Be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded. (2 Chronicles 15:1-16)
Asa was the king of Judah who did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. Because he trusted the Lord, He strengthened Asa and his men to defeat the great army of Cushites.
This remarkable victory of Asa was a proof that God’s blessing was upon him.
His victory had been the record of his faith in God and his piety.
# As Asa was returning from his victorious pursuit of the Cushites, Azariah the prophet met him and congratulated him saying “The Lord is with you."
# Following this Azariah also challenged Asa to remain true to the Lord. He said, “If you steadfastly adhere to God’s commandments, you would have His favor continuously but if you abandon them you would soon reap bitter consequences.”
# He then encouraged Asa and his people. “Be strong and do not give up for your work will be rewarded.” (II Chronicles 15: 7)
# He said that what they did for the glory of God will assuredly be followed by good results.
Motivated by the timely counsel of Azariah, Asa became a more zealous reformer than ever, exercising his royal authority and demolished all the detestable idols from land of Judah.
Not satisfied with these minor measures of purification Asa also repaired the altar of the Lord, assembled all the people at Jerusalem and sacrificed to the Lord a large number of cattle, sheep and goats.
Perhaps the most striking evidence of Asa's reformation was his removal of his own grandmother Maacah from being queen mother as she had made an Asherah pole, a Canaanite fertility symbol which Asa burned in Kidron Valley..
He also enriched the temple of God with silver and gold that his father Abijah had brought.
Besides, he also made a covenant with the Lord, to seek Him with all their heart and soul.
As a result the Lord blessed Asa and there was no war during the thirty five years of his reign.
Dear friends, let us also commit ourselves to serve our Lord fully.
Let us never give up even in the face of fierce opposition from the enemy.
It really takes great resolution and unshakeable courage to persevere.
Let us be encouraged that the Lord will be on our side and bless all our efforts.
Manjula Premraj, Chennai
Carried to the Finish
A leader is one who points his people in the direction in which they should go. Asa pointed his people back to God. He anchored Judah back in the Word & Law of God. 2 Ch 15:4
He did everything that was right, so you would expect that there would be complete peace.
BUT, we live in a fallen world, so enemies & trials do arise. Not one of us has a trouble-free smooth life. Zerah came against Judah with a huge army. [2 Ch 14:9]
Asa modelled dependence on God by praying, ”Lord there is no one besides You to help the helpless against the powerful… we trust in You…” [2 Ch 14:11]
Asa had modelled faith in action for his people.
Judah was able to see God move on behalf of His people.
As a result they willingly covenanted to seek/dârash (walk with) God. [2 Ch 15 esp v12,15]
Asa had a long period of peace in which he settled into his comfort zone and forgot how to depend on God. When Baasha threatened war, Asa chose to depend on the arm of man (Ben-Hadad) rather than call out to God for help.
Worse, Asa refused to accept the Lord’s correction. [2 Ch 15:1-6, 16:7-16]. And when he fell sick, Asa sulked and turned to doctors and did not seek God’s touch. [2 Ch 16:12]
Asa who had modelled faith for his people, also modelled back-sliding for his people. Seeing someone of such zeal for the Lord turn lukewarm, signalled to the people that following God consistently was optional. Not a single human king has been a consistent role-model… all have failed at some point or the other…
✝ BUT Jesus, the King of Righteousness made it to the end without faltering…
THIS is the Jesus who is IN us to be our Wisdom & our power endure & finish well… and we are in HIM…. [1 Cor 1:30, Col 1:27, Col 3:3]. Sandwiched… strengthened from within, protected from outside… He is the One who promises to strongly support us and enable us to gain the victory… [2 Ch 16:9]
God does not promise life will be a smooth run if we walk with Him. He promises that when the “tsunamis of life” hit, they will not sweep us away [Is 43:1-5, Ps 124]. He promises, ”Call, I WILL answer…” [rf Is 54:17, Ps 91:15]. Jesus promises us that because He has won the victory over crushing circumstances, we too will be able to stand strong in the midst of difficulties and experience His peace in our hearts. [Rf Ps 46, Jn 16:33, Rom 8:35-39]
Derek Redmond was a favourite to win the 400m in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, but he fell tearing his thigh muscle. His father ran alongside him, and lifted him up & supported him. Derek Redmond limped & made it across the finish line because his father supported him all the way.
We may be in pain. We may “limp”, but Jesus is our Yoke-fellow. He has promised that His grace is sufficient for us. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. [2 Cor 12:9, Is 46:3-4]
He has promised, ”And I will be with you always, to the end of the age.” [Mt 28:20]
So then, let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way, and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with determination/endurance the race that lies before us. [Heb 12:2]
Lord Jesus, You are my strength & wisdom. Without You I would surely drift, I would surely fail… Thank You for being my anchor. Help me Lord, pride is so subtle… Help me to keep submitting to You and walk humbly with You. Thank You for holding me & supporting me so that I will finish strong, leaning on You. With all my love & heartfelt thanks. Amen.
Chron 16:7.. ... Because you have put your trust in the king of Aram instead of in the lord your God, you missed your chance to destroy the army of the king of Aram
Baasha, king of Israel sought to build Ramah to hinder traffic into Judah. Asa,king of Judah took the gold and silver from the temple treasury to buy the services of Ben_hadad, king of Syria. He wanted to fight against Baasha and get relief. Ben_ hadad took the amount and sent his armies against the cities of northern Israel.This forced Baasha to stop building Ramah. Then Asa asked the men of Judah to carry the building stones and timbers which Baasha used for Ramah, to fortify the towns of Geba and Mizpah.
Asa displeased God, who had protected him before, from the Ethiopians. Asa who put his trust in Syria, a foreign power made the lord unhappy.. Asa 's faith in God had declined and he sought human solution to his problem.
So God sent Hanani, a seer to Asa to rebuke him for going to the king of Syria for help instead of seeking help from Him first.So Asa would have continual warfare.Its the divine judgement for Asha's faithlessness.
Asa,then rejected and persecuted the seer.He put him in prison.He also started oppressing some of the people.Asa's spiritual decline is seen when he spurned God's prophet
Then Asa was diseased in his foot and he sought the help of physicians first instead of going to God first for discernment and deliverance.This too displeased God.
Asa provides a sad example of people who rely on their resources and become angry when corrected.It is wise to rely on God first for guidance and direction.
Lord, Thank you for your eyes search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to You.Help us to trust you and rely on You first for our deliverance.Help us to depend on Your power and Your promies.kindly lead us and guide us. In Jesus name Amen
Cynthia Sathiaraj, Chennai
"The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him" 2 Chronicles 16:9
The history of Asa, the King of Judah is seen described in the chapters 14-16. His beginning was good. It is written that " he did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord" (14:2) He instituted many religious reforms.
⚡ But when war broke out between him and King Baasha of Israel, Asa turned to Syria for help instead of trusting God (16:1-3). God's prophet Hanani rebuked Asa's lack of faith, reminding him that God had previously resuced Judah from even more powerful enemies (12: 1-l2) and (14: 9-15).
⚡ Asa refused to repent and three years later God afflicted him with a severe foot disease. Still he did not seek help from the Lord. Asa died an unrepentant man.
⚡ Although Asa did what was good in the sight of the Lord, he was not obedient in the outward, visible areas of his life. Don't think, " Oh, that thing in my life doesn't matter much" The fact that it does not much to you may mean that it matters a great deal to God. Nothing should be considered as a light and simple matter by a child of God.
⚡ You say your heart is right with God, yet there is something in your life God causes you to doubt? Whenever God causes a doubt about something, stop it immediately, no matter what it may be. Nothing in our life is mere insignificant detail to God.
⚡ The words of the prophet Hanani is that God continually watches and wait for us to call on Him when we are in need. His eyes are roaming around to find faithfulness and trust in you and me. God always wants His children to be steady and sincere in their christian life.
Dr. Thomas David.
Be strong and do not let your hands be weak