PRINCE HARRY BOUGHT IT. WHAT HAPPENS IN THE HIGH PLACES, STAYS IN THE HIGH PLACES. If you believe that I have some prime Florida real estate I'd like to sell you situated right in the midst of the beautiful Everglades! Water front lots; safe for children and pets. 2nd Chronicles 15; Exodus 32

Attention!  Let all the people of the world listen!  The Sovereign Lord has made accusations against you; the Lord speaks from His holy Temple.  Look!  The Lord is coming!  He leaves His throne in heaven and comes to earth, walking on the high places.  They melt beneath His feet and flow into the valleys like wax in a fire, like water pouring down a hill (Vision of  the Prophet Micah - Micah 1: 2-4). 

Since everything around us is going to melt away, what holy, godly lives you should be living!
2nd Peter 3: 11

Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 
(1st Corinthians 3: 16).

Unless God sends us to minister, there are just some places Christians should not be.  Seeking entertainment many go there anyway.  When was the last time you heard anyone in church say, "We're going to Las Vegas for a lot of drinking, to see a few shows that celebrate debauchery and raw humor.  We want to support an institution that plunges children into poverty and adults into addiction because in the current way of looking at consequences we are not our brothers keeper.  Oh, and while I'm there, I just might jump into the cesspools of other potential addictions because what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas and I don't want to miss anything the seedy side of life may offer."        

Mad at me yet?  Think I'm being a little sanctimonious?   
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves (2nd Corinthians 4: 7).   

People were entertained somewhat differently in former centuries than this current age.  They didn't have television and couldn't hop an airplane to Babylon.  Much of life revolved around a rural culture. There was no Disney World with a Harry Potter exhibit that preternaturally passed off witchcraft and sorcery to the next generation.  But there were places that lured people into all kinds  of pagan practice; some appearing harmless enough at the outset. Proverbs has a lot to say about this and and we read of nations and cities utterly destroyed because of what they became.  

Just as prostitution is legal in some parts of our country so there were pagan temples where prostitution was elevated to religious status with a false veneer of respectability.  This assisted people in justifying what they knew in their heart was wrong.  The same principal is true today.  As far as we know they didn't have aides back then.  But, leprosy and parasites were common.  Worms were transmitted via sexual intercourse and one ancient text gave specific instruction on how to check a prostitute before purchasing services so that one would not succumb to such a horrible death.   Herod was a man who considered himself above consequence.  When a desperate people cried out to him for food and peace they fawned over his status by calling him a god.  Herod was so out of touch with his humanity, his fragile existence and dependence on the sovereign God of the universe that he received this as his due.  Just like Herod, some people become physically sick as a judgment of God because they do not recognize their need for God.   The people kept crying out, "The voice of a god and not a man!  And immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died (Acts 12: 22, 23).

There was a high degree of temptation to visit the forbidden high places.  This is where pagan worship took place and this was the secret entertainment of the day which provided distraction from the norm of every day life, as easy to rationalize as a trip to Vegas.  It's so often the case that a corporate acceptance of sin leads to that behavior being accepted as normal until people are no longer ashamed of certain choices which demean their identity in Christ.  If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire (1st Corinthians 3: 15).  I think what this little quoted verse is saying is that a person who is saved and has eternal life, but has not lived for Christ as divinely called and intended... this person will witness the destruction of useless endeavors and have little to show for the precious life in Christ they were given; walk in wisdom, redeeming the time.   

At these old testament high places, where demons were worshiped, there were many opportunities to indulge sexual sin, to get rid of an unwanted child, to have a preternatural "experience" and let it substitute for the real thing.  Since nothing is new under the sun Old Testament people might have even bantered about the phrase: what happens in the high places stays in the high places; away from the eye of censure and the risk of feeling remorse about what transpired in those places.  Because... everyone does it. 

Many Old Testament kings endorsed the high places and worshiped the idols ensconced there along with the people.  For some it was a way to occupy the populace and keep them under control.  Additionally spells could be purchased and curses unleashed and no one doubted that these idols had a power behind the throne of those detestable practices.  And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy mixed with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh (Jude 22).   And so... hidden information could be sought, giving demons a chance to speak for and derail the blessings of God through those that practised the dark arts.  And all this, via choice.  Do we draw any parallels here?  Do we understand that in those places where demonic activity is prevalent and sin abounds that people come away contaminated.  Not only hearts and minds, but the very clothing that is worn.  And nothing, not even a little bleach thrown into the wash gets rid of that demonic imprint that is now carried home.   

Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron and said to him, "Come, make us a god who will be before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him (Exodus 32: 1). 

What stands out to me is first of all the very obvious.  The people were tired of waiting.  They were restless and if the promised supernatural signs and wonders didn't happen soon they would give into the temptation of taking matters into their own hands and they would manufacture it.  They had primed themselves to be entertained and felt entitled to entertainment in the worlds construct as opposed to the godly construct.  This lust was not going to be appeased in waiting upon Jehovah-God since at heart they were not open to receiving the knowledge and wisdom that Yahweh wanted to impart to His chosen people.

As the people complained we read that their behavior grew to the place where it was "out of control."  Now when Moses saw that the people were out of control - for Aaron had let them get out of control... (Exodus 32: 25a). It was left to Aaron to stand up and speak out against what was happening.  Aaron was first the passive facilitator and then as much a perpetrator as everyone else. When confronted by Moses upon his return, Aaron  deflected responsibility and blamed those people he was charged with protecting.  Aaron said, "Do not let the anger of my lord burn; you know the people yourself, that they are prone to evil (Exodus 32: 22).  

Moses then stood in the gate and offered the people a choice.  And for all who are not retarded or infirm we are held responsible for our choices; the ultimate precious dignity of a God ordained destiny founded on freedom and liberty; the right to self determine a course of action.  ...then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, "Whoever is for the Lord, come to me! (Exodus 32: 26).  Three thousand people died that day because a sovereign, righteous God allowed them to make the wrong choice. 

The phrase: make us a god who...  Unlike us, people living in this age were very aware of the unseen world.  A substitute preternatural connection with any old who seemed just as good to them as the promised revealing and instruction from the Holy and Righteous God... A God that could only be had on His terms.  This was an unfamiliar impasse to a people who had forgotten their Hebrew history as the chosen people from whom the Messiah would eventually come.   

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  So do not be attracted by strange, new ideas.  Your spiritual strength comes from God's special favor (Hebrews 13: 8, 9a). 

The People then assembled around Aaron, a new leader who could be persuaded to meet their demands.  Aaron gave into this social pressure and provided the demanded/requested entertainment.  This came in the form of an orgy, nudity and revelry; even violence which they were willing to partner in via the very specific exchange of currency.  Aaron said to them, "Tear off the gold rings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me."  Then all the people tore off the gold rings which were in their ears and brought them to Aaron.  He took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, "This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt (Exodus 32: 2-4). 

This was a pivotal juncture in a continuing battle for the loyalty, hearts, minds, and souls of human beings (Potential Holy Spirit Carriers).  This was such an important juncture that God inspired his Prophet to write about it and then preserved this record down through the ages for us today.

At this moment in the history of planet earth, God's army of angels, perhaps lead by Michael the Archangel, would have been present and poised for a clash in the unseen realm all about the earthly trappings of the golden calf idol and the people who allowed this pagan travesty.  But it is not the job of Angels to do our thinking for us.  God gave us free will.  Demons would have been deployed in huge numbers also; all focused on this place and these people awaiting Moses return with many absorbed into the paganism of satanic worship which would have been modeled for them in Egypt.  The people had learned to combine the paganism of this culture with the Hebrew history of their ancestors.  In this equation they forgot the one true God; Yahweh.  In heaven the angels prayed, "Amen!  Blessing and Glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to our God forever and ever (Revelation 7: 12).   

In all satanic action there is the inverse in the pale substitute and defilement of what is godly.  The people had erected an idol and all idols, whatever form they take, remove one from God.  People erect these idols wherever God is shut out and in Exodus chapter 32 God is being shut out. 

Why this choice?  Idols can be anything.  Wealth, computer games, crack-cocaine, pornography,  youth fixation, a history or standing in the community, power over others etc.  Wherever idols exist a door is open to erecting an altar which represents an enmeshment with that idol.  Idols, which of themselves are nothing, become the embodiment of demons.  Demonic-spirit-implants work to subordinate the ability of mankind to make healthy choices and if one happens to be a Christian... connection with God is broken and we are sinning; not operating within His will for us.   

Whatever is running your life, interrupting your prayer life, or separating you from what is healthy here is the solution God showed Moses. First God descended from the cloud to be near Moses.  He is a personal God who loves us.  The Lord descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon the name of the Lord (Exodus 34: 5). 

 Today we are under a new covenant and God actually enters our hearts, lives within us, via the person of Jesus Christ; the Holy Spirit.  No matter your circumstances, no matter your sin, call on Jesus in grief and sincerity and in powerful significance, personal and intimate, Jesus Christ will draw near to you.  Read 1st John 1: 9.   Submit therefore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you (James 4: 7-10).  A beautiful example of this process of forgiveness and restoration is very personally shared by King David in Psalm 51.  David had committed sins of murder and adultery, but his greatest sin was in failing to recognize his wrong doing until it was pointed out by Nathan, the prophet.  This dramatic account is recorded in 2nd Samuel, chapters 11 and 12. 

When Jesus was censored by the religious elite of his day for hanging out with (drawing near to) sinners he said:  "It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance"  (Luke 5: 31).   

And for those who do pray to receive Christ.  Therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8: 1, 2).  Evidence of this being real is that there is, in this new born again life, washed clean, a radical heart and mind change that causes one to revolt against all former entrapment's.  If this change is not evident, if one cannot be convicted to change, consider that salvation is not real and go back to the beginning.  On your knees, confessing sin and proclaiming Christ as King; asking Him to draw near...  Read: John 3: 16; Romans 10: 9-13.

Just as the people, newly rescued from slavery in Egypt were at a pivotal juncture in personal and world history so are we today.  According to the Hebrew calendar we are in the year 5772 or 2012.  All through the new testament we are told to live as though Christ's return could happen any minute.  So think clearly and exercise self-control.  Look forward to the special blessings that will come to you at the return of Jesus Christ.  Obey God because you are His children.  Don't slip back into old ways of doing evil; you didn't know any better then.  But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God - who chose you to be His children - is holy.  For He Himself has said, "You must be holy because I am holy" (1st Peter 1: 13-16). 

So what part of a visit to the casino or wherever your high place is... because you feel entitled to entertainment, is holy? 

If you feel offended or defensive consider that this may be the Holy Spirit speaking to that yet tender place of your soul.  God wants us to be sensitive to sin; to know ourselves.  Jesus wants to heal the scars and consequences of destructive habits that have resulted in terrible loss.  It is never too late and no sin so great that God can't forgive.  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.  As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us (Psalm 103: 11, 12).  Read the entire psalm 103.  Also Psalm 51. 

When we are joyful and rightly entertained there is no need to escape to a falsely elevated high place that supplants God in our hearts.  In Exodus 32 we see a desire to disengage from identity as a child of God in order to appease the flesh part of man, to appease boredom, restlessness, and disappointment.  For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace... (Romans 8: 7).  Then we see the false substitute in building a false god.  And who do we imagine this false god, referred to as a who is.  It is a satanically deployed and empowered demon or demons.  Now we read: Now when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation and said, "Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord."  (Exodus 32: 5).  By choice Aaron built this altar for the people and by choice he proclaimed a feast to demons.   

Now we jump forward in history.  During King Asa's reign the Hebrew people had forgotten God.  A prophet was deployed to challenge Asa to rid his land of demonic infiltration by demons and the worship of satanic idols which separated the people from Jehovah-God.   This is a very personal story since Asa was not only moved by the Spirit of God to do this corporately, but he also responded personally.  Sometimes, in embracing Christ, we make the decision to separate from people that represent a temptation to fall back into old patterns.  For Asa this threat came from his mother who was not willing to give up her idols (secret sins); those high places where demons were given a foothold and worshipped.  King Asa... also removed Maacah, the mother of King Asa, from the position of queen mother, because she had made a horrid image as an Asherah, and Asa cut down her horrid image, crushed it and burned it at the brook of Kidron (2nd Chronicles 15: 16).   

The choice to tear down corporate and personal high places, destroying all association with them was made very clear to Asa.  By example it should be clear to us.  Now the Spirit of God came on Azariah the son of Oded, and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, "Listen to me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: the Lord is with you when you are with Him.  And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you (2nd Chronicles 15: 1, 2). 

During the start of Asa's reign, the mess he inherited, a corporate turning away from God had resulted in... Israel was without the true God and without a teaching priest and without law.  But in their distress they turned to the Lord God of Israel, and they sought Him, and He let them find Him. 

Yeah!  Why were they moved to call out for the true God?  We read in 2nd Chronicles chapter 15 that there was no peace.  When king Asa came to the throne nation was crushed by nation, and city by city, for God troubled them with every kind of distress, but Asa was told to clean up his land and his home of all that was false.  Many homes today are without peace.  God said to Asa, as he says to us, "But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is a reward for your work" (2nd Chronicles 15: 7). 

What work?  One of many applications from, 2nd Chronicles 15 is this.  You may be called like King Asa to bring change and reform to your heart, your home, work and those periods of recreation. Clean the personal house (God's temple) and then those areas over which God has given you authority will begin to take shape.  This immediate authority is currently in your sphere of influence so look around.  If you are not involved with a believing church time to seek out and be part of the body of Christ.  Do not substitute television for church; and I'm not talking about the dead institutional church, but a place were Christ is truly worshiped.  All of us need to grow in love and fellowship in the company of other believers.   Ask: "Where can I bring reform and change; what is it God is speaking to my heart right now?"  Change usually begins internally, with us and yet, we need each other.

After a time you may look about and ask for more territory... a mission field.  I know someone who feels God has told her that her grandchildren are her mission field.  Another told me it was her mission field to be an intercessor.  Along with her family she is called to pray faithfully for Israel and against the crime in her city of Memphis, TN.  She prays specifically for the new federal gang task force that has been formed.  Another has a small business in an area of town where prostitutes and drugs are sold.  He sees them as he drives out the gated doors coming and going from work.  He feels a great burden to pray for what he sees and the people he sees and now volunteers at a homeless mission.

After taking stock of the immediate changes and reforms that need to be walked out you'll get to a place where in joy and reverence you'll ask Jesus for more.  Jabez did this.  Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, "Oh, that You  would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!" (1st Chronicles 4: 10).  
What was the outcome of Asa being obedient to Jehovah-God?  Oh!  This is so wonderful!  And there was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of Asa's reign (2nd Chronicles 15: 19).  Don't we all want an end to personal hardship, conflict, and in the broader context of our towns, cities, countries?

Where are those high and hidden places that need to be torn down?  What pagan practices are you partnering in via the exchange of currency... monetary and emotional.  How are you spending the currency of time; stealing from those you love or those you should be serving?  It begins with prayer.  And if we feel inadequate to pray, not to worry.  Just begin; let go and let God.  And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weaknesses; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God (Romans 8: 26, 27).

Lastly there is no sin so great that God cannot forgive.  What satan means for evil God transforms for good.  And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8: 28). 

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude (Colossians 2: 6,7).

Also Colossians 3: 5-17  

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