Daily Devotional: Day 91
“He [Hezekiah] removed the high places and broke the sacred pillars, cut down the wooden image and broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made; for until those days the children of Israel burned incense to it, and called it Nehushtan” (2 Kings 18:4, NKJV).
In the Bible, one of the greatest sources of contention between Yahweh and Israel was the practice of idolatry. From the time God brought them from Egypt, Israel often gave in to the seductive power of idolatry. The problem grew worse especially after the reign of king Solomon. Many of the prophets spoke against it – to no avail. Of all the kings of Israel and Judah after Solomon, only two fully obeyed God’s command to destroy all idolatrous sacred objects and shrines: kings Hezekiah and Josiah.
Today’s Scripture tells us that soon after Hezekiah became King of Judah, he tore down all the high places and religious objects of pagan origin, including even the bronze serpent God asked Moses to make in Numbers 21:4-9; because, as the Bible says, up to Hezekiah’s time, the Israelites had been burning incense to it. The “high places” refer to dedicated pagan shrines and worship centers that were used for serving foreign gods alongside the true worship of God in Jerusalem.
In fact, before the Israelites set foot on the Promised Land, God strictly commanded them: “You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place. You shall not worship the Lord your God with such things” (Deuteronomy 12:2-4).
In my native language, there’s a saying that “The tree which, if allowed to grow, can pierce you, it is not enough to chop down a piece of it; you must uproot it.” God hates idolatry in all its forms, including the practice of praying in front of man-made images or “sacred religious objects.” God’s command is unambiguous: Utterly destroy all things that compete with worship of the one true God.
Idols and “high places” we need to tear down include, but are not limited to, the statues and images we have created for prayer and worship purposes, amulets, charms, magical objects, occult practices, divination, psychic reading, casting spells, etc.
If you have your own “high places” and sacred objects which you have incorporated into the worship of the one true God, you have a decision to make. By the power of the Holy Spirit I pray you’ll repent and gather the courage to get rid of them. Remember: God is a Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth (cf. John 4:24).
Dear Father, I live to honor and worship you alone. In the Name of Jesus, I surrender and reject anything in my life that competes with your true worship. Amen.
For further study: Acts 19:18-41