How does one build a temple to the Lord? Seems that the moment that the design is put to paper the design becomes more and more human. So to, the actual implementation and labor, here foreign residents appear to have been conscribed and the plunder of wars smelted. It just seems the more real it becomes the less real it is.
Alters and relics of the false gods that still remained in Jerusalem were removed and thrown into the brook Kidron. The disgusting action of having to do this made the priests and levites feel filthy and ashamed. They must have been filthy and disgusting idols.
The spirit of the law had precedence. The spirit is that we come prepared spiritually to seek the Lord not necessarily how we come to the event ritualistically. The ritual then becomes important only when the spiritual requirement is met, other wise pardon would not have to asked for or granted
The days of joy celebration song and feasting of the passover are now replaced by the joy and celebration and song and feasting we have every day in our Lord' passover presence. It is what we should feel each and every time we prepare our hearts to seek the Lord in fellowship together. It is a solemn experience only as we approach His alter with our sins. It is a long long joyous feast thereafter having been given His pardon. Some congregations have got this backwards.
It is amazing how much work went into restoring Judah back into being right with God; they had slipped that far. Hard as this was, the scary thing is that it will take at least as much work for them to sustain it. The problem we see play out time and time again is not starting, not reviving, but sustaining for any length of time. People are much more willing, there is much more momentum at the onset. They succeed, God blesses, they become comfortable, other notions intermingle, new momentum's sway entirely different directions, the established good is torn down in short order replaced by the unproven notions and imagination perceived benefit and entitlement. It is no different today. The heart of man is never satisfied. The will of man never sustains.
Words similar to the Assyrian King's echo brashly still today. I guess when you've been fighting against paper tigers all this time you'd just expect every other god to fall in the same manner. Many people today feel that this is what all gods are. Our God uses these people at times to test and foster the faithfulness of His beloved. What do these puppets get out of the deal? A moment of feeling brash and superior.
We've seen a spiritual process as developed in King Hezekiah that we should consider ourselves. He was a very good man to begin with and became a vessel of God's to begin and complete a tremendous restoration/revival in Judah. God certainly blessed his faith and actions as we would expect. Because of this success others sought to put him down, put him back in mere human terms. The Lord stands up for him as he responds to this desperation humbly with prayer. God blesses again as expected. Then with all this success he gets a bit too puffed up, but even that gets worked out. The king is doing admirably right? You would think that this would be the end of the story, but, for everything considerable that Hezekiah has been able to depend on, obey and do, his inner heart has yet to be fully revealed to him. There are the ways of God that you and I would expect and there are the much deeper ways of God that must need to be done; revealing the full heart of man. This God does for our own sakes.
This flip flop father to son/good to evil has occurred far too many times now for us not to make a point out of. Judah has had a better history than Israel in lessening this historical tendency, but, it still has happened far too frequently. Is it leadership weakness keeping others out? Trying to be all things to all people? Is just the anti-establishment nature within us? Is it parenting? The vigor of marking ones turf with one's own scent? Yes we all have freewill, each child must make his/her own decisions. How much of this is decision though and not nature or environment or conspiracy? We are told of our warfare against spiritual powers and principalities. Is it really all of our own choosing?
Where are the people in all of this? Where are the priests and the Levites? Is the position of king all that matters in these perversions? Is there no resistance? Is the resistance that easily overcome? Does the perversion go on that un-noticed? We can only guess from our own experience. What would you say?
The damage is done anyway. His previous influence remains even though he himself has changed. We see this in our own lives as well, friends that we've gone back to now that we've been reborn in Christ who see us as former shells of ourselves, turn coats to the truer rebellious faith, enemies to be reconverted or abandoned.
There has been for a long time debate about "solo scriptura" the doctrine of only by written scripture. The counter argument is of the oral teachings and oral traditions. This passage in particular seem ample proof that the oral argument falls flat. When the written scriptures reappear, there is a vast discrepancy between the way things were then with Moses and the way they became minus the writings centuries later. It seems incredulous that for all this time the written scripture was not even consulted and hidden away in the treasury. Maybe God was pointing to the obvious symbolism and critic.
Even in the midst of all this trouble with Egypt, the people of Judah were hardened and brazen enough not to see what was happening. They had the arogance to dismiss and utterly mistreat God's prophets and the gall to not observe the Mosaic seventh year agricultural Sabbaths. This is a full spiritual revolt.
Do you find it interesting that special mention is made of the treatment of the Baalim priests burnt to ashes upon their alters? The back and forth between evil and good is drastically heating up. Fast forward to chapter 36 and the final straw where God pulls the plug on Judah, the horrors placed upon His prophets. I know we'd like to think of these grotesque items on our limited individual terms of free will and human over-reactions. There is something much more spiritual going on here though that can't be sugar coated. A war between spiritual powers and principalities in high places is what is being described here; something of a scope so very few of us can imagine. All along we have been asking why? Why the back and forth? Why doesn't Judah see? Why don't they listen? Why is it so difficult to sustain any thing good? Why this god and that? Why is God so upset? What is God wanting us to see in all of this gory repetition? Well this explanation makes better sense than most? The spirits are at war over Jerusalem and the seed of David.
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