The high places, however, were not removed, and the people still had not set their hearts on the God of their fathers. - 2 Chronicles 20:33
My heart keeps bringing me back to this repeated warning in the narrative of the people of Judah. Jehosphat did so much good, and made so many right decisions, yet his heart and the heart of the people was not sold out to God. He loved God, and he believed in God, but he did not belong to God in the sold out way that would have turned the people from their high places and aligned their hearts with God's heart.
My first reaction is, "so what then am I to understand is the problem with the high places?" The answer is found in a better understanding of what the high places were. The high places served two functions in Israel. The most common was a place of pagan worship. There would be among other things prostitutes there to meet the physical needs of the worshipers, along with an additional variety of self centered worship icons. The other times, though more noble was still as rebellious, they were used as local centers for the worship of God. An altar, levities and other instruments of honor to God could be found present at these times. The problem, even in the periods of time when the people's hearts seemed aligned to God, was that God had ordered the destruction of the high places (Ex. 34:13 & Deut. 12:11-14), and allowed for the use of but one altar (Lev. 17:3) which was an allegorical reference to the body of Christ and his singular ability to bring salvation to the dead soul of mankind.
So then the High Places represented 4 things that were displeasing to God and contrary to relationship with him. Idolatry, Impurity, Selfishness, and Rebellion. At their worst times it was Idolatry in the worship of god's with impurity represented in the defiling of the body with the pagan prostitutes. Even at best the high places were centers of selfishness in the worship of God on the people own terms while being rebellious in the ignoring of God's terms.
I have the same high places in my heart. The same struggles are represented identically. From times of idolatry and impurity when my lusts are set on things I can see with my eyes to my better times when even still I approach God by my standard, my will, and my desires. I shy from the discomfort of the spirit's leading, and ignore the call to be more righteous and more filled with the Spirit. I have the same result. These high places keep my heart from being totally committed to the Lord. I open myself up be a victim of the kingdom of the evil one because my places exist, and my heart is not fully committed. We return again to the words of the greatest command, Jesus answered,
This is part of a series of 3 posts, I wrote about 2 years ago collectively called "No Ashera Poles". They were three personal posts and I never had any intentions really of publishing them. However I decided today to go ahead and throw them out there.