King Asa of Judah
(2 Chronicles 15.16—16.6,11-13)
9Asa became king of Judah in the twentieth year of Jeroboam's rule in Israel, 10and he ruled 41 years from Jerusalem. His grandmother was Maacah the daughter of Abishalom.
11Asa obeyed the Lord, as David had done. 12 He forced the prostitutes at the shrines to leave the country, and he got rid of the idols his ancestors had made. 13His own grandmother Maacah had made an idol of Asherah, and Asa took it and burned it in Kidron Valley. Then he removed Maacah from her position as queen mother.
14As long as Asa lived, he was completely faithful to the Lord, even though he did not destroy the local shrines. 15He placed in the temple all the silver and gold objects that he and his father had dedicated to the Lord.
16Asa was always at war with King Baasha of Israel. 17One time, Baasha invaded Judah and captured the town of Ramah. He started making the town stronger, so he could put troops there to stop people from going in and out of Judah.
18When Asa heard about this, he took the silver and gold from his palace and from the Lord's temple. He gave it to some of his officials and sent them to Damascus with this message for King Benhadad of Syria: 19“Our fathers signed a peace treaty. Why don't we do the same thing? This silver and gold is a present for you. So, would you please break your treaty with Baasha and force him to leave my country?”
20Benhadad did what Asa asked and sent the Syrian army into Israel. They captured the towns of Ijon, Dan, and Abel-Bethmaacah, and the territories of Chinneroth and Naphtali. 21When Baasha heard about it, he left Ramah and went back to Tirzah.
22Asa ordered everyone in Judah to carry away the stones and wood Baasha had used to strengthen the town of Ramah. Then he used these same stones and wood to fortify the town of Geba in the territory of Benjamin and the town of Mizpah.
23Everything else Asa did while he was king, including his victories and the towns he rebuilt, is written in The History of the Kings of Judah. When he got older, he had a foot disease. 24Asa died and was buried in the tomb of his ancestors in Jerusalem. His son Jehoshaphat then became king.
The author of this book notes that, as his great-grandfather, David, Asa did what is right in the eyes of the Lord. This was not said of his father, nor of his grandfather, in spite of the fact that both of them accomplished some things in the name of God. But God knows the hearts of men and women and discerns their thoughts. Asa served the Lord with his whole heart, even if he, like each one of us, was not perfect.
With the direct intervention of the Almighty, Judah had defeated an army from Ethiopia three times larger than his own. However when it came to facing Baasha, the King of Israel, Asa appealed to the king of Syria rather than asking God. This greatly displeased God. The Lord loves to intervene in extraordinary ways, because it allows the glory of a victory or of a healing to come back to him alone. The witnesses of events like these see that the Lord is the only living God and they are inclined to turn toward him; it is what God desires. “… Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me.” (Isaiah 45:21 NIV)
So let’s trust in this great God for our salvation and for all that’s beyond us, instead of giving in to despair and relying on humans, while we can glorify him by our faith. He hears and answers each one of our prayers!
God who is wise and who saves, we ask you to increase our faith in you, so that we might follow you and do what is good in your eyes, every day of our life. Amen.