In an earlier post, I discussed Abijah, king of the southern kingdom of Judah and Jeroboam, the king of the northern kingdom of Israel. In this post I want to discuss Asa, the son of Abijah, who ascended the throne over Judah after his father’s death. This is the first of several (it looks like) parts on Asa. What I am interested in is the progression of the fall of nations and kings.
I am attempting to write these entries in shorter posts, partly as a way of saying thank you for reading. It is difficult to read from a computer screen – especially when there are more than two or three paragraphs, so we’ll see how this works out and if I can limit my words. This scripture section lends itself very well to smaller divisions, thankfully.
Asa Ascends the Throne
Today, we’ll look at 2 Chronicles 14:1-8. Abijah died and was buried with his fathers and Asa became the ruler over Judah. All was well in this initial stage of Asa’s rule. There was a period of rest that lasted for ten years after Asa gained the throne. The reason for this is attributed to the fact “that Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord.”
I wonder if peace may have been something of an anomaly at this time because the chronicler states in three separate verses (1,5 and 6) that the land had rest. So what exactly did he do to gain this standing in the eyes of God? He:
1. … took away all the “foreign” altars – those altars dedicated to a god other than Yahweh;
2. … removed from the land the high places – sites where foreign gods were worshiped and where sacrifices were made;
3. … cut down the Asherim – phallic symbols, usually a wooden pole or possibly a stone that was set in the ground to honor the god Ashera;
4. … commanded all of Judah to seek the Lord and keep the Law and the commandment. (I would think this commandment is “thou shalt have no other gods before Me.”
Yahweh must have been happy because Judah prospered.
Asa, the Good Steward
In addition, Asa was a good steward of what he was given. He protected what he had by building cities surrounded by walls with towers and gates and bars.
2 Chronicles 14:7
“Let us build these cities, and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars.; the land is still ours, because we have sought the Lord our God; We have sought him, and he has given us peace on every side.”
Being a good steward, he attended to the necessities in a timely manner
2 Chronicles 14:6
“He built fortified cities for the land had rest.”
He had foresight and didn’t wait until the million-man army of Egypt was crossing the border to start building his defenses. He had at least ten years of peace and he took advantage of it. He built fortified cities and he trained up an army.
The people must also have been confident in him, if not pleased by all he did and this is evident by his ability to motivate the builders of the cities and his ability to amass an army. By the end of the ten years, he had three-hundred thousand men from the tribe of Judah that carried shield and spear. In addition, the tribe of Benjamin brought two-hundred and eighty thousand archers with shields! A sizable army!
Look in verse 8. These men were mighty men of valor. Dictionary.com defines valor as “boldness or determination in facing great danger, especially in battle; heroic courage; bravery.”
Tomorrow we will see how this stewardship paid off for Asa.
How Does Asa’s Story Apply to Us?
What made Asa’s standing in the eyes of the Lord good and right apply to us, too. We can’t hope to have God’s presence if we have articles in our houses that are images or are tied in any way to a god other than Yahweh.
In our house, we have removed everything that even hints at a pagan god. Movies, pictures, books, symbols – all of it is gone. And you know … our house feels cleaner and I think God is blessing us for it. We made a stand to clean up our act and God is honoring us for it.
We also need to be good stewards of what God has given us. This includes finances, property, children, relatives, neighbors, and strangers. We are better stewards today than we have been in the past – it is something that we have had to work on – and the times that we are living in now have shown us that we are able to get along with less and be happy – joyous, even. Sometimes, I am not sure how I am going to get to work because both gas tank and bank account are at the same level, but we have found that when we put our trust in the Lord he always comes through. We often laugh because we think He likes to wait until the last minute before opening doors – yes, he has a sense of humor.
Thank you for reading! God Bless!