"For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope." (Romans 15:4)
Under the reign of King Rehoboam the son of Solomon, Judah did evil in the sight of the LORD, and they provoked Him to jealousy with their sins, above all that their forefathers had done.
They had their "high places", those centers of false worship. They had idols and groves (it's a kind of wooden image), on every high hill, and under every green tree. There were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel.
God responded in judgment, but not (yet) to Judah's irremedial loss. In the fifth year of king Rehoboam, Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem. This Shishak plundered the treasures Judah had gained in the "golden days" of Solomon, those days when silver was not even considered valuable (1 Kings 10:21).
Rehoboam died, and Abijam his son reigned for three years. Abijam walked in all the sins of his father, and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as the heart of David his forefather. Nevertheless for David's sake the LORD his God "gave him a lamp" in Jerusalem.
After Abijam came Asa, who reigned forty one years in Jerusalem. Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his forefather. He took the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. Asa was evidently a man who loved the LORD according to the words of the One Who was to come and say, "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me." This because Asa removed Maachah his own mother from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove. Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron. Even though the high places were not removed, nevertheless Asa's heart was perfect with the LORD all his days.
Then Jehoshaphat Asa's son reigned. Under Jehoshaphat, the remnant of the sodomites, which remained in the days of Asa, were taken out of the land (1 Kings 22:46).
Years later, King Josiah reigned. Judah experienced its greatest revival "on Josiah's watch". Having discovered the book of Law, King Josiah made a covenant before the LORD, Judah standing with him, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of God's covenant.
King Josiah commanded to be brought out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels that were made for the false god Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them outside of Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron. And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven.
And he brought out the grove from the house of the LORD, without Jerusalem, to the brook Kidron, and burned it, and crushed it into powder, and threw the powder upon some graves.
And he broke down the houses of the sodomites that were by the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the grove.
Thus far we have condensed and paraphrased passages found in 1 Kings chapters 14, 15, and 22, and in 2 Kings chapter 23. The the word "sodomite",is used in the KJV. The NKJV used the term "perverted persons".
As an aside, consider our use of language. Sodomite vs. euphemistic terms such as homosexual(even though NIV/KJV so translate MALACHOI, effeminate), put perversion on the level with normal sexuality..."heterosexual" simply means normal sexuality! Much less appropriate is a word like GAY, stolen by pushers of perversity, like the word catholic was purloined by papists!
QUOTE, John Witherspoon, founder father, signer of Dec. of Ind: "As the growth or decay of vegetable nature is often so gradual as to be insensible; so in the moral world, verbal alterations, which are counted as nothing, do often introduce real changes, which are firmly established before their approach is so much as suspected."
So-called homosexuality is wicked perversion, punishable by death according to the law of God. It is gross sin and a dark bondage from which only the redemption of our Lord Jesus Christ can save.
Many more years later, as recorded by John the apostle, David's greatest Son stood before a Roman governor...God Almighty incarnate and in His state of humiliation, standing before a worm! Jesus said to Pilate, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here."
As one dear Christian brother has pointed out to me, His kingdom not being OF this world does not mean it is not IN this world. Spiritually, Christians are seated with Christ in heavenly places. They have come to the heavenly Jersusalem where angels and the spirits of just men made perfect dwell. Yet we are still IN this world, we are the church militant.
As it was for Judah under Rehoboam, some "Shishaks" (temporal judgments) have come against our nation, but amazingly, God has stayed His hand (as yet) from more severe chastisement. What can we do that God might keep a lamp of Christian testimony burning, even under wicked rulers like Abijam? How can we, like kings Asa, Jehoshaphat, and Josiah, be militant against evil, including the sodomite agenda of our day? Josiah broke down sodomitessodomite houses that were by the house of the LORD. Today these houses of abominable, wicked perversity are even masquerading as being part of the house of the LORD, part of the household of faith! O what must we do that God might perhaps turn away His anger?
We don't fight in the way Jesus told Pilate His servants would not fight, but we do fight.
First, knowing the amazing love of Him Who first loved us, we must get more of a heart of love for the LORD like David, Asa, and other heroes of the faith have had, a heart that loves Him supremely, more than anyone or anything else.
We must SHRINK in our indifference and GROW in our diligence so as to become more like Jehoshaphat, , who followed up on the cleansing ways of his father Asa, removing the remnant of the sodomites who apparently had slipped through the cracks under Asa's reign. Like godly king Josiah who tore his clothes in grieved repentance when he perceived Judah's indictment by God's Law, we must repent of our complacency and inertia, resolving under the new and better covenant in Jesus' blood to follow on, to perservere, to press toward the mark.
Let judgment begin with the household of God, let it begin with YOU! Let the Holy Spirit scrutinize you - your motives, your affections, your ways, your agenda - under the light of the Word. May He kick out of YOU, and me, all remnants of sin's perversion, all worship of self, and all the covetousness which is idolatry. Let love for God rule us, as it ruled king Asa. Let repentance work thoroughly in us and in those around us as it did in king Josiah's Judah. Let zeal for God's house consume us, as it consumed King Jesus.
We now turn once again to Scripture, that we may discover "more how"...how the Holy Spirit leads us to also manage the fire which we pray He fans to a higher blaze in our hearts. We turn to His inspired Word to learn how to direct the power that will arise in us, the church militant, as we pursue these precious spiritual blessings of greater love for God, diligence, and deep repentance and reformation - precious spiritual blessings which indeed can be obtained as we use the means of grace, and wait upon the LORD!
Let me take us to another ancient monarch, one of the mightiest of them all, yet to a day in his life before he became king. When all the other soldiers of Israel retreated in fear from Goliath,
1 Sam. 17:37 David said, "The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." And Saul said to David, "Go, and the LORD be with you!"
38 So Saul clothed David with his armor, and he put a bronze helmet on his head; he also clothed him with a coat of mail.
39 David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, "I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them." So David took them off.
40 Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine.
David took five smooth stones...and he put his faith in the same mighty Rock that followed God's people in the wilderness wanderings, which Rock, as Paul said to the Corinthians, was CHRIST.
To the Corinthians, Paul wrote, "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."
And to the Ephesians, he wrote, "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints."
With this weaponry, this panoply, we the Lord's army go forth to battle.
So, soldier! Are YOU devoted to prayer, to making supplication not just for things pertaining to your own advancement, comfort, and health, but prayer and supplication related to the coming of God's kingdom? Are YOU watching? Are YOU watching for answers, watching with the concerns of other believers who are in the fight with you in mind, watching with perserverance?
What kind of spiritual swordsman are YOU? Can YOU even heft the testimonies and statutes, precepts and judgments of the word of God, let alone wield them? Or does your sword remain in its scabbard (a shelf or table in your house) day after day, gathering dust, while "urgent" and "important" other matters consume your hours? On how many occasions when you should have "had your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace", when you should have "been ready to give an answer to any one who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you", did you find yourself like the dumb ox, unable to speak a fit word to that neighbor, that person you bumped into, that co-worker?
Oil that sword! Be like Him Who was seen by John in that apocalyptic vision with this spiritual sword coming out of His mouth (Revelation 1:16). This is one sword that doesn't kill, but blesses mightily as it penetrates your heart! Get it into your heart - for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks - then get into the thick of the fray! In our society, at this time in history, it is no more a matter of "finding an opportunity" for witness, we are surrounded by opportunities...by desperate needs for salt and light!
What about that "helmet of salvation"? The apostle elsewhere expounds on what it is. "...let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation" (1 Thess. 5:8).
Peter writes, "Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ".
The hope that will carry us through the battle IN this world is a hope for the glory to come beyond this world. Whatever slight, momentary affliction we may encounter here on Earth as faithful disciples works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
Is YOUR hope set on the paltry and transitory comforts, honor, and riches of this world, or on the eternal, incorruptible glory to come? Like a deserter...a rat...you will eventually shrink away from the intense warfare of a disciple's life if your aspirations terminate upon the former. If your hope is of the latter kind, you will do and endure much in the Lord, mounting up with wings as eagles, having the same grace that has enabled brave martyrs to sing praise to God as flames began to engulf their bodies.
Our dear Lord Jesus has propitiated the wrath of God for the elect, taken away their guilt, and given them His perfect righteousness so that they can stand before a holy God. His "alien righteousness" is imputed (reckoned) to the account of a justified saint. There is also the upright walk, which the sanctifying Spirit produces in the saints. This is the "fine linen" spoken of at Revelation 19:8. This is the breastplate of Ephesians 6. Is YOUR breastplate impervious to those flaming darts of accusation, or full of holes and unable to protect you?
Jesus IS the truth, and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. Are YOUR spiritual loins girt up in Him? Do you have a resolve to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, in conformity to the Son by the power of His Spirit? O what power against darkness and perversion is there in the clear, irreproachable testimony of a man or woman of whom it can be said as it was of Nathaniel, "behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" Let YOUR light so shine! The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind. Are YOU holding a strong shield, formed of that faith which comes by hearing the word of God, or has being occupied with everything but hearing (and reading, and meditating upon, and studying, and memorizing, and singing) the word of God left you unshielded?
Thus I have sought to remind myself and those who hear me of "what we can do" against the darkness around us. May God be pleased to work in us both to will and to do of this His good pleasure.
Go to Pulpit Archive
Go to Home Page