Today we learn from two kings and the Ephesians that our former lives and idolatry will continue to dog us as long as we try to keep one foot in the old world. Underlying their commitment to God was a greater commitment to their own way…
1 In the twenty-third year of Joash son of Ahaziah king of Judah, Jehoahaz son of Jehu became king of Israel in Samaria, and he reigned seventeen years. 2 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord by following the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit, and he did not turn away from them. 3 So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel…
4 Then Jehoahaz sought the Lord’s favor, and the Lord listened to him,
6 But they did not turn away from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, which he had caused Israel to commit; they continued in them. Also, the Asherah pole remained standing in Samaria.
10 In the thirty-seventh year of Joash king of Judah, Jehoash son of Jehoahaz became king of Israel in Samaria, and he reigned sixteen years. 11 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord and did not turn away from any of the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit; he continued in them.
2Kings 13:1-3, 4, 6, 10-11
17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.
These two kings, father and son, both did evil in the sight of God, and they continued the sins of Jeroboam, which included golden calf worship. It’s incredible that the golden calf mistake made by Israel and Aaron while Moses was on the mountain receiving the ten commandments was going to dog them over and over. This is generations later…
There are brief moments of surrender and reverence, yet underlying their commitment to God is what seems to be a greater commitment to their own way. Their sinful idolatry erodes the fruit of their knowledge of God.
Paul deals with this in Ephesians 4 where he tells the church at Ephesus to stop living like the Gentiles. They were, in fact, Gentiles, yet they had turned toward God. So the message was, Hey Christian Gentiles, stop living like the unbelieving Gentiles around you!
They had this underlying commitment to the empty way of life they had before they came to Jesus. Even though God makes us new when we receive Jesus as Lord (2Corinthians 5:17), some of us put on our old clothes so we can play house with our old lives…
That wasn’t okay with God back in the time of Moses, 2Kings, or in the early church. Anything we place between us and God is an idol. Our former lives, with our idolatrous ways, will continue to dog us as long as we try to keep one foot in the old world.