Viewing entries tagged

What Really Matters?

It's really quite amazing when you suddenly realize that the books of 1st and 2nd Kings in the Old Testament seem to care very little about about the types of politics and events that fascinate people in our world today.  If there were any oil spills or mudslides or riveting debates between liberals and conservatives, we are not told about them.  This is noteworthy because of what the book actually does record in detail: the state of Yahweh-worship under each king. Any who have read this part of the Bible are familiar with the oft-repeated phrase, "And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.  He did not depart all his days from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin."  This is the way every single king of the northern kingdom is introduced.  And what is the great sin that keeps being pointed out?  Jeroboam had made two golden calves and told his people to worship those instead of going down to Jerusalem and worshiping there as they had been commanded.  So all of these kings are judged on the basis of whether those idols were permitted to remain.

The southern Kingdom of Judah is likewise judged on the basis of her obedient worship of Yahweh.  In fact, one of the kings, Ahaz (2 Kings 16) reigned for sixteen years and all we are told about his reign is what he did to the temple.  His claim to infamy is that he made some changes to the look and layout of the temple complex.

The story of Ahaz is extremely relevant to today's culture - and Christians in particular.  Remember, it seems that the only thing that matters in the judgment of a king in the Old Testament is how he treated the worship of the LORD.  So how did Ahaz treat this worship?  He went to Assyria and saw an altar there that he really liked, so he had someone copy down all the details and build an exact replica in Jerusalem for the LORD's temple (2 Kings 16:10).  He also made changes to the bronze sea and the portable basins because of what he saw in Assyria (verse 18).  And in all this, it is important to realize that Ahaz does not mean to worship a different god; he just wants to worship Yahweh differently - in a way more in tune with his tastes.

So many Christians want to do exactly that these days.  We are seemingly less and less concerned with what God said we ought to be doing and more and more concerned with what feels right or good or comfortable to us to do.  Ahaz wasn't given the freedom to change the worship furniture.  The fact that he is copying a pagan design is even more condemning.  And yet this is where the modern Western church is today also.  We are increasingly pulling more and more of our ideas about morality and our ideas about worship from the unbelievers and pagans.  We see it both in our churches and in our government.

There is only one solid place for true believers to stand: firmly and only on the revealed Word of God.  God has told us what is right and what is wrong.  God has told us how He expects to be worshiped.  He has revealed how the leadership of a church is to be structured and He has revealed how we ought to relate to and interact with one another in the body.  Yet there are still many who wear the title "Christian" or even "Pastor" or "Bible Scholar" who want to move the boundary stones in each of these areas.  They've been out there in the world and they like what they've seen.  They want to bring it back into the church and implement it there to suit their tastes.

We need to realize that our own desires, tastes, and preferences are often in league with the Enemy.  He has won them to his side.  The only sure test is the Scripture.  What does it say?  Do you not like it?  Which needs to change: your opinion or the Word of God?