Then the king [Josiah, 648-609 BC] defiled the high places that were east of Jerusalem, which were on the south of the Mount of Corruption, which Solomon king of Israel [who reigned from 970 to 931 BC] had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the people of Ammon.
2 Kings 23:13
This verse, which might easily be passed over with little or no thought is highly instructive. First, the circumstance: Josiah was one of the godliest kings Judah ever had. He led the nation in the greatest spiritual revival in the nation’s history. The Bible lists that many momentous changes Josiah made, including clearing the temple of all the pagan idols that had been set up there over the many years. Did you notice what you just read? Yes, the temple of the Lord was loaded with pagan idols!
Of particular note in the verse mentioned here (2 Kings 23:13), Josiah removed at least three pagan idols (Asheroth of the Sidonians, Chemosh of the Moabites, and Milcom of the Ammonites) from the temple of the Lord. The Bible notes that these were erected in the temple of the Lord clear back in the days of Solomon (over 320 years earlier). Two lessons from this:
First, you will remember that Solomon multiplied wives to himself—many of who were pagan. These pagan marriages led Solomon away from the Lord to serve false gods (1 Kings 11). These pagan wives and their spiritual influence did not end with the fall of Solomon. The false gods he erected in the Temple were still there over three hundred years later. When will the people of God stop becoming romantically involved with, and marrying non-believers? When will we stop thinking we know more than God in this matter, insisting that our situation is different? And when will we realize that the effects of this sin will last for generations?
Second, when will the people of God stop thinking it is alright to mix worldliness with worship? We do this because we love the world more than we realize, and because we want the world to like us. God’s Word is crystal clear (Deuteronomy 21) that we are not to worship the world’s false gods, nor are we to think it is okay to worship the true and living God in the manner in which the pagans worship their gods.
If there is to be a revival in the church today (and Heaven knows we need one!), among other changes that will have to take place will be to stop intermarrying with non-believers, and to stop desecrating the true worship of God, with worldliness.