As I was reading a devotional last evening, I came across an interesting passage from 2 Chronicles 24 which I thought was relatable to society’s unhealthy environment today.
“After the death of Jehoiada, the officials of Judah came and paid homage to the king, and he listened to them. They abandoned the temple of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and worshiped Asherah poles and idols. Because of their guilt, God’s anger came on Judah and Jerusalem. Although the Lord sent prophets to the people to bring them back to him, and though they testified against them, they would not listen.” 2 Chronicles 24: 17-19
Judah’s king Joash was only seven years old when he took over the throne of Judah. He was counseled wisely by a priest named Jehoiada for as long as that priest lived. Unfortunately after he died, other statesmen of Judah came to see Joash and persuaded him not only to abandon the building of the temple, but to worship the Asherah poles meant to glorify the idol goddess, Asherah.
God however, did not immediately abandon Judah because of this idol worship. He sent holy priests to warn and persuade them to turn from their wickedness and once again worship the true LORD. Not only would the people not listen, but they stoned the faithful priest Zechariah to death, when he proclaimed that God had finally abandoned them due of their unfaithful behavior. Not one person listening to Zechariah stood up for Truth.
Now what in the world, you might be thinking, do these verses have to do with society’s health? Well, I can show you several which correspond to our culture today.
Up until the 1940s, people were not obsessed with thinness and beauty as we are today. Nowadays we worship beauty! Sometime during the ’50s, outer attraction became the main focus and inner beauty took a back seat. It got worse. What once was a desire to look like Marilyn Monroe or James Dean has slowly melded into Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber. Do you find them attractive? I don’t. One shouldn’t look on any earthly person as a role model or strive to mimic them as our young people do today. Encourage children to look toward our Lord for our character aspirations, not celebrities. Celebrities should not be Asherah poles.
Another consideration is one my nutritional and fitness friends can relate to. As a health practitioner, do you sometimes feel that you are a lonely voice promoting truth within a world of weight loss fallacies? When you see a patient or client disregarding your sound advice, doesn’t your heart grieve? Failing to recognize physiological truth, they worship culinary Asherah poles. Today everyone declares what is right in their own eyes and that includes consuming unhealthy foods. Since each is accountable for our own actions, one can choose to eat healthily or pig out on Big Mac’s daily. One reaps what he sows. Is that God honoring or another Asherah pole?
My last thought is that it didn’t take Joash long to be influenced by ungodly people despite all the Godly Truth he received at the feet of Jehoiada. Are we so easily persuaded by others when we know what we should do? Do mind-influencing magazines, celebrity spokespersons or television advertisements influence you? Does the melody, “What would you do for a Klondike Bar?” or any other outside persuasion make us run to our own Asherah pole?
As parents we are required to train and guide our children in the way they should go. (Proverbs 22:6) Direct them to Christ – not worship an ungodly Asherah pole.