Until we recognize what sin is, we cannot recognize the priceless value of the treasure of salvation. – Russell Roseberry
6 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. Psalm 51:6 (NKJV)
King Asa ruled over Judah for forty-one years, a member of the line of David in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Like all other people, he was not perfect. He could follow God closely on one occasion, and on another, act like God was not even there or at least not sufficiently present or powerful enough to help him solve the problems of the day. Does this sound familiar? It does to me.
But King Asa loved the Lord. He recognized the importance of devotion to God as well as his role in leading the people of Judah back to worship Him.
Israel, including Judah, was a unique nation, formed by the Lord to be His special Light to the world. They were God’s testimony to His eternal love, power, and forgiveness. There was no separation of church and state in Biblical Israel – they were God’s unique instrument to reach out to the ends of the earth to bring the good news of a coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, who will one day reign with justice and mercy over all people who seek His salvation.
And God approved of the actions of King Asa:
2 Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God, 3 for he removed the altars of the foreign gods and the high places, and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the wooden images. 4 He commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers, and to observe the law and the commandment. 5 He also removed the high places and the incense altars from all the cities of Judah, and the kingdom was quiet under him. 2 Chronicles 14:2-5 (NKJV)
King Asa recognized the sin of himself and his nation. Sin is a rejection of God and His ways, and a pursuit of the selfish desires of our inner heart. These desires and lusts run contrary to God’s love for each one of us, and often result in harm to others. They can also set up stumbling blocks which make it harder for others to seek the Lord.
Israel and Judah were worshipping many foreign gods that were in the land from the surrounding or preceding nations. The primary ones were Baal and Asherah – under their wooden idols and poles, these gods hid a demonic core. Their “worship” appealed to the selfish desires of the flesh. Evidence of their demonic existence still pervades and misleads the world into various forms of idol worship today. (See the previous meditation, “Chasing Idols”, for a look at these).
When King Asa recognized these spiritual cancers for what they really were, he boldly acted to remove them from the land. This was not a popular action in the eyes of many people, but God was pleased. His cleansing also preserved the land from ultimate destruction, as God would not permit idol worship to go on in His land forever.
What about us today? Do we recognize when our inner desires have been leading us on a path away from God and towards the harmful idols of the world? We are often blind to the destructive nature of our actions until we begin to experience divine consequences – consequences not being permitted for our punishment, but to open our eyes to what we are actually doing.
King David experienced this recognition when a prophet confronted him about his sinful actions with Bathsheba, which had destroyed her marriage and resulted in her husband Uriah’s death. David recorded it in his deeply felt prayer, found in Psalm 51:
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart— these, O God, You will not despise. Psalm 51:10,17 (NKJV)
When we recognize our sin, we can take it directly to God to receive the precious gift of forgiveness, healing, and complete restoration. These blessings come to us because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who bore the sins of all who seek the Lord, both before and since. He bore the sins of King David, born a thousand years before Him, as well as the sins of you and I, those committed yesterday, today, and likely tomorrow, as well.
As Craig Cooper says, we may never be sinless, but in God’s grace, may we “sin less”, and in Christ, boldly approach the Father’s throne, forsaking all idols and other gods who tempt us in our lives.
Is God letting you know of an attitude or habit that is offensive to Him and He wants you to change? I often get the message loud and clear when this is the case for me.
It is not easy to turn away from the idols we love to worship. Each day can bring a new battle. But God is pleased when we try and especially when we win a battle – it honors Him and His place on the throne of our hearts. When we do fail, He is right there to pick us up if we approach Him with a broken and contrite heart. He loves us and wants us to succeed so that we can avoid any harm or destruction that ultimately comes from any form of idol worship.
Father God, as with Judah under King Asa, may the kingdom of our hearts be quiet today as we take shelter under Your wing. Protect, guide, and comfort us as we journey through the trials and the joys of life. May the Light of Jesus and the Holy Spirit burn in our hearts so as to draw others to You and Your great love and salvation. We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.
May the Lord bless you and confirm His great love for you today!