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2 Kings 9-12

4/10/2020

A Devotional Journey
     led by Dr. Gene Pearson                                                                                                               
Thru the Bible in a Year

       A new king, Jehu is anointed by God and is used to bring about the final destruction of the house of Ahab, Jezebel included.  Jehu is an exceptional leader and demonstrates great concern for the worship of God, at one point destroying all Baal worship in Israel.  Still, he fails to finish the task of restoring true worship to Israel, and allows the golden images of calves, which are worshiped at Dan and Bethel to remain.
As a result, God begins to reduce the size of Israel (10:32).
       The reign of Joash was one of devotion to God – as long as Joash’s mentor, the priest Jehoiada, lived.  The Temple was repaired, the Law was reinstated, and everything was put back in order.  However, after Jehoiada’s death, Joash turned away from God (according to 2 Chronicles 24:17-27).  His forty year kingship was ended by assassination at the hands of some of his officials.
       It is instructive to notice the comment in 12:3 that the high places were not removed by Joash.  These sites of worship had been taken over from the pagan cults and dedicated to God.   However, God was concerned that the setting itself would someday remind people of the pagan origins and they would be tempted to turn away from the God of ethics and responsible life to the gods of pleasure and self-centeredness.  Every king of Israel was rated on the basis of how he addressed this possibility.
       It is easy to become caught up in the appropriation of popular culture and imagery into the service of God.  Certain musical, social, political and financial patterns are seen as providing doorways into the minds and hearts of a society and are therefore adopted and adapted to the use of God’s people. 
       This has led to direct-deposit giving in some congregations, the use of hard rock and graphic lyrics among some believers and the encouragement to be yourself as a standard for worship and community.  All of these can be helpful; the danger lies in forgetting that God is most important and being subtly drawn into the idea that our comfort or taste or preference is most important.
       Something clearly forgotten among many 20th century Christians is that worship is for God’s pleasure not our own.  If that sounds strange, it is because so much that is called worship is aimed at making us feel good, helping us meet our own needs and encouraging us to feed ourselves.
       In Israel, as in ancient cultures, pagan practice was always aimed at serving human interests:  winning battles, growing crops, having children.  The worship of God is always seen differently:  giving thanks for blessings already received; offering ourselves in dedication to whatever ends He chooses.  After Christ, we have nothing more to get.  We need to grow, to share and to thank God for Who He is and all He has done.  To remember that is to understand God’s plan.         
 
A. Eugene Pearson 2011