Give No Quarter
by Ryan Duncan
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.” – Ephesians 6:10-11
This week my small group started a new series on minor characters in the Old Testament. I have to say it’s been pretty interesting. There are so many characters in the Old Testament whose stories often get overlooked, liked Jephthah, one of Israel’s judges, or Rizpah, who defended the bodies of her slain family. The person I ended up researching though was Josiah, who ruled Jerusalem as King for thirty-one years. 2 Kings opens by saying Josiah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, a rare feat for most of Israel’s Kings, but then it shifts gears and talks about how Josiah discovered the long lost Book of Law in God’s temple.
After deciphering the book and realizing his people have turned away from God, Josiah went on a complete rampage. Just read the passage below,
"He did away with the pagan priests appointed by the kings of Judah to burn incense on the high places of the towns of Judah and on those around Jerusalem--those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and moon, to the constellations and to all the starry hosts. He took the Asherah pole from the temple of the LORD to the Kidron Valley outside Jerusalem and burned it there. He ground it to powder and scattered the dust over the graves of the common people. He also tore down the quarters of the male shrine prostitutes, which were in the temple of the LORD and where women did weaving for Asherah. Josiah brought all the priests from the towns of Judah and desecrated the high places, from Geba to Beersheba, where the priests had burned incense. He broke down the shrines at the gates--at the entrance to the Gate of Joshua, the city governor, which is on the left of the city gate.” - 2 Kings 23:5-9
My first impression on reading these passages was that Josiah over-reacted. It was great that he wanted to return his people to God, but burning everything in a ten mile radius seemed a little extreme. Then it hit me; that was the point. To God, Sin is a cancerous tumor that must be cut out of your lives completely. Maybe you’re a guy who’s fallen into the grip of pornography, or a girl who can’t stop putting others down through gossip.
We tell ourselves these things are just human weakness and they don’t mean anything, but God will never approve of our “guilty pleasures”. Christ’s grace has given us a way to battle Sin, and in this unseen war the winner takes all. So, if you’re ready to fight, remember to put on the Armor of God, and give the Devil no quarter.
Intersecting Faith and Life
Are you allowing yourself to compromise with sin? Consider how this is affecting your relationship with Christ.