Pagan Altars!

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible readings: 2 Kings 15:1-16:20; Proverbs 18:4-5

READ (verse for reflection)
2 Kings 16:10 “When King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, he saw the altar that was at Damascus. And King Ahaz sent to Uriah the priest a model of the altar, and its pattern, exact in all its details.”

The kings of old seemed to be able to outdo one another in evil and wickedness. When we thought it couldn’t get any worse; Ahaz burned his own son as an offering (ref: 2 Kings 16:3) and desecrated the holy temple of God with the building of a pagan altar and sacrificing to it. We were not told how the pagan altar looked like; but it seemed to be larger (ref: 2 Kings 16:15) and perhaps more magnificent looking that the bronze altar of sacrifice that Yahweh had given specific instructions to build. However, bigger and better looking isn’t always better. Trying to take something from the world; be it very pleasing to our eyes (but not to God) and fit it into our worship of Yahweh can be a dangerous and foolish thing to do.

We might not have considered building pagan altars in the church; but we could be struggling with building pagan altars in our lives. We could be giving higher priorities to things that really doesn’t matter to the Lord; but failed to uphold the very things that He wanted us to do. As we celebrate the birth of the Christ-child; may our understanding of why God has come not be dulled in any way by the lure of consumerism and overt merry making. May we take some time to sit at the feet of the suffering servant and consider His ways. May we continue to adore Him in awe and wonder so that from the gratefulness of our hearts, we can live to be a people of the Word and the blessed children of a loving Father.

Lord our God, may You destroy the pagan altars of our lives so that we can focus on pleasing You. May You bring the true meaning of Christmas to the lives of many, so that they can come and worship You as the one true God of their lives. Amen.