We Saw A High Place! Study No. 89

High in Wyoming's Big Horn Mountains, on a peak well over 10,000 feet in elevation, is the mysterious remnant of long-gone Indian culture called Medicine Wheel. The "wheel" is made of irregularly shaped, flat, white stones placed in a circle 245 feet in circumference, with 28 spokes and seven round stone altars, one of which is in the center of the wheel. This rock place of worship was ancient when first discovered by a white man in 1776. Astronomer John Eddy says it could have been used to determine the day of the summer solstice. Indians still come to Medicine Wheel to perform sacrificial fire rites.

For us, Medicine Wheel appears to be similar to the "high places" mentioned repeatedly in the Old Testament. Those who rebelled against their Maker offered sacrifices on every high hill. The view from Medicine Wheel is inspiring. It should cause men to praise their Maker instead of engage in idolatry.

"High place" is the Hebrew word bahmah, Strong's #1116. Time and again Israel built high places. And sadly, time after time, even righteous kings did not remove the high places.

The tabernacle was, for a time, at a high place at Gibeon, I Chronicles 16:39, 21:29, II Chronicles 1:3, 13. King Solomon built idolatrous high places for his wives, I Kings 11:1-10. Jeroboam of northern Israel built a house of high places and ordained a false feast, I Kings 12:25-33, 13:33-34, II Chronicles 11:14-15. His competitor in Judah, Solomon's son Rehoboam, built high places and allowed sodomites, I Kings 14:21-24. All of the kings of Israel were evil, following in the sins of Jeroboam. King Asa of Judah did right, except he did not remove all the high places, I Kings 15:11-14, II Chronicles 14:1-5, 15:17. His son Jehoshaphat did the same thing, I Kings 22:42-43, II Chronicles 17:6, 20:33. Jehoram, Jehoshaphat's son, built high places, II Chronicles 21:11. A line of kings of Judah did right, BUT like Asa and Jehoshaphat, did not remove the high places: Jehoash, II Kings 12:1-3; his son Amaziah, II Kings 14:1-4; Amaziah's son Uzziah (Azariah), II Kings 15:1-4; and Uzziah's son Jotham, II Kings 15:32-35. This was a history of almost following the Almighty all the way. It was too much to remove the high places.

Jotham's son Ahaz went the evil way of the kings of Israel, sacrificing at high places and even sacrificing his own son, II Kings 16:1-4, II Chronicles 28:1-4, 25. During this time the northern nation of Israel was taken captive by the Assyrians because of their idolatry and high places, II Kings 17:6-41. It was not until King Hezekiah, son of Ahaz, that someone had the gumption to remove the high places, II Kings 18:1-4, 22, II Chronicles 31:1, 32:12, as Judah and some of the remnant of Israel returned to the Eternal. But then Hezekiah's wicked son Manasseh built up again the high places, and engaged in gross idolatry, as did his son Amon, II Kings 21:1-9, II Chronicles 33:1-3. Even when Manasseh repented in captivity and worshipped God, his people still used the high places, but in sacrifices to the LORD, II Chronicles 33:15-19.

Again someone stood up for the truth, as righteous King Josiah instituted another revival and eliminated the high places and all idolatry, II Kings 23:4-25, II Chronicles 34:3. But not many years after Josiah's death, evil kings and idolatry of the people, caused the Eternal to allow the Babylonians to take Judah captive, Psalms 78:58, Jeremiah 7:30-31, 17:1-4, 19:1-15, 32:28-35, Ezekiel 6:1-10, 16:15-16, 43:7, Micah 1:5.

High places are hard to remove, easy to rebuild. Let us remove all our "high places," get rid of all our idols and false concepts, and get back to the faith once delivered. W