What if you worship God, but other member’s of your family don’t? Today AMBrewster teaches Christian parents about the nature of Split Family Worship and starts the discussion about how to fix the problem.
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Welcome back to our Family Worship series.
Please listen to the first episode in this series to understand what I mean by Family Worship, and check out our previous episode to learn what Failed Worship is.
And with that foundation, we’ll be able to understand, identify, and address Split Worship in our families.
But before we jump into today’s show, my wife would like to remind you of a couple things:
First, I’d like to welcome you — especially if this is your first time with us. Truth.Love.Parent. is the number one iTunes podcast for Christian parents, and we’re so glad that we get to serve you and your family.
Second, I want to take a moment to thank Matt and Sonja for being faithful supporters of TLP. Their monthly gifts make it possible for us to fulfill our mission to glorify God by equipping Christians parents to be the moms and dads God called and created them to be.
And it’s also Matt and Sonja who are hosting our first-ever TLP Meetup in Dallas, Texas, in just a few days. On September 17th, 2018, you’re invited to meet Aaron and spend time discussing parenting. If you’d like to attend and you’re going to be in the Dallas area on that Monday, please email us at TeamTLP@TruthLoveParent.com to let us know you’re coming.
Lastly, Facebook has changed the way they do reviews. Before you could leave a star rating and write a review, but now you can leave a Recommendation. Here’s how it works:
Facebook hopes that Recommendations will increase TLP’s reach because recommendations will be discoverable across Facebook when people search for or talk about TLP.
The best part of this is that Facebook will show the first recommendations provided by each person’s closest friends. This should help create greater trust for people who haven’t met us yet.
You’ll also be able to post photos with your recommendations. This may not sound to applicable right now, but everyone who attends a TLP Meetup can post pictures off them with Aaron, and you can always post pictures of your family.
You can also add tags to your Facebook Recommendations. These tags will work like hashtags for TLP and make us easier to discover.
So, to recommend TLP on Facebook, all you have to do is go to our Facebook page and click “Reviews.” Then click “Yes” in the box that reads, “Do you recommend Truth.Love.Parent.?” You may also see that box on the main page.
Of course, it’s possible they’ve updated the way to do it by the time you hear this, but the point is . . . you should totally recommend TLP on Facebook.
Okay, time to talk about Split family Worship.
First, please understand that I’m not using the term “split family” to refer to families that are separated or are formed by the children from two previous families.
We’re talking about Family Worship in this series, and this particular form of Family Worship is Split.
What does this Split Worship look like in your home?
To find the answers we are going to go back to Kings and Chronicles.
Last time we learned that there were a bunch of Old Testament Jewish kings who set up High Places in Israel and encouraged the people to worship themselves there by practicing all sorts of idolatry.
And we understand that the imagery is easy to update to modern terms. Though we may not worship ourselves by practicing pagan religious rites to stone or wooden idols, we do worship ourselves by sacrificing things to our own glory instead of God’s.
But there were also six kings who refused to worship at the High Places.
In I Kings 15:14 and II Chronicles 15:17, we learn that — in Judah — Asa is called a good king because he removed the Asherah, idols, and sacred prostitutes but, unfortunately, he did not destroy the high places (I Kings 15:9-14; II Chronicles 15:17). Now according to II Chronicles 14:2-5, I do have to say that he may have initially destroyed them, but did not complete the task when they were rebuilt later.
Jehoshaphat was a man of God who followed the ways of David by seeking after God, but he also followed a pattern similar to Asa of initially removing the high places (IIChronicles 17:1-9) but not totally eliminating them from Judah (I Kings 22:43; II Chronicles 20:33).
This policy may have made it easier for his son Jehoram to build new high places which caused the people of Judah to worship other gods (II Chronicles 21:11).
The Judean kings Amaziah (II Kings 14:3-4), Uzziah (II Kings 15:3-4), Jotham (II Kings 15:34-35), Ahaz (II Kings 16:3-4), and Manasseh (II Kings 21:2-7) also allowed the people of Judah to continue worshiping at their high places even though they — themselves — didn’t participate. Of course, we see that though several of these kings were called good kings, their obedience was incomplete.
Consider the following verses:
Jehoshaphat “walked in all the way of Asa his father. He did not turn aside from it, doing what was right in the sight of the Lord. Yet the high places were not taken away, and the people still sacrificed and made offerings on the high places.” (I Kings 22:43)
“And Jehoash [Joash] did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all his days, because Jehoiada the priest instructed him. Nevertheless, the high places were not taken away; the people continued to sacrifice and make offerings on the high places.” (2 Kings 12:2-3)
Amaziah “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, yet not like David his father. He did in all things as Joash his father had done. But the high places were not removed; the people still sacrificed and made offerings on the high places.” (II Kings 14:4)
Azariah “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that his father Amaziah had done. Nevertheless, the high places were not taken away. The people still sacrificed and made offerings on the high places.” (II Kings 15:3-4)
“In the second year of Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, Jotham the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, began to reign. He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Jerusha the daughter of Zadok. And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that his father Uzziah had done. Nevertheless, the high places were not removed. The people still sacrificed and made offerings on the high places.” (II Kings 15:35)
1. It’s good to tear down the self-worship in your own life.
Each of the kings did what was right in the sight of the Lord.
There’s a tension in each of theses passages because it’s clear that these kings did right in their personal lives, and yet all of the passages make the point that the people kept sinning nevertheless — which definitely leaves us with the feeling that the kings could have done more.
And, I’m going to make the argument that they should have done more.
Here’s the takeaway: last time we talked about Failed Family Worship. If you want to start fixing the problem in your family, you must start with you.
Telling your kids to stop serving themselves for your own selfish benefit will never help anything.
Change must start with you.
And the good new is . . .
2. When you tear down your own self-worship, you make it easier for your family to tear down their’s.
Jehoshaphat “walked in all the way of Asa his father.”
Azariah did “according to all that his father Amaziah had done.”
Jotham did “according to all that his father Uzziah had done,” and his mother likely had a good influence on him as well as she’s named in this passage. And it’s also interesting to know that Zadok was the High Priest at the time, and Zadok was Jotham’s Grandfather.
Amaziah also “did in all things as Joash his father had done.” However, we need to note that it’s said of Amaziah that he didn’t do right as well as David had done, but only as well as his grandfather Joash had done.
This is merely a sobering reminder that it’s not a guarantee that our children will worship God when we do, but it’s a huge help.
But, my friends, I’m going to argue that refusing to visit the High Places yourself isn’t good enough.
3. You mustn't tolerate the self-worship in others.
Each of these kings allowed the people to continue worshipping at the High Places.
Because the kings didn’t do the hard work of tearing down the High Places, the people had free access to them.
And it’s also appropriate to assume that there weren’t nationwide laws in place concerning the High Places or consequences for the people who used them. Had that been the case, the High Places would have been torn down and people would have been afraid to use them.
But the mere fact that people continued sacrificing at the High Places, and the fact that everyone knew where they were, shows us that — with the exception of possibly Asa — these kings didn’t even try to influence the people’s Failed Worship.
And because of that, the nation had Split Worship — some of the people worshipped God and some of the people worshipped themselves via their High Places.
Now, it may be easy to say that, “It was the people’s decision. The kings had made their choice to side with God. We shouldn’t judge them too harshly.”
I agree that the kings made a personal choice not to blaspheme their Lord by sacrificing at the High Places, but my first observation is that their decision to not banish the High Places from the land was an example of their own self-worship.
I can’t say exactly what their motivation was, but it may have very well been fear of the people, fear of revolt, fear of unrest. By this point in Israel’s history there are already been massacres, overthrows, and coup attempts. These kings likely were playing it safe.
But the other observation I want to make is that . . .
4. Tolerating other’s self-worship is the same as encouraging them to worship themselves.
My friends, we have to acknowledge the reality that silence is acceptance.
When my children speak unkindly to each other in my presence, and I don’t address it, I’ve given tacit permission for them to continue.
You would completely expect a police officer to arrest someone if they killed another person in the officer’s presence. And if the officer did nothing about it, we would all assume the officer was either afraid or that he was okay with what happened.
And I know how easy it is to do this.
Each year I live with up to eight terrorists. I know the very real fear a parent can feel when it comes to addressing the sin of a kid who is unsubmissive.
That’s one of the biggest reason I wrote episode 37. It’s called “Parenting a Terrorist” and it flowed from my own personal conviction from reading God’s Word.
Because even if I don’t like what’s being done, when I say nothing, I’m giving permission for it to continue.
It’s just like Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Tolerating self-worship in your family members is the same as encouraging them to worship themselves.
Which is why . . .
5. We must not be content to allow our spouses or children to continue in their self-worship.
They’re worshipping an anti-god, and it will end in their destruction.
We need to love our family enough to do whatever it takes to protect them spiritually.
Now, you may be thinking that removing a physical High Place is not the same as removing self-worship from your children’s hearts. And I completely agree.
The metaphor is breaking down a little because true idolatry is not worshipping an idol, it’s worshipping self via the idol. And even if the idol is removed, self-worship can still continue.
So, please know that I acknowledge the difficulty, but we’re going to talk about that in more detail next time. For now, though, these verses do teach us that . . .
6. Our kids are going to need loving guidance to remove their self-worship.
Jehoshaphat, Amaziah, Azariah, and Jotham all had their dad’s, and clearly they were a good influence on their sons. Jotham also had his mom and grandfather. And I have to assume that it wasn’t a silent influence. They likely taught their sons to do things they didn’t expect of the people.
Jehoash was an interesting example because he was able to succeed because he listened to Jehoiada’s counsel. Jehoiada was the High Priest at the time, but he was also so much more.
Jehoash’s dad was one of the kings we discussed last time. Ahaziah was a wicked king who worshipped at the High Places, and his mother, Athaliah — an even more wicked woman — tried to kill all of the royal blood line so she could be queen. Not only did Jehoiada and his wife save Jehoash from physical destruction, but they reared him to love the Lord.
My point is that your children, left to themselves will naturally and easily worship themselves. They will talk and act and feel and desire and believe things in line with what feels good to them and “benefits” them in the sort term.
We all need spiritual people to be God’s Ambassador in our lives, to come alongside us, Educate us, Interpret life for us, Counsel us, and Train us.
We all need someone to introduce us to God and His Word, and that's how God designed the family to work. Romans 10:14 says, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?”
And that’s where we’re going to leave this discussion off today. There is still so much to say because Split Family Worship is going to end in destruction for those still worshipping self and pain for the rest of the family.
Next time I plan to talk about how to actively work to remove the High Places from your whole family, and I’m really excited about sharing that with you.
Please pray for me, today and tomorrow I have the opportunity to preach at Camp Chetek. I love preaching to teens, especially when I have the chance to present The Merest Christianity.
And if you’d be interested in having me speak to your church group, camp, family conference, or parent workshop, all you have to do is send your request to TeamTLP@TruthLoveParent.com or fill out the speaker form at TruthLoveParent.com.
Please also share this episode and check out the episode notes at Taking Back the Family.
Split Family Worship is generally the first step as you work away from Failed Family Worship. It’s going to need to start with you, but there is hope to help your kids tear down the High Places in their lives as well.
So to that end, I’ll see you next time.
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