We continue reading in 2Kings15. First in the southern Kingdom (Judah) there are 2 kings – Azariah (aka Uzziah) who reigned 52 years succeeded by his son Jotham who reigned 16 years.Both were said to have done “what was right in the eyes of the Lord” BUT both did not remove the “high places”. They did not establish these places as they were already there from previuos Kings but just let them be.These are the places where YOU could make sacrifices and burn incense to the Lord OR sadly as some did to any other other deity. This drastically contravenes Levitical law which is very clear and precise in the acceptable ways for such religious observance to occur.
A slight tangent, but I wonder for us if we just sometimes makeup stuff about the “right” way to worship confusing culture, denominational tradition with bible. I’m sure I would be shocked if I could experience all the global flavours of Christian worship that honour Jesus around the world. To me some would not seem “right” only because of my cultural background and experience. Of course I could also experience something like what was happening in Judah where some of the practices were clearly against the Lord’s prescription.
Meanwhile in the northern kingdom (Israel) it’s all bad as its downfall is becoming swift. All 5 kings mentioned “did evil in the eyes of the Lord”. They did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam (1Kings12:26-32) who created idols of 2 golden calves (what is it with Israel and golden calves anyway???). He encouraged the people not to bother going to the temple in Jerusalem and sacrifice properly. He instituted his own priests, shrines, festivals and rituals. Anyway all the kings except Menahem were assassinated by their successors – one guy Shallum only lasted a month! Also Menahem did deals with the Assyrians by paying them off – hardly the Lords commander and military leader!
Our reading in 1Peter5:6-15 contain several commands. Firstly in vs6 we are to humble ourselves under the Lords mighty hand SO he may lift you up. We are to cast all our anxiety on Him BECAUSE he cares for you. Many of us are anxious and certainly there IS plenty to be anxious about but I cant help wondering if we don’t cast enough of it upon the Lord. He really does care about……… YOU! The people in Peter’s time had heaps to be anxious about. A few short years later a wave of persecution would begin under Nero and many would be martyred. I wonder how many would recall this letter in a terrible time as they entertained the crowds by being mauled to death by lions…..
Standing firm in the Lord is not a passive thing according to vs 8&9. We are to be self controlled, alert and to resist the devil. It does not say explicitly in these verses How to do all this, but I get the idea it has a lot to do with “humbling ourselves under Gods mighty hand ” and in vs 10 that the God of Grace will make us strong and steadfast.
It does not say that the devil IS a roaring lion but that he behaves LIKE one. We should not fear (that we have been forgotten by God or that Satan can devour us) even as hard as it might sound to the point of death.
As I read this it sounds like a long way from my life experience in Figtree but not so for other believers around the world. Maybe we should unite with them in some way – prayer at least. Voice of the Martyrs http://www.vom.com.au/ is a good way of helping with this.