Thursday, May 20, 2010

The high hills

It seems like God isn't listening. So many of us have sickness, relationship problems, and bad habits we can't seem to shake. What happened to the promises of God, that he would heal, help, and deliver?

Maybe the fault lies not with God but with us and our culture. Documented miracles are all over the pages of Pentecostal history around the world. In the middle of revival are believers with high expectation of God's intervention, fervent prayers, and disciples gathered together, pleading with God, "Anything! We will do anything for Your presence. We put ourselves under your dominion. We are willing to leave our homes, our friends, even our mother and father, for You and your glory."

In 2 Kings 14, Amaziah becomes king of Judah. He rules a small kingdom, but he's successful in significant battles and gains a firm following. He follows God's ways, mostly. But he leaves the high places of idol worship untouched. And he becomes secure and arrogant in his ability to conquer. He begins to refuse the advice of God's prophets who guided him in previous obedience and victory. And he brings back the gods of the people he conquered.

God sends a prophet who says, "What were you thinking?"

Amaziah sasses him back before he finishes God's warning, and says, "Have we appointed you an advisor to the king? Stop talking, or I'll have you struck down!"

Without God's counsel, leaning on human advisors, Amaziah challenges his neighbor to war, King Jehoash of Israel, who has 10 tribes, versus 2 in Judah. King Johoash says, "Stay home! You fighting me would be like a thistle saying to a Lebanese cedar, 'Let's have our kids marry.' I'll squash you if you ask for trouble!"

Amaziah pays no attention but keeps agitating, and Jehoash carries out his threat. He attacks the Judeans in a complete rout. Johoash kills many, takes hostages back to Samaria, breaches the Jerusalem wall for 600 feet to expose the city to other intruders, and robs the gold and silver from Solomon's temple. All because of the pride of a successful, almost-surrendered leader.

I wonder sometimes how much of our failure to live graciously within our borders, experiencing the fullness of God's blessings, lies with us and our leaders. Are we fully surrendered to God, with every high hill of idolatry and sinful habits destroyed? Have we become arrogant in our victories so that we step beyond God's call on our lives to attack where godly wisdom would advise us to stay back? We see believers - even pastors and other spiritual leaders - fall to the right and the left because of unwillingness to submit everything to God and their shouts of challenge to the world. "C'mon! We'll take you on! God is with us! We can win over your politics/ morals/ enmity to the Church (etc.)"

I'm examining my heart today to see which hills are still standing in my heart. And I'm waiting and asking God for help to plow them into fertile fields, for his glory alone.

Read more:
*2 Kings 14, 2 Chronicles 25

*As dead flies cause even a bottle of perfume to stink, so a little foolishness spoils great wisdom and honor. Ecclesiastes 10:1 NLT

*Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land, but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword." For the mouth of the LORD has spoken. Isaiah 1:18-20 NIV 

*This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears uswhatever we askwe know that we have what we asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15 NIV

No comments:

Post a Comment