[Jotham] did what was right in the sight of the Lord; he did according to all that his father Uzziah had done. Only the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. 2 Kings 15:34-35
A repeated phrase in 2 Kings, regarding the kings of Israel and Judah, is “but they did not remove the high places where they worshipped.” This was the case even during periodic revivals led by relatively godly kings in Judah. They were not tough with themselves. They evidently minimized the danger these relics of idolatry were to them. Or they feared the public outcry expected, were the people’s values and worship practices to be challenged.
This continued presence of the occasion to sin against God led to repeated failures. They would have done better had they been more radical about “burning the ships” that could take them back to their comfortable addiction to Baal and Asherah worship.
Let’s be radical in our hate of sin and bondage.
Do you and your children operate your computers, tablets, and smartphones without protective filtering software, opening the door to natural curiosity and the inclination to lust over pornography? Do you lead a double life, keeping your weaknesses and temptations from your spouse and friends, who could help you stand firm if they only knew your need? Do you keep a ready supply of rich, caloric foods in the house, even when you are trying to lose weight? If you are struggling to overcome your habit of overspending, how many credit cards do you carry?
I know of a prominent Christian pastor, speaker, and author who, when away from home on a speaking engagement always calls home nightly to his wife from his hotel room. He told her to expect it. Once when I had to travel alone, I removed the cable from my hotel TV and had the room clerk keep it until I checked out.
“Keep your way far from her
And do not go near the door of her house,
Or you will give your vigor to others
And your years to the cruel one” Proverbs 5:8-9
My pastor takes a bag full of the sweets he receives over the Christmas holidays from grateful admirers and throws them out into the trash the first week of January. A friend of my son who was trying hard to get out of debt cut up all of his credit cards to avoid the temptation of overspending.
John the Baptist said to the multitudes going out to be baptized by him, “Therefore bring forth fruits in keeping with your repentance . . .” (Luke 3:8) Let us “put our money where our mouth is,” in our seriousness to turn from sin to the life God has designed for us.