Old Testament Summary Lesson 27: “The Influence Of Wicked And Righteous Leaders”
- Israel’s Divisive Politics: It seems that the Lord wants the Children of Israel to learn and accept their true leader. Yet, surrounded by other peoples with governments of “men,” Israel lost the vision of a Lord’s government. “Following Solomon’s death, dissension and rebellion broke out in Israel. Rehoboam, Solomon’s son and heir to the throne, was unable to maintain the unity of the kingdom and the northern section seceded as a separate state . . . In order to assert his independence from Judah, Jeroboam built new temples in his territory and appointed new priests. This religious rebellion became . . . the decline of Israel . . . For over two centuries the two kingdoms remained thus estranged . . . Israel suffered a series of revolutions and coups, resulting in constant changes in leadership.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Kings in Life and Death: The place where the kings of Israel and after the division, Judah, LIVED at was known as the Mount Moriah (Moreh is teacher – ended with Ah – and means taught of Jehovah or Jehovah teaches). The place where the king’s bodies were placed when they DIED is on the Mount of Olives. Between the two mounts is the Kidron Valley also known as the Valley of Jehoshofet. It separates the Mount of Olives, a place where the Lord atoned while LIVING and Mount Moriah where he atoned in DEATH.
- Fading into the Sunsets: High places and groves became places of entertainment. Theatrical religious excitement replaced true religion. Some popular theatrics included priests “fighting” against evil. When they were about to fail, a beautiful, unmarried woman would come to the rescue. Together, they fought off evil and won! Ah, how terrific, “good” triumphs over “evil.” Then, as history and legend tell us, the victories were celebrated by priests and virgins as they faded into the sunset (a basic James Bond movie scenario). Consider how crafty Satan is – sexual immorality became a justified reward for “fighting evil.”
- High Places and Home Temples: To begin with, “high places” may have been intended for “district temples” because travel to Jerusalem took too much time and effort. Soon, they became corrupted. “From the moment of its dedication, the Temple in Jerusalem served as the central sanctuary for the Children of Israel. The Bible speaks of the existence of other “high places” at which sacrificial worship did take place. Although scholars differ as to whether these places had a legal status, they all agree that from the time of Josiah (622 B.C.E.) at least, there was no other legal sanctuary in Israel or Judea.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) Our homes can become the “temple” model of the Lord’s house. Entertainment brought in by various “vicarious” means may challenge us today as it did in the past! On the other hand, our homes may just be the model to prepare us daily to live with Him, in His house and in His city.