The Road to Bethlehem: Burning Bridges

Matthew 1:7-20
And Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa; And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias; And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias; 10 And Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias;
 
After the death of Solomon and the splitting of the kingdom by Rehoboam the kingdom of Judah became a roller-coaster ride. King after king reigned over God’s people. Some of them sought after the Lord and led the people to do the same, while others lived lives of sinfulness and idolatry and led the hearts of the people away from God. Through all of this the Grace of God was seen as, even through the times of sinful rulers, God did not turn His back on Judah (1 Kings 15:4). 
 
Then there were the good kings, like Asa and Josaphat who ruled in righteousness and sought to turn the hearts of the people back to the Lord. The bible says that these kings destroyed idols and rooted out sinful practices among the people. King Asa even removed his own mother from the position of Queen because her heart was given over to idol worship!(1 Kings 15:11-13). These were times of great revival for the people of Judah. But, there was one problem. In 1 Kings 15:14 we read this phrase, “but the High places were not removed.”
 
High places were the center of worship for pagan gods. In Numbers 33:52 the children of Israel were commanded to tear these down along with the idols and graven images. God knows that if we don’t burn those bridges that lead back to our sinful past, all of them, then our hearts eventually we be drawn back across them. This is what happened with Judah. Some of these kings did great in destroying the idols and removing sin, but they left one bridge standing and the hearts of the people continually found their way back across and returned to worship at the dead, stony feet of false gods. Why did the kings keep the high places? Maybe it was to appease the people by compromising just how much change the king would make them go through. But maybe it was something else, something that all of our hearts struggle with…
 
We don’t like to burn bridges because it cuts off our path of return, of escape just in case we need to go back that way. Rather than destroy what leads our hearts away from God…alcohol, pornography, drugs,(you fill in the blank)…we take it to the closet and put it on the top shelf. Out of sight, out of mind right? But what happens when our sinful heart rears its head and we find ourselves crossing back over that bridge as we go to that closet where our idols are hidden…our high places. Burning Bridges takes commitment. It takes resolve. It is deciding that the sin that you are fleeing from is not worth ever going to again… so you cut off all means of return. Maybe God is calling us today to burn some bridges in our hearts…
 
Today as we ReFocus our hearts and minds on Christ let’s resolve to burn some bridges. We must determine in our lives that we are going to move forward for God with the battle cry of “no retreats”. What is in your closet today? What is that high place in your life that you are keeping around “just in case”. May we, as the redeemed of Christ, turn our hearts completely toward Him by removing those high places out of our lives.



 

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