Thursday, March 15, 2012

2 Chronicles 14-16 - King Asa of Judah

LINK: 2 Chronicles 14-16 
Parallel Passage: 1 Kings 15:9-24

BACKGROUND

Asa reigned from 911-870 B.C. "Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God" by removing altars, high places, sacred stones and Asherah poles. He commanded Judah to "seek the LORD . . . and to obey his commands." He enjoyed peace and rest for ten years. Then, when he faced the impossible battle with the Cushites, he depended on God and prospered.

He listened to Azariah the prophet's challenge to remain true to the LORD so that he could continue to enjoy God's blessing. Asa responded by destroying more idols and deposing his grandmother (the NASB says "mother"), Maacah, because she made an Asherah pole which was a Canaanite fertility symbol. He also repaired the temple. In 896 B.C. he assembled his kingdom and renewed their covenant to seek God with all their heart and soul.

"Asa's heart was fully committed to the LORD, all his life," and there was no more war until his 35th year when Asa felt threatened by Baasha, king of a rival northern kingdom. So, he bribed Ben-Hadad, the Aramean king of Damascus to break his treaty with Baasha. It worked, but it did not please God. When the prophet Hanani confronted Asa about relying on the ungodly Ben-Hadad rather than God, Asa was angry and put the prophet in prison, too prideful to repent. The parallel passage in 1 Kings does not mention anything about the prophet Hanani.

I do not know why Asa responded in obedience to the first prophet but put the second one in prison. He did not like what he heard because of his pride. Asa started out with wholehearted dependence on the Lord, but he did not end it this way.

REFLECTION
"For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars." 
(Hanani the prophet to Asa - 2 Chronicles 16:9)
Are you seeing a pattern here in the posts about the kings of Judah? It was make or break for them on one key issue: God wanted their whole heart for their whole life! He wants ours too. 

APPLICATION

Are you wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord and in it for the "long haul" of life? What habits are you establishing in your life that will foster this? Are you open to others speaking truth into your life, or has pride kept you from accepting rebuke? Memorize 2 Chronicles 16:9 to remind yourself that God strongly supports wholehearted people!

PRAYER

Lord, the lives of these kings are here to instruct us! Please do not let us lose the lesson You are trying to teach us through them. Lord, draw us close to You. We want to love You with our whole heart. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.
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