Reflections on Scripture

by Wayne Bandy

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Scripture Passage



      2 Chronicles - Chapter 15 (Contemporary English Version)
    1. Some time later, God spoke to Azariah son of Oded.
    2. At once, Azariah went to Asa and said: Listen to me, King Asa and you people of Judah and Benjamin. The LORD will be with you and help you, as long as you obey and worship him. But if you disobey him, he will desert you.
    3. For a long time, the people of Israel did not worship the true God or listen to priests who could teach them about God. They refused to obey God's Law.
    4. But whenever trouble came, Israel turned back to the LORD their God and worshiped him.
    5. There was so much confusion in those days that it wasn't safe to go anywhere in Israel.
    6. Nations were destroying each other, and cities were wiping out other cities, because God was causing trouble and unrest everywhere.
    7. So you must be brave. Don't give up! God will honor you for obeying him.
    8. As soon as Asa heard what Azariah the prophet said, he gave orders for all the idols in Judah and Benjamin to be destroyed, including those in the towns he had captured in the territory of Ephraim. He also repaired the LORD's altar that was in front of the temple porch.
    9. Asa called together the people from Judah and Benjamin, as well as the people from the territories of Ephraim, West Manasseh, and Simeon who were living in Judah. Many of these people were now loyal to Asa, because they had seen that the LORD was with him.
    10. In the third month of the fifteenth year of Asa's rule, they all met in Jerusalem.
    11. That same day, they took seven hundred bulls and seven thousand sheep and goats from what they had brought back from Gerar and sacrificed them as offerings to the LORD.
    12. They made a solemn promise to faithfully worship the LORD God their ancestors had worshiped,
    13. and to put to death anyone who refused to obey him.
    14. The crowd solemnly agreed to keep their promise to the LORD, then they celebrated by shouting and blowing trumpets and horns.
    15. Everyone was happy because they had made this solemn promise, and in return, the LORD blessed them with peace from all their enemies.
    16. Asa's grandmother Maacah had made a disgusting idol of the goddess Asherah, so he cut it down, crushed it, and burned it in Kidron Valley. Then he removed Maacah from her position as queen mother.
    17. As long as Asa lived, he was faithful to the LORD, even though he did not destroy the local shrines in Israel.
    18. He placed in the temple all the silver and gold objects that he and his father had dedicated to God.
    19. There was peace in Judah until the thirty-fifth year of Asa's rule.
Reflections

2 Chronicles - Chapter 15

Entered: May 29, 2008

Asa's victory over the Cushites was a great encouragement. They had faithfully worshipped God and had called upon Him as they prepared for battle and had seen victory. When they returned home, Azariah the prophet met Asa and the army with a word from the Lord. He reminded them that if they were faithful to the Lord the Lord would be faithful to them, recounting the truth of this from history.

With this encouragement Asa stepped up his reformation of the country by removing more idols. He then called a solemn assembly of the people and offered part of the spoil from their victory over the Cushites. Asa went so far as to remove his grandmother from her position as queen mother because of her idolatry.

During this time there was defection of many people from Israel to Judah as Judah turned to God and had victory over its enemies. Those who defected included Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon. Following this, Judah enjoyed peace for many years.

Entered: October 20, 2014

After becoming king, Asa had taken some very positive steps toward reforming Judah spiritually by ridding the nation of many of its idols and pagan altars. He had also, with the Lord's help, experienced a huge victory over an army that was twice as large as his. The Lord was with Asa. To encourage Asa toward continuing what he had begun, the Lord sent the prophet Azariah to him with a message. In this message the Lord affirmed that Asa was with the Lord and the Lord was with him and then assured him that as long as he sought the Lord, He would be found. The opposite woud be true as well. If he abandoned the Lord the Lord would abandon him.

The Lord, through Azariah, reminded Asa of Israel's history of turning from the Lord and being distressed during those times with no peace. But that whenever the nation turned to Lord He was found. Then the Lord told Asa, "But as for you, be strong; don't be discouraged, for your work has a reward." (15:7) A comparible verse to this in the New Testament is found in 1 Corinthians 15:58, "Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord's work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."

These words from the Lord spurred Asa on to complete his task of reform. He continued ridding Judah of idols, not only removing them from Judah but also from cities he had captured in Ephraim. Asa's reform brought an interesting result. People from the northern tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon defected from Israel to Judah because they saw that the Lord was with Asa.

Asa didn't stop with removal of the idols. He then gathered all Judah along with the people who had defected from the northern tribes in Jerusalem to worship the Lord and to make a covenant. They sacrificed a large number of cattle and sheep from the spoils of war they had had and then they covenanted "to seek the LORD God of their ancestors with all their mind and all their heart. Whoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel would be put to death, young or old, man or woman. They took an oath to the LORD in a loud voice, with shouting, with trumpets, and with rams' horns." (15:12-14) This covenant was made by Judah "with all their mind." And because of the genuineness of their oath "the LORD gave them rest on every side." (15:15)

Asa was not yet finished, however. Next came his own family and perhaps the most difficult action in all his reform. His own grandmother had been an idolater and so he removed her from her position as queen mother. Idolatry could not be tolerated at any level if this covenant was to be upheld. Asa remained faithful to the Lord throughout his life, and experienced peace during his reign for the next 35 years.