Barnabas Network International | Online Resources for Churches

Home

Study Series:                         FINISHING WELL                                                Session No. 2

Bible Reading:  2 Chronicles 14/1-8

Introduction 

It's good to welcome you to Session 2 as we examine the life and times (and changes) of King Asa. Our source of information is 2 Chronicles, chapters 14, 15, 16.   Before we launch into this session, share together one insight or question that emerged for you out of Session No. 1. Why is that significant for you?

(1)  "Asa did what was good and pleasing in the eyes of the Lord". (14/2)

This is the summary statement of the beginning of Asa's reign. The early years proved to be very significant for the whole nation under the leadership of this king. So, what was it that he did which was good and pleasing to the Lord?

a. Asa removed the foreign altars and the pagan shrines. Asa set about getting rid of every vestige of false religion because every rival of the true God had to go. Jesus taught that it is not possible to serve two masters (Matthew 6/24)

b. Asa smashed the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah poles. These objects called Asherah poles seem to have been particularly associated with fertility rites which involved religious prostitution. They were prolific in number and were believed by the people to be responsible for wealth, health and success. They competed with the Lord God for the hearts of the people.

c. Asa commanded the people of Judah to seek the Lord and to obey His law and His commands. Getting rid of the false rival was not enough. That exercise left a vacuum. The hearts of the people needed to be focused on the Lord God alone. Jesus speaks directly to this matter of a vacuum and the danger of leaving one's heart "empty" of spiritual allegiance. (Read Luke 11/14-21).

d. He removed the pagan shrines as well as the incense altars from every one of Judah's towns. There were to be no exceptions. Every shrine, every altar was to be removed from every town in Judah.

INTERACTION:  But most of us don't have an Asherah pole in our back yard (!) so what might be the cultural or social  equivalent for us in the 21st century?  Maybe we can begin to find a reasonable comparison by asking another question or two.

a. To whom or what do we attribute the power to make us healthy, wealthy and wise i.e. to make us a success?

b. What is it in our generation that attracts legions of followers because it promises to fulfil all our needs?

*Education?            *Money & Possessions?           *Sexual Hedonism?             *Drug Culture?                             *Social Recognition & Significance?         *Status and prestige?           *Religion and rule-keeping?   

Could these be our modern day "Asherah Poles"? Certainly there are many who believe that if we could just educate ourselves, then all the evil in our world would be removed and a new day of peace would dawn. Get rid of ignorance and all will be well.

Then there are many who worship 'the mighty dollar god' in anticipation that 'more is desirable' and 'greed is good'. Without question there are huge followings after the gods of sexuality and the hedonistic lifestyle and this is often accompanied by the pursuit of drug-induced unreality.

Are we saying that we ought to get rid of education? NO!   Maybe we should dispose of all our money and possessions? NO!

What we need to expose are the lies, deceit and false claims that accumulate around these modern-day Asherah poles i.e. claims that they are the way to true fulfilment. They compete with the one true way to fulfilment -  the Living, Almighty God.

INTERACTION.  Pause a moment and monitor how your group feels about these aspects of 21st century living and life-style. What other aspects would you add to the list above? What impresses you ....concerns you ....puzzles you about Asa?

King Asa is to be commended for his decisive initiative. The outcome of his cleansing process was peace in the land. When we get rid of the Asherah poles in our lives, the result is peace in our hearts.

NEXT SESSION:

In preparation for session No.3, you could read the remaining verses in chapter 14, vs.9-15. Our focus will be on the prayer of Asa in the face of threat and danger. I would encourage you to read the passage a few times - everyday, in fact, because it gives us an insight into Asa's heart in these early years and it will become a key to understanding what happened in the latter years of this man's life.

FOOTNOTE:  Not only do I hope that you and I will "finish well" whenever our time here on earth is concerned, I hope we will finish each of these study sessions well! One way to encourage that is for us to ask two questions at the end of each session

a) What am I supposed to KNOW (learn) from this session?

 

 

 

 

b) What am I supposed to DO as a result of this session that is a practical application?

 

 

 

Download free ministry resources.
give us your feedback.