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Half-Hearted Holiness (2 Kings 16-21)

Half-Hearted Holiness (2 Kings 16-21)
Our lesson for today is all about half-hearted holiness, acting like we love or obey GOD only as far as we agree with what we understand and only obeying on our own terms rather than His. We see this in today’s passage. The trend goes from worship in the Holy Place as established by GOD, to adjusting the items in the Holy Place, to putting idols in the place only GOD should be worshipped, to worshipping what GOD gave as idols instead of worshipping GOD and doing whatever they wanted.

Eventually the people of GOD were doing as much or worse that offended GOD as those He had destroyed in order to give His people the land. But they kept His Name, and whatever they wanted to keep as tradition that made them feel good.

We see the roots and connections to the Samaritans of the time of Jesus here, too. When the Babylonians invaded Samaria they brought in all kinds of foreigners to live among the Jewish remnant. But they brought their own gods with them. Although they were taught the ways to worship the GOD of Israel their idolatry contributed to the reputation of Samaritans not being real Jews. This passed down to the time when Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan. In the story (Luke 10:25-37). Jesus describes how a man beaten and left for dead is ignored by those who claimed to be righteous Jewish people. He was only helped by a Samaritan, the people those self-righteous Jewish people considered half-breeds and imposters. Nothing in the story says the kindhearted Samaritan believed in GOD. The point was that the half-hearted holiness of the self-righteous Jews was no different than a Samaritan who showed kindness as called for by the GOD of Israel but was not Jewish and didn’t know GOD himself.

We see this in today’s society. The trend goes from obeying GOD, to starting to adapt what He says to our own tastes. Our tastes become the culture’s tastes and in order to please the culture the government legislates whatever the people want rather than what GOD wants. Whatever makes the people comfortable, feeling as if they are self-righteous, takes the place of the righteousness of GOD. Until the government takes the place of GOD and power is used to enslave the populace for the sake of enriching the elite.

Homosexuality is literally embraced, though GOD Himself says it’s an abomination in the name of people who claim to be more loving than GOD says Himself to be. The confusion, of course, being what every good parent realizes: confusing harmful permissiveness with love. But it feels self righteous so it is supported.

Others cry about what an abomination homosexual marriage between two people who claim to love each other is. But they do nothing about babies being sliced to death, tortured and chemically burnt to death in the wombs of their mothers or on the way into the world or shortly thereafter in the name of kindness to the mother. No different than those in today’s passage offering children to idols. But the idols are ourselves. It’s half-hearted holiness, acting like we think we want GOD to act and making ourselves gods (in both senses of the phrase).

The answer is provided by not acting like God or gods of our own but allowing GOD to act through us. This can only happen by accepting Jesus Christ on His own terms as Rescuer from ourselves and allowing Him to act for Himself by His Spirit living in & through us. Not guessing “What Would Jesus Do?” but letting Him do it through us.

Zeal for the LORD’s Name will either cause someone to serve Him wholeheartedly or will destroy the halfhearted who profane it. 2 Kings 16-21

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