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Pulverizing Paganism (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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September 12, 2023 6:00 am

Pulverizing Paganism (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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September 12, 2023 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

So What?
Lon Solomon

He's not assigning them as museum pieces, but He is annihilating them. You see, we have people that, seeking to be wise, becoming fools, they think that, oh, we'll take these artifacts of voodoo and witchcraft and we'll just make nice, you know, accent pieces for your living room. It's an abomination. It was an abomination to God and it should be an abomination to us.

You go to someone's house, you see these spooky things up on the wall, the Mardi Gras junkie, you call it out. It's an abomination to God. It's an abomination to God. We're going to get a look at how to deal with lies about God.

We cannot implement identical measures in the physical sense, but we certainly can spiritually, as total intolerance for things that are flat out lies about God. We come in touch with them all the time. We know what happens when they're not checked, they continue to spread. And we're watching God. We're watching this evil spread across the land. Josiah is the king.

We began his story last session. His reign takes place as the great evil Assyrian empire is in decline. And that allowed him to expand further north out of Judah's territory into what was once Israel's territory and where he continued to smash the icons. This Josiah instituted worship or I should say re-instituted worship amongst the people according to Deuteronomy, the book of the law that was found because they had lost it and lost in the sense they had to hide it.

There was so much idolatry amongst the people and the kings, which comes out in this section also. So we're going to get the impact of scripture on the king, which as we mentioned last session was not wasted on this man. Then he will stand and make a commitment and call for the people to share in that commitment, the word being covenant. And then he proceeds to eradicate the land of idols as best as a human being can. And then he celebrates the Passover. This is one of the things, these are some of the things that make this one of the greatest kings of all the Jews.

Of course, David is the standard. He remains the standard and we'll cover that when we get to a verse, but I need to move on because there's a lot of verses here. In verse one, now the king sent them to gather all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem to him. The king went up to the house of Yahweh with all the men of Judah and with him all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests and the prophets and all the people, both small and great. And he read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant, which he had found in the house of the Lord, which had been found.

He didn't find it, Hekiah the priest found it. But this is all because, again, of the scripture. When he heard the word of God read to him, he was moved in his heart. He demonstrated that. He went into action and he wanted everybody to hear what he heard. I remember when I was converted to Christ, I couldn't wait to tell people what I was reading in the Bible. I thought I was going to be applauded.

They'd roll out the red carpet. Who in their right mind would resist what I'm telling them? But it was the other way. I lost a lot of friends. God gave me many more better friends. Josiah is not going to allow this finding of the word of God to just stop right there. Oh, we found the Bible. Okay, next order of business.

That is not what he's going to do. And so he calls for a national reading of scripture, a national covenant, and a national Passover. This was something that the entire kingdom was involved with, even though there is still a mixed multitude. A lot of these churchgoers are frauds. They're playing along with it, because when Josiah dies, the nation just plunges into idolatry again, which brings the judgment.

God is certainly on top of this. But on the other hand, there were many people who were so refreshed by this righteous king. So you have the devout and you have the insincere, citizens of the kingdom. Some people go to church to hear what they want to hear. Others go to hear what God wants to say to them. And that is a big deal.

Rich or poor, all classes are here. It says here in verse 2, the priests and the prophets and all the people. Well, Jeremiah was in that number, likely Zephaniah the prophet also, who has a book by his name, Uriah the prophet, who was hunted in Egypt and brought back to Judah, and there he was slain.

But that happens much later. It says here in verse 2, and he read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant which had been found in the house of the Lord. Again, he did not waste his treasure. Isn't it shameful for someone to own a Bible and never to have read from it? Now, clearly he did read from Deuteronomy. The whole story points to that, but it is possible that he read from Genesis 1 through Deuteronomy 34. Well, some of Deuteronomy 34 wasn't yet put in at the time that Moses was writing the lore.

Someone had to write about his death. In the book of Nehemiah, we have another revival slash reformation going on in Israel. Nehemiah was the man in charge.

If you need to know about leadership, how to follow or how to be, Nehemiah is an excellent first stop. And in the eighth chapter, we read, Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month. And then he read from it in the open square that was in front of the Watergate from morning until midday before the men and the women and those who could understand. The ears of all the people were attentive to the book of the law. Well, they didn't have wristwatch then or pocket watches, so they couldn't keep checking their watch and say how much longer before this is over. They stayed and they gave attention to the reading of the law for hours. I don't say that lay guilt on us.

It is a fact that I don't think we should sidestep either. It says here in Nehemiah 8 verse 8, so they read distinctly from the book of the law of God and they gave the sense and helped them to understand the reading. That's expositional teaching. Then you come to Chronicles 35, which is a parallel passage of what we have in front of us this evening. Later, after this, where we are in verse 1 and 2, when we get to the Passover, we read, Josiah kept a Passover to Yahweh in Jerusalem and they slaughtered the Passover lambs on the fourth day of the fourth month. And he set the priests in their duties and encouraged them for the service of the house of Yahweh. He's got this king encouraging them to serve God. This is real. This is not fake.

This is not make-believe. In verse 3, we continue back in 2 Kings. Then the king stood by a pillar and made a covenant before Yahweh to follow Yahweh and to keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statutes with all His heart and with all His soul to perform the words of the covenant that are written in this book. And all the people took a stand for the covenant. I mean, it's just amazing, this part where He stands by the pillar.

This choice was not by mistake. And it was intentionally symbolic and profound at the same time. When Paul wrote to Timothy, he says, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and the ground of the truth. That is what the church is supposed to be.

Paul summed it up concisely in 1 Timothy 3.15. Now, we remember Jehoiada, that gallant priest who he and his wife saved the life of King Joash. And when it was time to announce that they saved his life, because the wicked Athaliah, his grandmother, didn't know he survived, when it came time for them to roll him out and anoint him king, we pick up in 2 Kings 11, when she looked, there was the king standing by a pillar according to the custom. And the leaders and the trumpeters were there by the king when they heralded him the king. So my point, this pillar, these pillars at the temple, because the temple of Solomon still stands, Babylonians haven't come yet.

This is probably one of the two pillars, Jacob and Boaz, that stood outside of the temple, which apparently had no physical, structural value. They were just symbolic. But when we say just symbolic, we mean it in its highest form. These were marks of God, and the word of God, and the covenant with the people, the statutes, the laws, the testimonies, the commandments. And that's what he says here, to follow Yahweh, to keep his commandments, his testimonies, and his statutes. Three different terms for God's word to the people. And that is picked up in other passages, such as in Psalm 119, the law of the Lord is perfect. You know, the testimony of the Lord is sure. And so you have this echo that highlights how profound God's word is to us. An easy proof of how profound God's word is, is look at all the effort Satan puts into making you think it's not profound. Look at all the effort Satan puts into making people think that God's word is flawed, or it's not trustworthy.

Well, it continues here. He says, with all his heart and soul, that's Deuteronomy 6.4, the Jews called the Shema, which they would recite daily, the devout Jews. Listen, O Israel, the Lord your God is one God.

He's an absolute compound God. That's what the Hebrew words mean in that, which is a precursor to the Trinity, to the Godhead. Jesus picks it up in Mark 12.30, you should love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And he's quoting Deuteronomy 6. He says here, again in verse 3, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in the book. Well, doers of the word, Romans 1.22 and James 2.13. Don't be hearers only, do the word.

Set your life to try to get it done. I think we all fear, because we have our weaknesses, those areas where we struggle. But then there are other areas we don't struggle, we excel, and we should excel with zeal. And all the people took a stand for the covenant. Well, many of them caught up in the emotions, the passions of the moment, but in their heart, their idols are just within hand's reach, and they will go for them when this king is dead. Had they believed, had they believed when they heard these scriptures and continued to believe that God's word is inerrant, they would have continued standing. Because he says that all the people took a stand for the covenant, but then the time comes when they stop. The same today, you have somebody that's all so thrilled with Christianity and the Bible, and then they become a backslider and an apostate.

Somebody whispered in their ear, don't trust it, and they were foolish enough to believe it. Well, that comes with consequence. In Ephesians 6, therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having all to stand, stand therefore. You love that language. It's a defiant language. It defies what's wrong with everything, which is the curse. The curse is on creation.

The curse is on the people of creation. It was real to Josiah, the reading, the opening of the verses. But Jeremiah is going to tell us again, it was only skin deep for so many of them. Jeremiah 3, 10. And yet, for all this, her treacherous sister Judah has not turned to me with her whole heart, but in pretense, says Yahweh. So God saw through it. He saw the ones that were just faking it. In verse 4, And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, the priest of the second order, and the doorkeepers to bring out of the temple of Yahweh all the articles that were made for Baal, for Ashtoreh, and for all the host of heaven.

And he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel. He's present for much of this. He's not just delegating. Many times you read, you know, and he built the wall, you know, well it wasn't him, he ordered it, and the laborers did it, but Josiah, he is present for much of this pulverizing of paganism and its icons. He's not demoting the idols. He's demolishing them.

He's not assigning them as museum pieces, but he is annihilating them. You see, we have people that, seeking to be wise, becoming fools, they think that, oh, we'll take these artifacts of voodoo and witchcraft and we'll just make nice, you know, accent pieces for your living room. It's an abomination.

It was an abomination to God, and it should be an abomination to us. You go to someone's house, you see these spooky things up on the wall, the Mardi Gras junkie, call it out. Be ready to lose the friend. Be ready for a fistfight, you know.

Hopefully not. But if it happens, may God be with you. Verse 5, then he removed the idolatrous priest whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn on the high places in the cities of Judah and in the places all around Jerusalem and those who burned incense to bow to the sun, to the moon, to the constellations and all the host of heaven. Interesting, that Hebrew word, there's two words in the English, the idolatrous priest. Well, in the Hebrew, it's a single word, and it's believed that word means scorched and has something to do with their black robes, the idolatrous priest wearing the black robes. In contrast, or as opposed to the priests of Yahweh who wore white robes, that's something to think about.

There's enough evidence to lean that way. You know, the Bible doesn't come out with explicit statements for us because of the generations, the cultural change, but for those that were alive at the time these things were written, they understood, they knew what was going on. It's sort of like writing about texting somebody 40 years ago. I mean, to have no knowledge of that, you'd need someone with some history to kind of lay it out. Anyway, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense.

So here they are, they're desecrating their own constitution. There were these priests in Judah, Levitical priests, but they were not serving at the temple. Well, the temple was taken over by the bow worshippers, but they continued to serve as priests at the high places. Well, this was forbidden. There's no auxiliary altars. It wasn't, well, okay, if we can't offer sacrifices in Jerusalem, we'll just do it over here.

And they're going to be penalized for that, and Josiah's going to go a little easier on them. Zephaniah writes about these things in his first chapter. It says, whom the kings of Judah ordained to burn incense. Well, the people, they fawned over these demonic renderings of deity, provoking the true God, the Creator, of course, verse 6. And he brought out the wooden image from the house of Yahweh to the Brook Kidron outside Jerusalem, burned it in the Brook Kidron, and ground it to ashes, and threw its ashes on the graves of the common people.

He was, this man is just on his mission, his cause, his crusade. Here he is, this stuff is in the house of the Lord, he grounds it to ashes, he pulverizes it. Great contempt for every false representation of God that existed. And this because they found the Word of God. And what happened on a national level can happen on an individual level. A person finds the Word of God, and really the Word of God finds them.

So much more to say about these things. Verse 7, then he tore down the ritual booths of the perverted persons that were in the house of Yahweh, where the women wove hangings for the wooden image. Paul talks about, or gives an overview of this kind of behavior in Romans 1, that they knew who God was, but they threw it away. And they got into, they were turned over to their lewd behavior. Here these ritual booths or portable chambers set up at the house of God, the temple of Solomon, for the lewd acts of sexual religion, or religion that included sexual practices, to worship Ashtoreth, and it was steeped in perversity. They were, here we have brothels, nested in God's house, where it says of the perverted persons, this goes back to Deuteronomy, I'll get to that in a second, but these were men wanting to be as much like their goddess Ashtoreth, Ashtoreth as they could be, to the point of behaving like women. These were the first transsexuals, you could say.

This transition from behaving and being a man to trying to be a woman, and this was homosexuality. The perverted persons, and well, take New Testament first, 1 Corinthians 6, 9. Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?

Don't be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites. And the word sodomites there in the Greek is the effeminate men who want to be women. Deuteronomy 23, 17, there shall be no ritual harlot of the daughters of Israel, or a perverted one of the sons of Israel. And there it is, forbidden. He's talking about sexual rituals in their worship of the idols.

Ashtoreth, you know, she's the goddess of fertility. Well, that's when the sexual activity comes in. Romans 1, likewise, also men leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lusts for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error, which was due, the consequences, the judgment. And so we are hated by the sexually militant people today. You have no right to disagree with them. In fact, you better honor them or suffer the consequence.

And so we have it now that if you're going to be in the workplace, you have to watch it. You don't use the word homosexual because they have made it a euphemism in their term gay. You know, the old songs and old movies, you know, I was happy and gay. Now you say that has a whole other meaning.

I would advise don't give them that. Don't refer to it as being gay because there's nothing gay about it in the eyes of God. This is not self-righteousness. Josiah was not self-righteous for pulverizing pagan idols that had overtaken the house of God. It says we're the woman-wove hangings for the wooden image. If you were to say to Jesus Christ when he walked, Lord, do you think Josiah was right? What do you think he would say?

Absolutely, I'm the one that sent him. These women were making decorations, tapestries to adorn their fake gods to help promote them. Ezekiel talks about a lot of this stuff.

He comes later. Verse 8, And he brought all the priests from the cities of Judah and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense from Geba to Beersheba. Also, he broke down the high places at the gates which were at the entrance of the gate of Joshua, the governor of the city, which were to the left of the city gate. So again, these are Levitical priests from various cities in Judah who had conducted worship at these various high places throughout the land, which again was forbidden. They were not allowed to serve outside of the Jewish temple any sacrifices or offerings to the Lord. Well, they couldn't serve at the temple itself either. And so they engaged in unauthorized worship. You find this in Christianity. You find Christians making excuses for things that God has clearly forbidden. Yeah, but you know, it'll get people saved.

No, it won't. Your two wrongs don't make a right. I mean, even the world has a proverb for that. Doing anything that was unclean, you're accountable to the Lord. And Josiah, he was doing anything he could do to render the unclean contemptuous, where he says from Geba to Beersheba is idiomatic throughout the land of Judah. When Israel was one kingdom, it was from Beersheba to Dan, the northernmost tribe. Also, he broke down the high places at the gates which were at the entrance of the gate of Joshua, the governor of the city.

Now, they had lucky charms on the gates, shrines as you entered the city, as you left the city. This one is by the mayor, mayor's house, probably the city of Beersheba. Thanks for joining us for today's edition on Cross-Reference Radio. This is the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia.

We trust that what you've heard today in the book of 2 Kings has been something to remember. If you'd like to listen to more teachings from this series, go to Once more, that's We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast too, so you'll never miss another edition. Just go to your favorite podcast app to subscribe. Our time is about up, but we hope you'll tune in again next time as we continue on in the book of 2 Kings. We look forward to that time with you, so make a note in your calendar to join Pastor Rick as he teaches from the Bible right here on Cross-Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-07 07:28:57 / 2023-10-07 07:38:15 / 9

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