But the high places were not taken away. Nevertheless, the heart of Asa was wholly true to the LORD all his days. 1 Kings 15:14
We know King David. And Solomon. Maybe even Hezekiah and Josiah. But there were many other kings in Judah, and admittedly, many were terrible. However, there were some good kings, not perfect kings, but good kings. These good kings can serve as examples of things we can do even in our culture, in our lives to honor God. Over the next few weeks, we will look at some of them and glean what we can from their testimony.
Asa was Solomon’s great-grandson. His father, Abijah or Abijam, was an idolater, but Asa determined not to follow that path. He was a religious reformer who worked to rid Judah of its foreign altars and gods. One day a prophet named Azariah, the son of Oded, came to see the king. You can read his message in 2 Chronicles 15. But here is one important verse:
But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded. 2 Chronicles 15:7
Confronting and dealing with sin in our lives is a difficult, messy business, especially when we start uncovering and tearing down the idols we hold on to. Asa’s commitment was so firm that he even removed his mother from her official position because of her idolatry.
Our bold leadership in pursuing holiness can motivate others. In the fifteenth year of his reign, Asa saw the fruit of his commitment as the entire nation reaffirmed their covenant relationship with God alone.
Our dependence on God must not waver. Early in his reign, when Judah was threatened by the mighty Ethiopian army, Asa prayed to God for help with utter confidence in Yahweh. “O LORD, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O LORD, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.” 2 Chronicles 14:11 However, years later, Asa used some of the Temple treasures to buy Syria’s friendship. Asa result, war, conflict, and turmoil marked the rest of Asa’s reign.
Asa’s spent the last two years of his reign with a severe disease in his feet. The Chronicler records that he tried all that the physicians could do, but he never sought the Lord’s help. Perhaps, God was sending the king a message – if you won’t stand firm in your commitment to Me, you won’t stand at all. Notice though, it is a reflection of God’s grace that Asa was remembered as wholly true to God all his days. Thankfully God deals with us in that same gracious way.
Asa’s son Jehoshaphat was watching all this and taking notes. Next week we’ll see what he learned and how we can apply those lessons.