Recently as I was helping my oldest son, Paul, study for a quiz for his Bible class, the Lord spoke me through a scripture he was studying. It was 2 Corinthians 10:4-5:
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
The Apostle Paul describes our warfare in this passage. The battle is in our mind. When we let Satan plant lies in our mind that he develops into fortified positions called strongholds, he will dominate our lives.
As I was thinking about this, the phrase high places jumped off the page at me. I immediately thought about the kings of Israel and Judah in the Old Testament. Every time they had an ungodly king, they set up idols in high places and the people began to gather and worship there. When a godly king came into power, they would often tear down the shrines built to the idols so the people would return to the temple to worship.
The greatest example of a king restoring proper worship is King Josiah in 2 Kings 22. After Josiah became king, he ordered the carpenters to repair the temple. When they were working on the temple, Hilkah, the priest discovered the book of the law. He gave it to Shapan the scribe who read it before King Josiah. Josiah began to weep when he heard the word of God because he realized the people’s disobedience to God led to the wrath of God being aroused against them. He knew their disobedience led to their suffering.
Josiah’s response to hearing the word was to restore worship in Judah. He made a covenant to keep the word of God and then had the high priests to bring out all the articles that were made for the false gods out of the temple of God and destroy them. Then Josiah went out and removed the priests and the wooden images of false gods the people worshipped from the high places. Josiah tore down the high places where the people gathered to worship, which caused them to have to turn to the one true God.
We all have to deal with the high places in our life both individually and institutionally. What do I mean? Individually we all are tempted with sinful thoughts that are demonic in nature that exalt themselves above the glory of God. We deal with those thoughts by rebuking them and replacing them with godly thoughts. For example, if we are tempted with lust, we rebuke the spirit of lust and then begin to remind ourselves that we have been given the Holy Spirit which gives us self control. That is our real identity.
The institutions we have to deal with are the political system, economic system, educational system, media, and so on. In our nation these are high places that have been filled with idolatry. For example, Harvard University just named an atheist to be their head chaplain. Harvard was founded in the 1600s to train ministers and now its head chaplain doesn’t even believe in God. And we wonder why are nation is in the situation it is in?
Things used to be far different as 55 of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence were Christians. Half of those men had studied divinity in college and four of them were ministers. Our Declaration of Independence and Constitution are laced with Christians references and biblical values. In a sense, our nation’s foundation was framed by God and we were birthed with a Christian culture.
Our economic, political, and education institutions lay the groundwork for the nation we will become. If they are filled with demonic forces, how can we expect to be a godly nation. I’m not saying there won’t be individual believers or churches who do well, but how can we see national change when our high places are controlled by the devil.
I don’t have all the answers, but I believe we need to get involved. We as Christians can no longer not vote in elections, sit on the sidelines of city council meetings while ungodly legislation is passed, and not be involved and protest when our schools teach things that violate the Bible. We need to cast the devil out of our high places so we can take them back over. We need a national renewing of the mind to fulfill God’s plan for our nation. This takes long term commitment as this goes beyond a revival into a reformation. We need to reform our political, economic, educational, and media institutions. These institutions shape the culture of this nation and it will be impossible to have long term national revival until this high places are pulled down.
I’m not sure what the next step is, been I’m pursuing Jesus with everything I have to see our world get better. Will you help me? If you’d like to learn more, check out this series I taught called Shaping Culture at Grace Life Church.