Boletim dos Obreiros

Reflections for a Blessed New Year

"Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God"

2 Chronicles 14:2

January opens a new stage of life. The year gone by was stormy, creating small favourable expectation for the new year. Things are going from bad to worse. Man himself is building, year after year, and increasingly darker picture.

The alienation from God and the search for personal satisfaction in temporary and transitory values end by taking him to inexorable failure. The problem is in man himself! God is good and wants the best for His creation. It is time for deep meditation. Can we change this disturbing and discouraging expectation? I believe so!

History always repeats itself. The Bible demonstrates that the course of human life, blessed or cursed, depends exclusively on the attitude man assumes before God (see Deuteronomy 30:15-18).

A worthy example is Asa, king of Judah, who knew how to correctly relate himself with God, submissive to His dictates and who, for this reason, reached an excellent period of blessings for himself and for his people (2Chr.14:1-8).

We read: "Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God" (v.2). There we find the remarkable secret of a blessed life! The alienation from God involves us, selfishly, with what we think is favourable to reach success, leading us to seek what seems to us "good and right in our own eyes". The failure arrives sooner than we think! We loose the blessing! It is exactly this which makes the difference in the result!

Which were the attitudes which Asa adopted to attain this correct behaviour before the Lord, which merited the remarkable report made by the biblical chronicle?

  1. FIRM REPULSE TO IDOLATRY (v.3) - "Idolatry" is everything which takes the place of God and of our necessary and correct devotion to Him. "Idolatry" moves us away from God! Honest reflection will make us reflect on the dimension of our idolatrous attitude in the year gone by! It is time to change this situation! Asa adopted a firm repulse to idolatry, described in the three verbs which denote his behaviour:
    • "he removed the altars of the foreign gods and the high places" - no doubt there are hidden in us altars of foreign gods and worships which are reproved by the Lord. We must remove them, resolutely and definitely, for they exclude the blessing of the Lord from us!
    • "and broke down the sacred pillars" - such columns represented material values which the people had firmly attached themselves to, loosing the correct perspective of spiritual values which ought to be cultivated. To break them down implied in great material loss, but it was necessary to loose these transitory values in order to gain eternal values. Asa acted with firm repulse to this idolatry. Our serious and honest reflection will take us, no doubt, to verify the sinful attachment to material values which become idolatry harmful to the enjoyment of the blessing of the Lord. We must break such columns!
    • "he cut down the wooden images" - such images personified the malignant powers which oppressed the people of God and held it to the vain and false religiosity, away from the necessary spirituality. It was necessary to cut them down, which Asa resolutely did! We must cut down the demonic forces which hold us to the vain religiosity in order to live in healthy spirituality.
  2. HE COMMANDED THEM TO SEEK THE LORD AND TO OBSERVE HIS WORD (v.4) - Asa shows great sense of responsibility when issuing this double order to the people. He had full conviction of the essential need of the presence of the Lord and of the obedience to His Word so that the people might be blessed. Our reflection, no doubt, will lead us to verify that a great failing on our part resides there in the year just ended. We do not always take seriously the importance of seeking the Lord and His Word! Without the presence of the Lord failure is unavoidable! Without the Word of the Lord there is no blessing in our lives. Let us commit ourselves to this double order and also not neglect the responsibility of committing others to it.
  3. HE BUILT FORTIFIED CITIES, MAKING WALLS AROUND THEM, AND TOWERS, GATES AND BARS (vv. 6,7) - Asa knew that the people of God would be the target of the attacks of the powerful enemies surrounding them. They needed to be securely protected. Asa did that by surrounding the city with walls and towers and gates and bars. In our honest reflection we will perceive that in the year just ended we often found ourselves extremely vulnerable to the strong attacks of our powerful enemy and we failed because of it. The Lord has the resources for us to edify the sure resistance to these attacks. Prayer is the best "wall" that we can build and vigilance is the tower of best protective vision. (Matt.26:41, 1Pet.5:8). The Holy Spirit is the best "gate" and most efficient "bar" which we can have for our impregnable protection (Eph.3:16; Gal.5:16).

Three remarkable results are noted in the Biblical chronicle:

  • "Peace" (vv. 5-7)
  • "Rest on all sides" (v.7) - the problems were eliminated;
  • "Prosperity" (v.8).

Let us act as Asa and let us have in the new year the blessings which he attained!