God and
leaves it empty, giving that spirit a perfect opportunity to come back...43But
when the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, it roams through dry [arid]
places in search of rest, but it does not find any.44Then it says, I will go
back to my house from which I came out. And when it arrives, it finds the place
unoccupied, swept, put in order, and decorated.45Then it goes and brings with it
seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and make their home
there. And the last condition of that man becomes worse than the first. So also
shall it be with this wicked generation.

After Amon dies, Josiah becomes king (34:1) and apparently he's the man for the
job because "He did right in the sight of the Lord and walked in the ways of
David his father [forefather] and turned aside neither to the right hand nor to
the left" (v2). He begins the long, but necessary, process of purging Judah and
Jerusalem of their high places and altars. This is pretty amazing, because if
you look back, people were still using the high places, but they were trying to
use them to worship God. That just doesn't work. I don't think you can take an
altar built to a false god and use it to worship the One True God. Josiah had
them ground down to powder and totally destroyed, which is what needs to happen
to those false God's that I keep holding tight to, I guess in the hopes that I
can serve My God and hang onto them, too. I need to ask God to purge and destroy
pride and insecurity in my life so I can truly be free from them. For me, but
also for the little feet pattering behind me. Look at what pride and idol
worship did to just a few generations in Hezekiah's family. It can have lasting,
and devastating, affects for generations to come.

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