This morning I was reading about Asa in 2 Chronicles:14-16 and in 1 Kings:15. Brief mentions of him can be found in 1 Chronicles 3:10, Jeremiah 41:9; and Matthew 1:7-8. As always, I love to share with you what lesson I learn or am reminded of from these great stories in the bible. However, your perception and lesson may be of a different meaning to you.
From The Comprehensive Analysis Of The Bible, Montgomery F. Essig, 1922
Asa – a form of Hebrew word meaning “a physician” or “healing”. The name of the third king of Judah, who reigned forty-one years from 955-914 B.C. He was noted as a very good monarch. He rooted out the various idolatries and placed his kingdom on a first-class military basis. He waged many successful wars and won the love of his people. Toward the latter of his reign he met with some reverses.
Allow me to share the lineage of Asa beginning in order left to right. Interesting fact, this is also the lineage of which our Messiah came. Asa is also the great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather of King Hezekiah of whom my other learning from others post was about.
As you read about Asa in those books, you will find that he did good and right in the eyes of God. He removed all the idols. He booted his own mother Maachah from her throne. Maachah, however, practiced paganism. How many of us would boot our mother from a high position in any aspect of our lives, regardless of what she practices? How many of us would tear down or get rid of things our father or forefathers constructed in the name of other gods or anything? We are a people who like to keep things in remembrance of others regardless of its meaning to others. For most, historic family items are of great importance to us. Who knows, sometimes we keep things, regardless of what it represents, just waiting on a moment to sell to some antique collector. We believe in keepsakes and have a habit of holding on to THINGS.
Something that I was reminded of in this study, is that, no one, not even family should come before God. Another thing I am reminded of is that you must do both good and right in the eyes of the Lord when it comes to making decisions and have faith in the Lord. Sometimes we work on doing something good, but it’s not always the right thing to do. Sometimes we act out of fear to do what seems right to us, but it’s not always a good thing to do. Have I confused you? Ruminate on it. I am going to start checking myself before taking action by asking myself 3 questions: Is it good? Is it right? Did I consult with the Lord in faith? If one or either of the answers is no, I will pray to let all answers be a true yes.
We as Christians need to rely on God at ALL times, even during periods of rest from our problems. Our friends, our family, our church members, and even our enemies cannot be relied on at ALL times. Now we all know or should know that Satan can NEVER be relied on to do what is right or good in the eyes of God.
Forty one years? Too reign that long of a period and to rely on God during that reign, surely one had enough time, experience, faith, and knowledge to know what is good and works right to please God? How could one go wrong? Well folks, we’re about to see how an ACT of FOOLISHNESS MADE OUT OF FEAR and LOST FAITH can take precedence in our lives.
For about a period of ten years there was peace in the land during the beginning of Asa’s reign due to his father’s victories. For a period of fifteen years Asa was the king operating in both a good and right way. The bible tells us in verse 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.
Fortified cities? Gated communities are what we call them now. Wow a fort! He built walls around these cities with towers, gates, and bars and prospered because in his mind he was able to do so for one simple reason in verse 7 –“because we have sought the Lord our God; we have sought Him and He has given us rest on every side.”
Asa’s army consisted of “mighty men of valor” from two tribes; 300,000 from Judah and 280,000 from Benjamin. Math time coming up! For some odd reason Zerah the Ethiopian came up against them with a million man army along with 300 chariots in the Valley of Zaphathah. How many more men did Zerah have than Asa? How many more mighty men of valor did Asa have? As we know Asa won the battle for one reason and one reason only. Let’s read.
2 Chronicles 14:11
And Asa cried out to the Lord his God, and said, “Lord, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You!”
I love that, let’s say it together “Lord, it is NOTHING(with emphasis and a smile) for You to help.” 🙂
I gather, after that battle that the Lord felt Asa needed a bit of reforming, so His Spirit was sent to Azariah to give a message to Asa as a reminder. Fighting any battle can take a lot out of you. When you find rest, you just swim in it and forget about the battles. I love it when the Lord sends another in His name to tell you something face to face. You know that second set of ears, that second pair of lips, and that second set of eyes. He still does that to us today. Amen. Azariah tells Asa “But you, be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.” During the fifteenth year of Asa’s reign, he and his people entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart and soul; and whoever would not seek the Lord God of Israel was to be put to death, whether great or small, whether man or woman-(2Chr 15:12-13) Read 2 Chr 15 for more detail to this great story. So far, Asa still has faith.
Moving on…..In Chronicles 16, we read about Asa’s thirty-sixth year and issues with King Baasha of Israel. Please read your bible for the full story in case I left out something or am in error. As you read this, do you see the first mistake Asa makes after making the covenant years earlier with the Lord slap you dead on the lips with a gasp? First mistake…..He seems to have forgotten about what the Lord had done. Asa, out of fear from resting too long(my opinion)seeing King Baasha building up around his fort, takes it upon himself to consult and buys protection assistance from Ben-Hadad(his act of foolishness- bribery), King of Syria, who may I add worshipped a false god. He had to have lost faith, why else would he make a pact(place faith) with one who he knows worships a false god?
Sooooooooooooo….Asa had given Ben-Hadad items he had previously dedicated to the house of God as a sign of a treaty between the two for Ben-Hadad to cut off his alliance with King Baasha. Isn’t this the way the world operates today amongst nations? I do this, you do that, you break this treaty, sign this deal and I’ll give you this. Hit a nail? In reading this, I believe King Baasha was really not that big of a deal to Asa as the Ethiopian army was. Baasha was just trying to control who got into Judah and how they got there. The Ethiopian Army was much larger and was trying to completely eliminate and take rule, if I’m not mistaken.
Now after seeing this lack of faith, again the Lord sends another prophet to rebuke Asa. His name was Hanani. Let’s have a little fun with name game here. Can you say hanani, nani, fo fani, fee fi fo fani, HANANI!
Hanani On The Soapbox
The main points (some improvised) I want to pull out of this chapter is the conversation between Hanani and Asa are:
- Because you have relied on another and not God, you will lose
- When you relied on the Lord, He delivered
- The Lord show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are loyal to Him, did your heart rest too long in peace?
- Bribing another man for protection is an act of foolishness which causes downfalls. What were you thinking taking things you dedicated to the Lord and giving it to man? Man don’t you know the law of giving of your first fruits to God and what happens to those who take from the house of God?
- Regardless of the problem, if you see the problem being a smaller one than before, you still need to consult the Lord. God does not fret at the size of your problem, big or small.
- Did you forget that you cried out to the Lord before and you told Him “Lord it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power……”
- Asa, why have you behaved foolishly and where was your faith?
Why I ask….did he not consult with the Lord as he had done on previous occasions? Same reason we do at times, we try to handle what we perceive as small problems on our own and we forget what He has done for us in the past. I’ve realized for a while that no matter what the problem may be to us or how different it appears to us than before, God is bigger and better and can handle any problem.
This lesson on Asa was a reminder to me of what I realized in the past because of things He has brought me and mine through. We tend to have a mindset of forgetting what and WHO got us through and over the problem. We have to program in or hearts, pray(consult with the Lord) and have faith when something just pops up or we see or feel trouble coming. Speaking from experience I know that the Lord will send you a reminder via a messenger of where your faith was before and where it needs to be.
Psychosomatically to us, no matter what a problem is, when it comes in a different format or the same as before, we have a weak predisposition of failing to recall how we overcame, we FORGET WHO and what steps it took to overcome. Proof of this evidence- The Israelites and The hamster with its wheel. Need I say more? Yep. 🙂
We also have the mentality of reacting hastily to a small problem, setting off that alarming need to rely on self or another person. Some of us even pray to God about it, and still try to control the issue.
The other lesson to learn for us all is that no matter what your position is on this earth, be it, a president, a preacher, a deacon, a leader, teacher, just being you, or a follower. If your claim is that you are a Christian, and you hold one of these positions, regardless of what you think, God ALWAYS sends or puts someone in your presence to give you a message, now whether or not you heed it, is up to you. The Lord also gives you the power of discernment, so you will know that it is indeed a message from Him. Not to mention, less we forget it too, we now have the Holy Spirit as a guide and comforter.
You can become angry like Asa when hearing the truth of how you should handle a situation, or ignore the person giving you instruction, and be miserable the rest of your days due to being unrepentant and operate out of fear until you go to your grave. You know this is a bad habit of ours. We hate receiving instruction from others, especially when we see ourselves as overseers of others.
Let’s come back down to planet Humble from behind the pulpit, out from our castles and gated communities, and out of human appointed positions. The holiest and/or the most righteous of the human race among us have/had imperfections…BUT GOD’S GRACE. Not only do we see this in our day to day lives; the stories in the bible give us various examples of the imperfections of the human race, even when one “did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord.” Look at Asa’s story.
The saddest thing I read in this story is that when Asa became ill, it tells us that “yet in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but the physicians….and he died in the forty-first year of his reign.” It leaves me to tears knowing the ways and thoughts of men who do/did “good and right in the eyes of the Lord” that relied on and relies on the Lord today can lose faith, act out of fear and behave foolishly. I suppose if one is of this world, no matter what, one has the mindset to act in a foolish worldly manner. We cannot bribe or make others do right in the name of protection of self and others. It’s not in our control as much as we’d like to believe so.
My papa told me more than once while growing up when I think he felt my raging temper was afloat, “young child in Christ, sometimes a 1 minute action can take a lifetime to correct if you don’t ask God to take care of it before acting. You can’t make people do what is right or what you think is right.” My response to papa was that “God will be alive to correct it when I’m old then and you will be too old to remember what I did.” 🙂 As I have aged, I understand clearly what he meant and I am so grateful to the Lord for my papa’s odd ways of teaching me about the Lord as a child.
Be Blessed and a Blessing to Many Beloved Ones!
Love Covers A Multitude of Sins
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