(Photo by Selma Komisky)
To Fall in Sin, Or Fall in Worship?
By Zelda Dominguez
Remember the nursery rhyme, “Ring around the rosey, pocket full of posies, ashes ashes, we all fall down?” This melody came to me as I thought of two kinds of falling down. I would like to share with you about two kings of old that exemplify this.
THE FALL OF SIN
King Ahaz of Judah, found in II Kings 16, II Chronicles 28, and Isaiah 7, illustrates this first fall. His father, grandfather, and great-grandfather had all either neglected or completely refused to serve and obey God. Ahaz followed in their footsteps.
God gives us a choice to follow Him. These following Bible verses show us that we have the ability to choose and have faith in God, being secure in our eternal life in heaven, or we can choose to turn from God and live apart from Him.
“Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!”
“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.”
– Isaiah 55:6-7
Ahaz was 20-years-old when he became king. He did not do what was pleasing in the sight of the Lord, unlike his ancestor King David’s example. Instead he followed the example of the evil kings of Israel and made idols, sacrificed, and worshipped the false god Baal. He even burned his own sons in the fire.
The Lord delivered him into the hand of his enemies and was defeated with a great slaughter. The prophet Isaiah offered him a sign for assurance of God’s help in the struggle against the armies against him, but Ahaz refused and trusted in the enemy’s king. What is he thinking? Now in the time of his distress, King Ahaz became increasingly unfaithful to the Lord. “Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, I will sacrifice to them that they may help me” said the wicked king (2 Chronicles 28:23). But they were the ruin of him and of all Israel.
“Ahaz gathered articles of the house of God, cut in pieces the articles of the temple, shut up the doors of the house of the Lord, and made for himself altars in every corner of Jerusalem.”
– 2 Chronicles 28:24
The king creates his own place of worship, disregarding God’s commands, and serving as a priest at the altar of his own design. So ended the reign of perhaps the worst king of Judah and they did not bring him into the tombs of the kings of Israel.
THE FALL OF WORSHIP
Hezekiah was 25 years old when he became king. Get ready for this … He is Ahaz’s son, yet he chose not to follow his father. He did what was pleasing to the Lord. Unlike Ahaz, this king chose to humble himself and worship the Lord. Hezekiah reopened the doors to the Temple of the Lord and repaired it. He saw firsthand what happened when the people of God rejected the Lord and His Word, and worshipped other gods. Tragically, the condition of both the Levites and the temple was really bad. Hezekiah called both the priests to sanctify themselves and sanctify the Temple of the Lord, to clean it out, so that it could operate as intended.
Hezekiah recognized that the calamities that had come to Judah came because of their disobedience The King exhorts the priest and Levites to their calling and how they were chosen. They had lost their focus and purpose to serve and honor God.
So they arose and started to clear the debris and rubbish in the Temple. After the first step of removing the problem, now they could put back what had been taken out during the reign of Ahaz. The scripture says, “Then King Hezekiah rose early, gathered the rulers of the city, and went up to the Temple to make offerings (2 Chronicles 29:20). In his arrangement of this restoration of temple service, Hezekiah was careful to include both offering, and worship.
“So all the assembly worshiped, the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded; all this continued until the burnt offering was finished. And when they had finished offering, the king and all who were present with him bowed and worshiped.”
– 1 Chronicles 29:28
Hezekiah was one of the better kings of Judah, and thus had a long and blessed reign. He prohibited worship of any other gods, and did what was right in the sight of the Lord.
I can’t help but notice the beauty of Gods redemptive love in these two kings. Without Christ, we are scattered, defeated, broken, and like the things in the Temple, displaced, unclean, and discarded. We are dead spiritually.
But King Jesus, The Lamb of God, comes in to our lives and we are made whole, cleansed by His blood, and sanctified. He restores and makes us new. We are filled and we are now the Temple of the Holy Spirit, ready for His use.
Which will you choose? To fall in sin, or fall in worship? The choice is yours.