Then at last the people will look to their Creator and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel. They will no longer look to their idols for help or worship what their own hands have made. They will never again bow down to their Asherah poles or worship at the pagan shrines they have built. Their largest cities will be like a deserted forest, like the land the Hivites and Amorites abandoned when the Israelites came here so long ago. It will be utterly desolate. Why? Because you have turned from the God who can save you. You have forgotten the Rock who can hide you. So you may plant the finest grapevines and import the most expensive seedlings. They may sprout on the day you set them out; yes, they may blossom on the very morning you plant them, but you will never pick any grapes from them. Your only harvest will be a load of grief and unrelieved pain. (Isaiah 17:7-11)
Asherah poles were images of Asherah, a Canaanite goddess who was the female consort of Baal. The cult encouraged immoral sexual practices and attracted many people. The Bible warns against worshiping Asherah poles, and King Manasseh was condemned for putting up an Asherah pole in the Temple (Deuteronomy 12:3; 16:21; 2 Kings 21:7).
Asherah poles are not a problem in our society, but the primacy of sex is just as pervasive. Pornography is an addiction for many people. Whole industries are based on society’s obsession with sex. Unrestrained desire for stimulation and gratification is the product of empty, lonely hearts. They are vacuums for sexual sin and idolatry. In truth, sexual immorality is no less common than Asherah poles were for the Jewish people.
Take Isaiah’s warning to heart. Idolizing sex will leave you “utterly desolate.” “Your only harvest will be a load of grief and unrelieved pain.”
God offers real joy and lasting love. Look to your Creator, who knows how he made you. Turn back to “the God who can save you.” Then your heart will know the joy of being fulfilled by the One it truly desires.