Asa, part 2 — his warning, his promise, and his heart

When Asa returns from winning this war that the numbers said he should have lost, he meets Azariah. 2 Chronicles 15:1-2

1And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded: 2And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you. 3Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law. 4But when they in their trouble did turn unto the LORD God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them. 5And in those times there was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in, but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the countries. 6And nation was destroyed of nation, and city of city: for God did vex them with all adversity. 7Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.”

God warns them of the things that they have done as a nation that have lead to the hard times they are encountering. However, the majority of His speech towards the returning army is a positive one. God promises them that if they seek the Lord, He will be found and they will be blessed. What a promise!

“8And when Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage,”

Asa takes courage. He took what God said at face value, and acted upon it. The remainder of the chapter speaks of what actions Asa took and how he brought Israel together to seek the Lord. He cast down idols, and built up the temple. He sacrificed and worshiped.

9And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon: for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the LORD his God was with him. ”

When Asa stepped up to do the right thing, and it was obvious God was with him, then others followed. He set an example. Through Asa God demonstrated His great power and goodness and people wanted that. People wanted to be a part.

Then God gives us another glowing praise of Asa.

“17But the high places were not taken away out of Israel: nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect all his days.”

The high places weren’t taken away. Nevertheless. Even though everything wasn’t fixed in the nation, the heart of Asa was perfect. It was seeking the Lord. It was pursuing Him during these days.

Wow! Asa had a good start, but he continued strong. He was bold and courageous. We need to be like this. God has promised us great things, just as He did Asa. God has already given us the victory in Christ. We have promised He will never leave us. We have been promised that we will be used for His glory. We are the tools of the Creator! How blessed we are!

Secondly, if we will but follow God, He may use us to encourage others and provoke them to good works. This is a revival in Israel! Asa didn’t wait for others to be revived and he didn’t do it for others to be revived. He sought the Lord with his heart, but God sent revival because the people saw that God was with him. God used Asa. God can use me. God can use you.

May God say of us, that our hearts were perfect all of our days.

Advertisements

Asa, part 1 — his Victory

Asa is one of very few good kings in the four books that document Israel’s history. Yet, the end we read of in 2 Chronicles 16 grieves the heart. I’m going to take the next couple blogs to look at Asa as shown in 2 Chronicles.

2 Chronicles 14:1-6 “1So Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David: and Asa his son reigned in his stead. In his days the land was quiet ten years. 2And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God: 3For he took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves: 4And commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment. 5Also he took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the images: and the kingdom was quiet before him. 6And he built fenced cities in Judah: for the land had rest, and he had no war in those years; because the LORD had given him rest.”

Notice his introduction! He did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord. He took down the altars and commanded the people to do right too. Isn’t this what we want God to say about us in the course of history?

The text continues to tell of his great spiritual victory which resulted in a physical victory.

2 Chronicles 14:9-13 “9And there came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian with an host of a thousand thousand, and three hundred chariots; and came unto Mareshah. 10Then Asa went out against him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. 11And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let no man prevail against thee. 12So the LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled. 13And Asa and the people that were with him pursued them unto Gerar: and the Ethiopians were overthrown, that they could not recover themselves; for they were destroyed before the LORD, and before his host; and they carried away very much spoil.”

He trusted in the Lord. He understood that it was in God’s hands. He understood that we walk by faith in Him rather than sight or the numbers. As a math teacher I might use the phrase “the numbers don’t lie.” The numbers might not lie but they don’t make the outcome. 580,000 to over 1,000,000. Those numbers would certainly seem to say that this can’t be handled. There are times and things in life where people say “That is impossible. This can’t happen before this date, so let’s pray it happens the soonest after that.” We limit our prayers to things that “can” happen, as opposed to recognizing that God is the Almighty who can do everything.

Nothing is impossible with God. God can work regardless of the stipulations man puts on things. Trust Him and pray. Sometimes we assume that our country is so wicked, “it is impossible to get a good person elected.” Rest on the Lord. It is nothing to God to do these things. Sometimes they are small things, sometimes they are big things. Sometimes it is a work situation. Sometimes a legal issue. God is in control and can do anything. Anything! That doesn’t mean anything within the already established bounds. He can do anything. Rest in the Lord. Asa trusted in God and God gave him a great victory. We can have victory too if we trust Him.