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Life Issues

 

Thanks for coming back to Part 2 of our walk together as we examine the life and times (and changes) of King Asa. Our source of information is 2 Chronicles, chapters 14, 15, 16.

"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 the king. So, what was it that he did which was good and pleasing to the Lord?

a. He 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.

b. He 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 considered to be responsible for wealth, health and success. They competed with the Lord God for the hearts of the people.

c. He 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. Luke 11/23-26 speaks directly to this matter of a vacuum and the danger of leaving one's heart "empty" of spiritual allegiance.

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.

That's all well and good. But I don't have an Asherah pole in my back yard. Nor, I suspect, do you? So what might be the cultural equivalent for us in the 21st century? Maybe we can begin to find a reasonable comparison by asking another question. To whom or what do we attribute the power to make us healthy, wealthy and wise i.e. to make us a success? 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? Religion and rule-keeping? 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.

Social status and prestige is another Asherah that deludes people into thinking that such recognition is worth pursuing.

Am I 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 get rid of are the lies, deceit and claims that accumulate around these modern-day Asherah poles i.e. that they are the way to true fulfilment and, as such, they compete with the one true way to fulfilment, the Living, Almighty God.

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.

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