DAY ONE: WHAT ARE HIGH PLACES?
Fast Devotional - Day One Text: Leviticus 26:1-30 Written by: Brian Lambert
Thoughts From the very beginning of scripture, one thing is clear: We were made to worship! God created humanity to walk with Him in a close intimate relationship. He wired into our DNA a deep desire and a passionate need to connect with Him, to worship Him – Him alone! But...there are other options. The people of Israel discovered that while in slavery in Egypt for 400 years. Egypt was different. They worshiped a pantheon of gods and goddesses and would offer prayers, sacrifices, and perform rituals on behalf of the people to appease the gods and seek their favor. Israel was different, they served one God - Yahweh. However, while they were in Egypt, Egyptian culture seeped into them. Since they were exposed to Egyptian religious tradition, it is probable that they incorporated some of the beliefs and practices into their own worship. Their worship practices after deliverance from Egypt would indicate that to be so. In Leviticus 26, God had given Moses a clear and strong message for Israel for how they were to WORSHIP when they came into the promised land. A way of Worship for blessing and another way of worship that would be a curse and bring destruction.
In verse 27-32 God says: “If you do not obey Me, but walk contrary to Me, then I also will walk contrary to you in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. You shall eat the flesh of your sons, and you shall eat the flesh of your daughters. I will destroy your high places, cut down your incense altars, and cast your carcasses on the lifeless forms of your idols; and My soul shall abhor you. I will lay your cities waste and bring your sanctuaries to desolation, and I will not smell the fragrance of your sweet aromas. I will bring the land to desolation, and your enemies who dwell in it shall be astonished at it.” (Lev. 26:27-32 NKJ)
God warned of the discipline and the destruction of The High Places. "High Places" (the technical name for a cultic platform) were often man-made hills where worshippers would build altars, often surrounded by trees, pillars, or standing stones as an identified location for worship – as a place for burnt offerings, incense, feasts, and festivals, cult prostitution, and even child sacrifice. While God’s promise of blessing was directly connected to faithful worship, having no other Gods before Him, God’s people (Israel & Judah) continually forsook the covenant, worshipped idols, false gods, and experienced years of God’s judgment in the form of fighting, famine, and fierce oppression by surrounding nations.
Pure worship was always a struggle for God's people. As the people blended with the cultural current of the day, The High Places took up sacred space that God alone was meant to occupy. Not much has changed! The issue was cultural then and it’s cultural now. Think about it – We are still fighting the cultural tide! We have our own High Places…ideals, rules, laws, traditions, practices, and sacred cows that interrupt and interfere with pure, authentic worship.
High places war against the level of devotion the Lord desires. As a church, we must stop equating church attendance and activities with affection and devotion to Christ. We must tear down every high place, every lofty thing that we prioritize above our God and commit ourselves fully to Him! Prayer God, show me where I have set up “High Places” in my life. Help me worship you with a pure heart and with complete devotion. I long to serve you only! In Jesus’ name, Amen!