You'll Become Like Your Idol

Azariah was 16 years old (!) when he became king of Judah. Today's text states that 'he did right in the eyes of the Lord' but failed on one important front. It seems he allowed the 'high places,' those places where other gods would be worshiped, to remain in place.  As a consequence, the Lord caused him to be leprous until the day he died, living separately and having his son administrate his kingdom.

Many of the kings of Israel and Judah failed because their reigns and their lives were characterized by the 'sins of Jeroboam.'  Jeroboam, king of Israel, reigned as the nation was first divided. And, because the Temple was outside his kingdom, he was fearful that as the people made their pilgrimage to Jerusalem their hearts would return to the king of Judah. So he built places for them to worship and sacrifice within the borders of his kingdom. They no longer would need to, or be allowed to, travel to the Temple to worship. His fear led to increased and encouraged idolatry and it brought the wrath Lord.

Idolatry is nothing new and is something that should cause concern. Idolatry is even the focus of today's New Testament reading as the Ephesians were rioting because so many were turning to the Lord and away from Artemis, their local deity.  Here is a warning in the form of a question:  what do you love more than the Lord? Do not allow idolatry to take root in your heart or your surroundings. The punishment to Azariah was leprosy...a deadening of the nerves so you cannot feel. And a 'failure to feel' will lead to all sorts of bad decisions, devastated relationships and missed opportunities.

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Leadership Matters

Tonight the current leadership of Faith Bible Church will meet together with the leadership boards of this coming year.  Each year during June the leadership of both the Board of Deacons and the Board of Elders reviews the previous 12 months and reflects on all the Lord has done. Some years this causes a celebration and other years the look back is painful.  Some years we can rejoice at the faithfulness of leadership and other years there is mourning because of poor stewardship, ineffective discipleship, moral failure or lost opportunities. 

Leadership matters.  One can certainly discern the significance of leadership from today's reading in the One Year Bible.  Today Jehu, king of Israel, beheaded Ahab's 70 sons and killed "his great men and his acquaintances and his priests, until he left him without a survivor" (2 Kings 10:11). This king of Israel, eliminated Baal worship from the land of Israel and did "well in executing what is right" in the eyes of the Lord (10:30) and even turned the house of Baal into a latrine (10:27)!  Today Queen Athaliah, upon discovering her own son was dead, "destroyed all the royal offspring" (2 Kings 11:1).  In the New Testament, Paul was saved by Gallio, proconsul of Achaia...a political leader, because Gallio refused to rule concerning Jewish theological matters (Acts 18:15) and, as a consequence, released Paul. One also finds Apollos being taken in and taught "the way of God more accurately" (18:26) by Aquilla and Priscilla. Leadership matters.  

You are an influencer...a leader.  You might not have the power to have others beheaded, turn civic buildings into bathrooms or command prisoners to be released from imprisonment by the swipe of your pen or the power of your personality.  However, your life and your influence is far greater than you might imagine.  The Lord wants to use your life, your abilities, your time, and your possessions to destroy "every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God" (2 Cor. 10:5).  You have been "created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand" (Eph. 2:10). You have been called to be an active rescuer...not necessarily from prison cells but from bondage to sin and death. You 'are Christ’s ambassador' (2 Cor. 5:18-20).  People around you are watching your life, questioning your decisions, evaluating your relationships, and listening to your words.  Leadership matters.  To whom does your leadership point?!

Posted by Curt Krohn with 2 Comments

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