(August 17, 2014)
This chapter teaches us a number of lessons about fully consecrating ourselves to the Lord. The first lesson we need to draw, using the destruction of the idols and groves as a symbol for the destruction of those elements in our lives that are not fully given over to the Lord, is the importance of being thorough – how many times do we read about this king or that king doing something good in the sight of the Lord, but not uprooting the groves or destroying the altars to Baal? It is because of these halfway efforts that the Israelites found themselves in bondage – it may not have happened during their lifetimes, but they were the cause.
Secondly, we cannot repent and turn ourselves to the Lord out of an expectation that the Lord will protect us temporally. Sometimes, when we talk about repentance and obedience, we seem to focus on the temporal aspect of the Lord’s care for us. It is almost as if we are repenting for the Lord’s protection rather than repenting because that is what the Lord requires. Josiah, a worthy king from everything we read, could not forestall the Babylonian Captivity and could not even save his own life.
Far better to take the view of recognizing that whatever the current temporal situation that we find ourselves in, the Lord is capable of bring us temporal salvation. We can call upon Him, with faith that He is mighty to save, ‘but if not’ we must still be willing to obey and repent because of our love and trust in Him and for no other reason. Christ did not promise temporal salvation as a consequence of obedience (how many prophets and apostles have been martyred?), but His offer is Salvation of a much more valuable kind.