Some people in life are so influenced by their surroundings that they pursue a path that is in harmony with the heritage that was modeled to them. Other times, a rare few make heroic choices to reverse the path of their heritage and overcome the negative influences they suffered and take a new path.
This reality came to life for me when I was reading 1 Kings 15. This section introduces to us how the Kings of Judah would be evaluated. There were 19 kings of Judah. Of those kings, 11 were considered “bad” and 8 were considered “good.” This evaluation came from a comparison to David. They were considered “good” if they wholeheartedly followed God as David did, or they were considered “evil” if they departed from sole allegiance to God and worshiped other gods in place of or in addition to God. In our section, we have two “bad” kings and then one “good” king. How did Asa break the trend and become a good king?
To understand this section, it is helpful to remember how some of the people that are mentioned in this text are related to one another.
1) Rehoboam was a son of Solomon and became king of Judah after Solomon.
2) Rehoboam married Maacah who was the daughter of Absalom, one of David’s sons.
3) Abijah was the son of Rehoboam and one of Rehoboam’s other wives named Micaiah (1 Chron. 13:1). He became king after Rehoboam.
4) Asa was the son of Abijah and became king after Abijah died.
5) Maacah was Asa’s grandmother (not mother as some translations have it).
The choice of Solomon to have many wives caused him to depart from sole allegiance to God and resulted in him worshipping the other gods of his wives. This choice not only impacted Solomon but also set a new model for his decedents to follow. The fruit of this new model was tragic for his family and the nation.
This heritage impacted Rehoboam and Maacah. They continued this departure from sole allegiance to God. In fact, in 2 Chron. 12:1, 14, it says that when Rehoboam was established and strong as king, he abandoned the LORD altogether!
The influence of his household continued to the next generation and impacted Abijah the son of Rehoboam and Micaiah. When he became king, he made many idols and established male cult prostitutes (1 Ki. 15:12). And yet in the midst of this MESS, Asa became king of another generation. He put away the cult prostitutes, removed the idols of his father, removed his grandmother Maacah from the role of queen mother because she had made a particularly offensive idol. He also destroyed that idol!
Asa came out of the quagmire of his messed up family and turned out to be a great man of courage. Although he too had problems and made mistakes in life, what he did right is he put God back as his primary allegiance and he did this in spite of the years of poor modeling he had seen with his family!
Father, thank you for the great courage of Asa! What a man. He chose to follow you and you alone in spite of the years of idolatry that had been modeled for him through his parents and grandparents. Thank you for being “big enough” to help us to break free from our influences. May you help me to leave a legacy worth modeling rather than one that must be set free from!
Following Jesus with you,