Scripture: 1 Kings 15: 9-14
Key verse: (11) “Asa did what was right in the sight of the LORD, as his father David had done.”
Reflection: What a relief to read about a king who was faithful to the LORD! This portion of 1 Kings continues to recount the reign of several kings and those who aspired to be king. There were many influences that drew the leaders and the people away from God. Different cultures with different religious traditions influenced Israel because of political alliances secured through marriage. We learned that in Solomon’s reign he had many wives and concubines from other tribes around the region. These tribes had their own religious traditions that these women brought with them. The kings allowed them to continue their religious observances and even incorporated these religious traditions into the life of Israel. This kind of synchronistic approach, adopting a buffet of religious observances, affected the religious life of Israel. A very religious person in the ancient world worshipped many gods. This was a sign of spiritual depth. Worshipping one god was foreign to the cultures surrounding Israel. It was difficult to worship one god. This is evident in the multitude of religious shrines that popped up throughout Israel. In some ways it’s not unlike the world we live in today. There are many gods worshipped in our culture. I’m not talking about different religious traditions that we are familiar with, but rather the way that human beings worship a variety of things. We may not call them gods, but they are. In our culture we have the gods of money, power and position. We have gods of possessions and experiences. Sometimes we easily fall into worshipping other things if we aren’t paying attention. Almost anything can become a god if we worship it. To dedicate ourselves to one God, one LORD, one faith is a daily challenge. And, yet God is merciful and continues to love us in spite of our actions. Most often we are the victims of our own choices while God grieves our mistakes. God’s love is a great mystery. In 1 Kings, the LORD remembers David and keeps God’s side of the covenant. We are continually invited to return to God. Asa was one of the reformers and he won’t be the last. He is a reminder that we can turn back to God no matter how far we have strayed.
Prayer: O sing to the LORD a new song, for the LORD has done wonderful things, . . . Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth; break forth and sing for joy and sing praises. Sing praises to the LORD. Give thanks to God’s holy name for the love and forgiveness that God offers. Amen. (Adapted from Psalm 98)
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].