"The people were sacrificing at the high places, however, because no house had yet been built for the name of the LORD." - 1 Kings 3:2 ESV
"He put away the male cult prostitutes out of the land and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. He also removed Maacah his mother from being queen mother because she had made an abominable image for Asherah. And Asa cut down her image and burned it at the brook Kidron. But the high places were not taken away. Nevertheless, the heart of Asa was wholly true to the LORD all his days." - 1 Kings 15:12-14 ESV
We had a rap this weekend and it touched on the subject of idolatry and these 'high places' and it has been a background meditation of mine since then.
The high places are often beautiful places where people set up worship. God uses strong language about this type of worship. Once these places get established they become stubbornly ingrained and difficult to remove. Historically the way they have been removed is not by a means anyone would want. God has done it before in Israel through national captivity. Does anyone want to volunteer for that? I don't think there would be many that raise their hands for that method.
Cultures have high places and so do individuals. King Asa got rid of his personal high places, sentimentality about his mother, but was unable (even as king) to get rid of what was present in the culture.
Heroin is a high place in the city I'm living in. It breaks my heart. It is a stubborn plague that has our young people by the throat. I hate it with a holy hatred.
Then there are the ones that are closer to home for me. Churches that mix grace with law and sell Christianity instead of preach Christ. This is worship but it is not in His temple. The bible has become an app on someone's phone and not a blueprint for life and living. Ritual has replaced life. Compassion is subjugated. The Holy One of Israel is limited.
I like how Asa was able to function. It gives me hope. God says that He was right even though the culture he lived in had issues and abominations that persisted.
Jesus. Grace. Bible. Prayer. Having Church. Missions. Evangelism. Giving. Loving. Believing. Nurturing the next generation. Worship. Family Life. Investment.
Let's bring the idols to the river and burn them. Drugs. Pornography in all it's forms. Plastic religion. Time wasting nonsense. Let's bring the whole long list of things to the river and be like Asa. Let's watch them burn and go on with God making sure our time is filled with holy activity and fellowship so that the void doesn't leave room for those stubborn habits to establish themselves again.
Perhaps there will still be pornography in the local gas station and nonsense in the Christian bookstore but we decide what is going to happen in our heart and our home can be salt and light that cleanses our community if there is a place where people can come and the name of the Lord is represented there. The places we gather can be an oasis of life, love and teaching.
God with tears in my eyes I pray for our people who are gripped by the plagues of drugs that fill our cities and suburban communities. Help us to pull them out... one by one... give us creativity. Let our love be real and effective. Make us salmon that swim against the current of our culture. We want to move upstream into freshness and not down into death.