A Thorough Cleansing

2 Kings 23:13-15
And the high places that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had builded for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Zidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon, did the king defile.  And he brake in pieces the images, and cut down the groves, and filled their places with the bones of men.  Moreover the altar that was at Bethel, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he brake down, and burned the high place, and stamped it small to powder, and burned the grove.

Josiah’s reforms were extensive.  The idolatry in Israel and Judah had been far-reaching and enduring.  False worship had been ingrained in the people for so long.  But there was nothing that Josiah was not willing to destroy or take away that had been part of Israel’s disobedience.  It was a thorough cleansing, a purification so that the things of God could be restored, so God’s way could return to the forefront, and so God’s law could be obeyed, all for His honor and glory.

Sinful things have a tendency to linger if they are not destroyed completely.  The high places of Solomon, the first king to forsake God for those idols, had remained all this time.  And finally that false altar of Jeroboam that had so plagued Israel and Judah for generations was destroyed.  Finally someone was willing to take that drastic step of removing those things in order to release the people from the grip of those idols.

We have to get down to the root of the problem if we really hope to get rid of something.  We have to be willing to do this kind of extensive change if necessary to rid our lives of sinful habits and to get back in a right relationship with God.  There can’t be any area of our lives that we make off-limits to the searching of the Spirit so we can get rid of things that shouldn’t be there.  We have to be willing to destroy or let go of anything at all that interferes with our obedience to God or hurts our relationship with Him.

The good news is that it’s never too late to destroy those old idols that have plagued us for so long.  Will we be strong enough to finally take that stand against those things that may have become ingrained in us and tripped us up and gotten us off track over and over again?  May we be willing to allow God to cleanse and purify our hearts, to do whatever is necessary to set us free from the grips of sin.  It’s not always a pleasant process, but it does invite God’s mercy and His grace into our lives as we seek to do what is pleasing to Him.