The book of 2 Chronicles has much to teach us about God’s attitude towards idols.
And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God: For he took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves: 2 Chronicles 14:2-3
There even came a point where Asa had to remove his own mother from her position as Queen because she had made an idol in a grove.
|An example of idols set up in a grove|
Now in reading through 2 Chronicles I struggled a bit when I read the passage just before vs.16.
King Asa and all of Judah enters into a covenant to seek the Lord God with all of their heart and soul…and then they swear an oath to kill anyone who would not also do so, man woman or child. That oath seemed very extreme to me, and I am glad that God no longer requires his people to do that in order to set up a Godly kingdom…
2 Chronicles 15:12-13 And they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul; That whosoever would not seek the Lord God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.
But as I continued reading, I could not forget about that verse even though my first instinct was to allow my eyes to just skim over that passage as though it were not even there…but something made me revisit it…and stop and ask God to reveal to me what was happening at that time when King Asa made such an oath. God’s Word revealed to me, that before Christ came to establish a new covenant with His followers, the Jewish kings had to conquer countries and purify and establish temples of God and in order to do so, they had to remove anything that would defile the people that God had chosen to live in the land. This was all because of the sin of worshipping a false god. These people who did so were lost to God, and were already dead. Their countries were bloodied with continual wars and their belief in their false gods were making them do detestable things against the one true God and against His people. This continues in much of the world still today. Read on to see why…
Asa was in the business of ridding the country of all the false idols and people who were in opposition to worshipping the one true God, and was rewarded for it by not having any more war for thirty five years! It wasn’t until Asa’s thirty sixth year as king of Judah, when he began to trust in the alliance he made with Syria, instead of placing his trust in God…his foolishness was rewarded with war and with sickness…Here is Matthew Henry’s commentary on the fate of King Asa as described in Chapter 16…
Asa seeks the aid of the Syrians, His death. A plain and faithful reproof was given to Asa by a prophet of the Lord, for making a league with Syria. God is displeased when he is distrusted, and when an arm of flesh is relied on, more than his power and goodness. It is foolish to lean on a broken reed, when we have the Rock of ages to rely upon. To convince Asa of his folly, the prophet shows that he, of all men, had no reason to distrust God, who had found him such a powerful Helper. The many experiences we have had of the goodness of God to us, aggravate our distrust of him. But see how deceitful our hearts are! we trust in God when we have nothing else to trust to, when need drives us to him; but when we have other things to stay on, we are apt to depend too much on them. Observe Asa's displeasure at this reproof. What is man, when God leaves him to himself! He that abused his power for persecuting God's prophet, was left to himself, to abuse it further for crushing his own subjects. Two years before he died, Asa was diseased in his feet. Making use of physicians was his duty; but trusting to them, and expecting that from them which was to be had from God only, were his sin and folly. In all conflicts and sufferings we need especially to look to our own hearts, that they may be perfect towards God, by faith, patience, and obedience
The world is still in the throes of bloody wars, and people are blaming God for everything that is happening around the globe. But 2 Chronicles 7:14 says it all:
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
I understand better now the reasons for so much bloodshed in order for Godly kingdoms to have been established upon the earth in the old testament times. And now I can better appreciate the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit given to each of God’s people because of their faith in Jesus Christ today. We have the Kingdom of God within us. We are still called to love the Lord God with all our heart and soul by keeping our lives pure and undefiled. We must still avoid worshiping false idols. These idols are anything we place importance on more than, or instead of God. (Believers sometimes still do this, and then wonder why God does not answer their prayers!)
Ezekiel 8:16-18And he brought me into the inner court of the Lord's house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east. Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose. Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them.
James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Thank God, the only one the Lord requires us to put to death now is the old man. (our old sinful nature). Someday we will live in the Kingdom of God in heaven, but for now His kingdom (Jesus) lives within us.