Do you ever read the Bible while standing upon a pedestal? Because, sometimes I do. I caught myself doing it again the other day.
I was reading in Kings at the time. Oh, how those kings fell short of the mark. No matter how often they were given signs or words from wise prophets, they continued on their evil paths. “How stupid they were,” I always think (while standing upon my pedestal).
David loved the Lord and tried to follow him in all that he did, but then he met Bathsheba and, well, need I say more? David’s son, Solomon began his reign by following in his father’s footsteps, but he married foreign women and was led astray. He even began worshipping at Asherah poles. “Solomon, how could you?” I yell down from my lofty perch, “You were David’s son!”
Solomon’s son, Jeroboam, built golden calves to worship. Rehoboam had sacred stones and Asherah poles put in all the high places. “Well, that escalated quickly,” I think.
I always feel a thrill when I read about the kings who at least tried to “do what was right in the Lord’s eyes”. But, then I read the next sentence: “The high places, however, were not removed.”
Asa, did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, he cut down the poles, got rid of the male shrine prostitutes and all the idols, “The high places, however, were not removed.” Jehoshaphat did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, “The high places, however, were not removed.” Joash, Amaiah, Azariah (and more) also tried to do what was right in the eyes of the Lord. But, always the same words follow: “The high places, however, were not removed.”
“Fools!” I think. “Why wouldn’t you tear down the high places?” And, I stand upon MY high place and judge them.
Finally, I took a break from my judgement, climbed down from the pedestal I was standing on and I wondered, “What high places have I not torn down?” And, “What idols of my own making have I worshipped lately?”
We all do it. We go to church and then yell at other drivers on the way home. Or, we watch that television show or movie that we know disrespects our belief system. We worship sports stars and pop stars who exemplify qualities that are sins in the eyes of our Lord. We find ourselves accepting things that go against God’s laws in order to better match the values of this corrupt world we live in.
In other words: We try to do what is right in the Lord’s eyes, the high places, however, are not removed.
It is time for me to spend less time in judgement and more time removing my own high places and cutting down my Asherah poles. For, I am no different than those kings of old. And, that is humbling indeed.