5. Freedom from Hidden Sins: 1&2 Kings
Confession is the necessary step toward freedom from your sin’s power and shame.
And the sons of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he committed; they did not desist from them until the Lord removed Israel from His sight, just as He had spoken through all His servants the prophets. So Israel went into exile from their own land to Assyria until this day. -2 Kings 17:22-23
Have you ever looked up and wondered, “How did I get so far down this path?” Maybe it was with an unhealthy relationship, a struggle with anger, or an addiction of some kind. When we first start down a bad path, we’re often aware of the choices we’re making; but, the more we continue, the more we grow numb to our actions. We stop registering the warning flags.
This is the type of behavioral pattern we see in Israel’s King Solomon. King Solomon ascends the throne of Israel after his father King David dies. Things begin well with Solomon. He is a wise king who takes on the task of building God’s temple. But as he slowly slides away from God, it’s not long before Solomon is in a bad place: he’s married hundreds of women from different countries; he’s introduced the worship of their gods to Israel; and he’s consumed with success and excess.
After Solomon’s reign, Israel ends up splitting into two nations, Northern Israel and Southern Judah, and the pattern of bad kingship in both entities continues for the most part. The people aren’t much different from their leadership: the Israelites engage in idolatry and false worship, breaking their covenant with God to love and worship him alone.
Two prophets named Elijah and Elisha are commissioned by God to speak on his behalf and challenge Israel to repent and return to God. The prophets work many miracles to display the power of the one true God and to expose the fraudulence of the false gods. But despite their signs and warnings, the prophets are ultimately unable to keep Israel from abandoning God. God’s people experience the consequences of their sin and the unimaginable happens: Israel is invaded and God’s people are exiled from God’s land.
God had promised to establish his everlasting kingdom through Israel, and while things feel hopeless at this point in their history, God will not abandon this commitment. After a set amount of time, God will bring his people back from exile. But this is not the ultimate rescue.
Many years later, God sent Jesus as the promised King out of Israel. Like the prophets Elijah and Elisha, Jesus warned people of the effects of their sin and the reality of God’s judgment. But unlike the prophets, Jesus provided a remedy in light of this judgment. Because Jesus took on the judgment that humanity’s sin deserved and died for us on the cross, those who believe in him have the guarantee that they will never face God’s judgment! Christ’s sacrifice covers all their sins.
This means you will never be exiled from, or cut off from, God’s presence. If you are in Christ, your failure is always met with forgiveness. This assurance liberates you to take your sins to God. And this confession is the necessary step toward freedom from your sin’s power and shame!
King Solomon and the Israelites gradually turned before they found themselves in full-fledged idol worship. Sin works like that: it starts in little ways before manifesting itself in bigger ones. So, in order to confess our sin before it presents itself in bigger, more destructive ways, we have to practice self-awareness.
It’s not always easy to come to terms with the sin the Holy Spirit reveals to us, but it is in the place of desperation and helplessness that we find a deeper fellowship with Jesus! Confessing our sin is the pathway to restoration. When we are honest with ourselves, with God and with others, we walk into a deeper experience of God’s love. Grace becomes less of a believed theory and more of a felt reality.
RESPOND: Assured that Jesus has taken on the judgment for your sin, take a moment to reflect on and confess any hidden sins in your heart to God.