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LIFE ISSUES

Although victory was theirs and the immediate threat from external forces had, for now, been thwarted, Asa now begins to address some of the internal issues; issues that, left unchecked, could begin to undermine the position that had been granted to them by the Lord.

Victory over an external enemy who is visible, recognised and confronted is one thing. But to identify negative forces that are more subtle in their presentation is quite another. Rarely does our enemy confront us head on. No, he knows how to wait for the right time, the right opportunity.

As a Pastor I have often said to people that if things at home are strong and secure, I can handle just about anything in the wider areas beyond. But if things at home are a little shaky, insecure etc. then the slightest breeze can blow me over. I think Asa knew that principle as he brings in reforms. A nation that is strong and secure internally is most likely to cope with troubles externally.

With evangelistic zeal Asa removed all the idols in the land. Wait just a minute! Hadn't he already done that (14/3)? True, but removing idols is like painting the Sydney Harbour Bridge; it never ends because when they finish at one end they start all over again. Idols are like that. They keep seeking a place in the human heart and therefore removing them is a never-ending crusade. Concurrent with that removal came the repairing of the Altar of the Lord which, presumably, fell into disuse in favour of the idols.

What a celebration flowed from this renewal or revival.!! Seeking the Lord became a passion for the people. They entered into a Covenant with all their heart and soul. As with all such powerful movements, there were the inevitable excesses (v.13).

The purging of idolatry from the nation reached even into Asa's own family network when his own grandmother was deposed as the Queen Mother because she had made an Asherah pole

But then comes this two-fold statement:

Although the pagan shrines were not completely removed from Israel, Asa remained fully committed to the LORD throughout his life. (2 Chron 15:17)

I wonder if we might not have our first clue towards an answer to the question that started us on this journey: "What happened to change Asa's life and impact his later years?" In fact, the statement above seems to harbour a contradiction. On the one hand Asa remained fully committed to the Lord throughout his life. On the other hand, the pagan shrines were not completely removed from Israel. The remainder of his story would suggest that he did not remain fully committed.

What do you think? Did he remain fully committed to the Lord or not? Did he finish well or not? Certainly  his life did not end in ignominy and rebellion but we are about to find out that Asa was "distant with God".

We will need to take this further in Part 6 of "Finishing Well" because we are now about to enter a 20 year period of silence.

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