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Ancient Parallels August 22, 2007

Posted by amybeth in Deep.

I just read a novel by Lynn Austin called “God and Kings”. Its the first in a series about King Hezekiah in the Old Testament. In her interpretation of the story, she has drawn some amazing parallels with the current state of the church and the struggles we face trying to make the message of Christ relevant to modern society. I thought I’d quote a particularly pertinent dialogue that really caught my attention when I first read it.

The setting:  Ahaz has just offered High Priest Uriah the position of chief advisor, however the first tasks Uriah has been assigned are to strip the gold of the temple for an a gift to placate Assyria and to prepare for a sacrifice to Molech. Uriah is torn because he wants to see worship restored to the temple, but these things are…well, wrong. The following dialogue comes from a council meeting of priests where he is trying to convince them that his doing these things is okay, and even good. I’ve only typed out the most relevant sections…you’ll have to read the book yourself for more.

Uriah – “We serve a dead institution…Look around you. Even the building is crumbling down on us, and we don’t have the resources to repair it. It’s time we faced the truth: the men of Jerusalem are no longer willing to support this Temple or its priesthood with their tithes. Like the king, they go elsewhere for spiritual help, to the idols and shrines and groves. Meanwhile, we barely take in enough  offerings to keep our families alive. It’s time to make some changes….Our Temple worship must change as the world changes or it will eventually die out altogether. We’re so bound to tradition that we no longer listen to the people. I’m not talking about changing Yahweh’s laws, I’m talking about examining our traditions. If the men of Judah are drawn to the religions of the nations around us, then we need to ask ourselves why. It’s time we consider changing our outmoded traditions to fit the times instead of blindly clinging to the old ways.”

Conaniah – “You want to revive the worship of Yahway by sacrificing to Molech? That’s insane! The only way to revive Temple worship is through repentance. The men of judah must give up their idolatry and turn their hearts back to God!”

Uriah – “Repentance! Where has that gotten us? The whole purpose of the Temple is to serve the spiritual needs of the people. Obviously our traditions aren’t meeting those needs or the people would come back. First we must draw them back to worship. Later we can wean them from their idolatry.”

Hmmm…food for thought ain’t it??? Are there any of God’s ways, God’s principles that have become watered down, compromised over the years as the church has struggled to remain relevant and palatable to society?



1. patti - August 23, 2007

It’s a fine line. I haven’t had enough coffee yet today to make an indepth comment.

But, as someone whose job it is to try and find that line on a daily basis…I take great comfort in the fact that God has preserved His Church despite all of our meanderings over the centuries.

And I place great trust in the Holy Spirit to cause a knot in my stomach (or some such warning) if I’m doing some dangerous drifting.

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