1 Kings 22:43
And he walked in all the ways of Asa his father; he turned not aside from it, doing that which was right in the eyes of the Lord: nevertheless the high places were not taken away; for the people offered and burnt incense yet in the high places.
The temple was completed, there were no need for the “high places” of worship. My first thought as I write this morning is, “how on earth did I get here?” This was not my intended thought to write upon, but it seems so necessary. Jehoshaphat was a good King. He was following in his father’s footsteps, he was trying to do everything right, but there was that “one thing.” That act of disobedience that was a distraction from the house of God. There was no reason that the people could not worship at the temple, they had that freedom; but the high places were loved by the people because of their antiquity and so they were left, against God’s word.
We all have that “one thing”. That one thing that takes our eyes off where we are to serve God. We are a people who love traditions. And while traditions have their place, because it’s good to see where we’ve came from and respectfully remember those that lead us to this place; but there comes a time when we have to move on. When those places become a distraction from actual worship and more of a repetitive action or should I say repetitive distraction.
The high place is not a bad place.
My beloved Victory Baptist Church is in a state of transition. Our Pastor, who we love, has decided that it is God’s will to move on. He has Pastored our church well for 21 years, he told me about Jesus and changed my life forever, and countless others in our congregation. He brought revival into our community and taught us how to serve God. He discipled us before he sent us into the community and considered his station behind the Holy desk of God as one of accountability and responsibility. He took strong stands in the face of opposition… he did right as did Asa, Jehoshaphat’s father… I Kings 15:14b says ~ “Asa’s heart was perfect with the Lord all his days.”
And Jehoshaphat followed in his father’s footsteps, he continued in the right way, except for one the thing… those high places. Those high places had become what the people were looking to instead of the Lord. Certainly they worshiped the Lord there, but the “there” became as important as the Lord.
Victory Baptist Church has long been the victim of multiple rumors. I’ll not give credence to any one of them here, but let me just say there were MANY! We have been a watched congregation. Every time someone fell out of fellowship with the Lord it was noted. When the church was founded in 1992 their motto was “Discover the Difference” and it was that difference that got cheers and jeers. What was the difference?… accountability for one. The new Pastor held his leadership to a high standard. If you talked it, you better have walked it and that unsettled those who thought God didn’t mind slacked standards. I better be careful, I’m bordering preaching. 🙂 We loved our Preacher, we treated him well, and people took note of that too.
But here we are in this transition. And people are watching. They want to know if it was real. Were we there because of the leader or the Lord?
Where we were was not a bad place. It was an awesome place. But it’s moved and now we’re here. We will continue in the path of righteousness. We will continue on the Word of God (King James Version), but under a new leadership, one that we’re excited about. We are anxious but waiting for the new place. We’ll love him too.
When I began writing this today, I did not know that I would end up in “this place.” The place where I have to say it’s not about the place, or the man; it’s about God, our mighty Redeemer. Jehoshaphat and his people left those high places standing and it took their sights off God. I don’t want that for my church.
Perhaps your church is in a time of transition. Tear down the high “places.” Let the Word of God stand. The traditions of man mean nothing unless it’s God’s design. We have to move in to the new place. Get ready!