My Bible reading plan has required me to spend a good bit of time in the historical section of the Old Testament. I’ve forgotten how frustrating genealogies could be, but thankfully, God has reminded me of some amazing stories. The one I want to share with you now is one of my favorites.
In 2nd Chronicles, the writer focuses on the kings of Judah starting with King Solomon. Each king is judged on whether they did what was right in God’s sight or not. In chapter 14, we’re introduced to King Asa, Solomon’s great-grandson. 2nd Chronicles 14:2 says, “Asa did good and right in the sight of the Lord his God”, and in chapter 15, we see the explanation. 2nd Chronicles 15:1-7 reads:
Now the Spirit of God came on Azariah the son of Oded, and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Listen to me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: the LORD is with you when you are with Him. And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. For many days Israel was without the true God and without a teaching priest and without law. But in their distress they turned to the LORD God of Israel, and they sought Him, and He let them find Him. In those times there was no peace to him who went out or to him who came in, for many disturbances afflicted all the inhabitants of the lands. Nation was crushed by nation, and city by city, for God troubled them with every kind of distress. But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work.”
The rest of chapter 15 tells us that Asa obeyed the Lord’s commands that came through His prophet Azariah. He removed idols from Judah, restored the Lord’s altar, and led the people into a covenant to seek the Lord God alone. He was filled with courage and guided Judah back to the Lord.
Here are some observations from this passage that stood out to me:
1. Seek the Lord or forsake Him. Azariah gave Asa an ultimatum; there was no middle ground. We have the same ultimatum given to us today. We either commit ourselves to serve and obey God or we completely forsake Him and seek out what we want.
2. Hindsight is 20/20. It was easy for Azariah to see that Israel’s history was far from perfect. The challenge was for Asa to change the normal practices of the people to follow after God. What we’ve always done or thought should be constantly reevaluated to make sure that it’s what God wants for us.
3. Change requires courage. Azariah ends his prophecy by saying, “be strong and do not lose courage”. Asa needed bravery to remove idols, give the death penalty to anyone who wouldn’t worship God, and even remove his own mother’s governing position because of her idolatry. Repentance is met with resistance, and the fight to seek God with greater obedience will require valor.
My prayer for you is that you would continue to seek the Lord, evaluate your pattern of life, and have the courage to repent according to God’s Word. Find comfort when Azariah says, “there is reward for your work” and patiently await the day when the Lord will fully comfort you by saying, “Well done, good and faithful slave.”