ASA – 3rd King of Judah
By Dennis Huebshman
This message is found in 1 Kings 15:9-22 and 2 Chronicles 14-16.
Before I get started, how about a couple clichés:
Let Go and Let God!
If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got!
Know Jesus, Know Peace; No Jesus, No Peace.
F.R.O.G – Fully Rely On God
The King we are going to talk about initially followed the FROG.
ASA was the third king of Judah. His father was Abijan, Grandfather was Rehoboam, great grandfather Solomon and great-great grandfather was David who was the 2nd king of all Israel after Saul the first king.
After Solomon, the kingdom divided, and 10 tribes made up Israel and 2 made up the southern kingdom of Judah. Also, after Solomon, all the kings of Israel, except Jehu, were listed as bad kings. They practiced idolatry and turned away from the Lord God Jehovah and did much evil in His sight.
On the Judah side, there were more kings than Israel that were good and followed God’s will. Asa was the first king that did this. His father and grandfather were both idol worshipers and did evil in the sight of the Lord. Asa’s total reign was 41 years and was from about 913 – 873 BC.
When Asa became King, he had about 10 years of peace, and for whatever reason, he decided to do right in the eyes of God. He took out all the foreign altars and high places where the people had made sacrifices to the false gods.
In fact, the Queen Mother – Maacah – was an idol worshiper and Asa had her removed from rule. She was a daughter of Absalom – David’s son – which made her his grandmother. She worshiped gods of fertility which Asa destroyed.
He also shut down prostitution and homosexuality and told the people these practices would bring death upon them.
Just a bit of History:
It should be noted, when the Babylonian captivity took place, the 10 tribes of Israel fell first. This was mainly because they turned evil right after Solomon and stayed that way. The southern 2 tribes had more kings that led their people in the way of the Lord, and they were the last to fall. In fact, for a while the evil/good ratio was just about equal until it got down to the fall. A couple of Judah’s kings were the most evil of all toward the end – Manasseh just to name one. Josiah was two kings after Manasseh and the last good King. There were 4 more after him.
Back to Asa:
During Asa’s reign, he made up an army of 580K men. Zerah (Ethiopian) decided to come against Asa, and he had 1 million men and 300 chariots. Asa prayed for deliverance, and the Lord obliged. Because of Asa’s petition to the Lord, he was victorious against Zerah and sent the whole army running. While chasing their army back the way they came, Asa’s army conquered all the cities around and gained a whole lot of bounty while doing so.
Shortly after this, the prophet Azariah counseled Asa and told him to reinforce strict national observance of Judaism and Asa paid heed to what he said. Azariah told Asa that if he sought the Lord, the Lord would be with him, but if he forsook the Lord, the Lord would forsake him. This was one of those covenants that God said “If you will…. Then I will…” It depended on the recipient of the covenant to follow God’s will.
Asa gave great sacrifices to the Lord from the spoils of war, held a great festival and feast, and had all Judah take a vow that whoever would not seek the God of Israel would be put to death great or small. The land of Judah lived in peace for about 20 years.
Now, in about the 36th year of Asa’s reign, King Baasha of Israel came against him. This time, Asa did not call on God for deliverance, but took valuables from his treasury and sent it to King Ben-hadad of Syria so he would come and help. They were able to stop Baasha, but displeased God.
God sent the prophet Hanani to confront Asa about not relying on Jehovah. Rather than repent as his great-great grandfather David did when confronted by the prophet Nathan, Asa put Hanani in prison. He turned bitter and began to abuse his people, and in his 39th year or reign was struck with a severe disease in his feet. The disease afflicted him the rest of his life, and He died in his 41st year of reign.
My question is, and it’s not answered in scripture, why did Asa turn away from God when he had such a good start? He tasted the glory of the Father through his early days of being king and had great success in bringing happiness and peace to his people. The threat from Baasha was no greater than Zerah, and he had the promise from the prophet Azariah that as long as he honored God, he would be honored. God kept His promise and the last two years of Asa’s reign were in misery. Why do people today turn away from God after a good start?
We see this happening a lot today. This is one of the problems this world is facing – a falling away from God. Our nation was once the greatest nation on earth, and probably the most blessed because the people called on the Lord. The authors of the Declaration of Independence were Christian oriented, and over half were pastors. Up until the 1960’s, there was no shame in this nation for calling on God. Lately, we see a calling, but not to the God of the Bible.
We see people who think there are a variety of ways to heaven, and don’t want to be bothered with sincere worship. It’s become a chore rather than a privilege. People are “religious”, but just don’t want you talking about Jesus or sin or hell because it makes them uncomfortable. Other nations have lost their respect for us, and personally I can’t blame them. God has not changed. Those who honor Him will be honored, and those that turn from Him he will turn from them. This is not a cliché. Our whole world is changing, and there’s an apathy in the people toward it.
Now for the big news, God is not surprised. It is said in the Bible that in the latter days, there would be a turning away from the faith, and people would seek their own passions. God said waaaay back then, (about 2000 years ago) he would allow them to have their way and in fact would send them a delusion because of this. He also said that those who would stay faithful he would re-inforce their belief.
It’s up to each individual how you will react to this message. Some will say this is just ancient history and doesn’t affect me. Others will see the pattern and decide to follow God as Asa did at the first of his reign. The choice is yours. God honors us by allowing us free will to decide.
As Joshua said in Chapter 24 verse 15, me and my family chose to serve the Lord.
Who do you wish to choose to follow? If you need to accept Jesus, ask Him right now to come into your heart. If you believe there’s things in your life that is driving you apart from the Lord, tell Him about them and ask His help in overcoming them. Just don’t pass it off and think you’ve got plenty of time. Today just might be your last chance. I have known many people who thought they had plenty of time, yet it ran out in an instant. Don’t let the opportunity to accept Jesus pass by you.
You don’t need fancy words or rituals. Just believe Jesus is God’s Son, tell Him you are sorry for your sins, and you want Him to come into your life as your Savior. He already knows what you have done and is ready to forgive your for whatever you have done. The only sin that will keep you out of Heaven and get an address in the Lake of Fire is to reject Jesus. Period.
Once you have accepted Him, talk to Him daily (prayer). Don’t go into long drawn out ritualistic language but talk to Him as if He’s your best friend, because He is. He just wants a relationship where He can take you to be with Him someday and is willing to forgive you for what you’ve done here. Your part is to BELIEVE this is true, and the Bible is the inerrant word of God. Hope to see you at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb spoke of in Revelation.