2 Chronicles 15
The Reforms of Asa
15 Now the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded. 2 And he went out to meet Asa, and said to him: “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. 3 For a long time Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law; 4 but when in their trouble they turned to the Lord God of Israel, and sought Him, He was found by them. 5 And in those times there was no peace to the one who went out, nor to the one who came in, but great turmoil was on all the inhabitants of the lands. 6 So nation was destroyed by nation, and city by city, for God troubled them with every adversity. 7 But you, be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded!”
8 And when Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and removed the abominable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities which he had taken in the mountains of Ephraim; and he restored the altar of the Lord that was before the vestibule of the Lord. 9 Then he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and those who dwelt with them from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon, for they came over to him in great numbers from Israel when they saw that the Lord his God was with him.
10 So they gathered together at Jerusalem in the third month, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa. 11 And they offered to the Lord at that time seven hundred bulls and seven thousand sheep from the spoil they had brought. 12 Then they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul; 13 and whoever would not seek the Lord God of Israel was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. 14 Then they took an oath before the Lord with a loud voice, with shouting and trumpets and rams’ horns. 15 And all Judah rejoiced at the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and sought Him with all their soul; and He was found by them, and the Lord gave them rest all around.
16 Also he removed Maachah, the mother of Asa the king, from being queen mother, because she had made an obscene image of Asherah; and Asa cut down her obscene image, then crushed and burned it by the Brook Kidron. 17 But the high places were not removed from Israel. Nevertheless the heart of Asa was loyal all his days.
18 He also brought into the house of God the things that his father had dedicated and that he himself had dedicated: silver and gold and utensils. 19 And there was no war until the thirty-fifth year of the reign of Asa.
When our leaders are blessed to walk in the ways of the Lord, the land and people prosper. From the time that Israel requested kings, G-d told them they would be prone to error and sin, and though it grieved Him, he granted their request.
Their fortunes rose and fell on how well or poorly those men listened to the edicts of their prophets, counselors, and even queens (see the Book of Esther). The land of Judah was fortunate in Asa, who had a loyal heart, but in hindsight, as with every king (David, Solomon, etc) G-d gave them a condition that He’s given the rest of us who are not of earthly royalty, but the children of a king: Seek Me and walk in my ways, and all will be well with you.
When we fall away, we are to return.
When we sin, we are to repent.
When we backslide, we are to confess.
The Lord has promised that if we do these things, He will ear from heaven, and heal us, comfort us, and restore us to Himself.
We can rejoice then, that our High Priest is the Son of G-d, interceding incessantly for our struggling flesh, which we do not crucify for the sake of purity.
The prophet Isaiah tells us: (55:v 5-7)
5 Surely you shall call a nation you do not know,
And nations who do not know you shall run to you,
Because of the Lord your God,
And the Holy One of Israel;
For He has glorified you.”
6 Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the Lord,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.
It was Asa’s shift in focus that brought him down toward the end of his reign.
2 Chronicles 16
Asa’s Treaty with Syria
16 In the thirty-sixth year of the reign of Asa, Baasha king of Israel came up against Judah and built Ramah, that he might let none go out or come in to Asa king of Judah. 2 Then Asa brought silver and gold from the treasuries of the house of the Lord and of the king’s house, and sent to Ben-Hadad king of Syria, who dwelt in Damascus, saying, 3 “Let there be a treaty between you and me, as there was between my father and your father. See, I have sent you silver and gold; come, break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel, so that he will withdraw from me.”
4 So Ben-Hadad heeded King Asa, and sent the captains of his armies against the cities of Israel. They attacked Ijon, Dan, Abel Maim, and all the storage cities of Naphtali. 5 Now it happened, when Baasha heard it,that he stopped building Ramah and ceased his work. 6 Then King Asa took all Judah, and they carried away the stones and timber of Ramah, which Baasha had used for building; and with them he built Geba and Mizpah.
Hanani’s Message to Asa
7 And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said to him: “Because you have relied on the king of Syria, and have not relied on the Lord your God, therefore the army of the king of Syria has escaped from your hand. 8 Were the Ethiopians and the Lubim not a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet, because you relied on the Lord, He delivered them into your hand. 9 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars.”
10 Then Asa was angry with the seer, and put him in prison, for he was enraged at him because of this. And Asa oppressed some of the people at that time.
King Asa proves his humanity, and like David not seeking the Lord for the proper procedure to move the Ark of the Covenant, Asa relies on riches plundered from the church to reduce the size of the forces he has to battle, and so loses the war, and now has to fight where before, when he walked in the ways of G-d, the land had rest.
Asa Reigns in Judah
2 Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God, 3 for he removed the altars of the foreign gods and the high places, and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the wooden images. 4 He commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers, and to observe the law and the commandment. 5 He also removed the high places and the incense altars from all the cities of Judah, and the kingdom was quiet under him. 6 And he built fortified cities in Judah, for the land had rest; he had no war in those years, because the Lord had given him rest.
The Father has done all He is going to do to give us rest, but our faith in His promises wavers, and fails, and fall away into the grip of the enemy’s world. We doubt, and despair, and grow angry.
Yes, go through the process, but never fail to seek to return. Your Father knew you before He formed you, and all of your days were known before you came to be.
Your Father understands, and if you seek Him, rely on Him, love Him, and obey Him, He will be found you.
All the time.
Therefore I pray:
Give us loyal hearts, Lord, but increase our faith as well. Let us not dwell in the world of the enemy as we use his own tools to combat his own forces.
Let us climb the spiritual hills with songs of ascension, seeking Your will and Your presence, believing in faith You will equip us not only for the battle, but for victory, where we too, like King Asa, will carry away ‘very much spoil’ (2 Ch, 14:12).
In seeking You, Lord, we place before You all of our weakness. Consume it with holy fire as You did the offering of the prophet Elijah. Increase our faith, and help our unbelief, even if you do not deliver us from the fiery furnaces that seek to burn away our very souls.
Let us, today, rejoice in the renewal of our oath to seek You with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, putting to death within us that which will not accept You. Let us, today, tear down and crush all the high places that have crept up the mountains of our dreams, hopes, plans, aspirations, and replaced You.
The whispers of the world are constant, sibilant as the Garden’s serpent, calling us away: Did G-d really say…? If we believe Your promises to be ‘yes’ and ‘amen’, there can be no room for doubt.
As love cannot be compelled, You have set before us blessings and curses, and told us to choose.
The Narrow Way is rugged, but we follow the One who finished the work, and turned neither left nor right, the One You sent to us, that we may not be lost, or fall away, or be consumed by the fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
So today, we renew our oath not to forsake You, but we ask that hold our hands fast to Yours, and bind us tighter to the easy yoke and light burden of working out our salvation, to Your eternal glory.
May it be done to us as You have said.