When David’s kingdom was divided, Rehoboam reigned over Judah, the southern portion of the kingdom. During his seventeen-year reign, “Judah did what was evil in the Lord’s sight”(1 Kings 14:21-22). His son, Abijam (or Abijah), ruled for three years. “Abijam walked in all the sins his father before him had committed, and he was not wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord his God as his ancestor David had been” (1 Kings 15:3).
For twenty years, Judah devolved into the sinful lifestyle of their pagan neighbors. Obscene sexual sin was widely tolerated and openly practiced. Idol worship became the norm. That’s when David’s great-great-grandson, Asa, became king.
“Asa did what was right in the Lord’s sight, as his ancestor David had done. He banished the male cult prostitutes from the land and removed all of the idols that his ancestors had made. He also removed his grandmother Maacah from being queen mother because she had made an obscene image of Asherah. Asa chopped down her obscene image and burned it in the Kidron Valley. The high places were not taken away, but Asa was wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord his entire life” (1 Kings 15:11–14).
Asa led the nation to repent. “Asa did what was good and right in the sight of the Lord his God. He removed the pagan altars and the high places. He shattered their sacred pillars and chopped down their Asherah poles... He also removed the high places and the shrines from all the cities of Judah, and the kingdom experienced peace under him” (2 Chronicles 14:2–3, 5).
He led his people to return to the Lord, to remember that Jehovah was the Living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. “He told the people of Judah to seek the Lord God of their ancestors and to carry out the instruction and the commands” (2 Chronicles 14:4).
Once, when a million-man army from northern Africa threatened to invade, Asa rallied his troops. “Three hundred thousand from Judah bearing large shields and spears, and two hundred eighty thousand from Benjamin bearing regular shields and drawing the bow. All these were valiant warriors” (2 Chronicles 14:8).
Outnumbered almost two-to-one, “Asa cried out to the Lord his God, ‘Lord, there is no one besides you to help the mighty and those without strength. Help us, Lord our God, for we depend on you, and in your name we have come against this large army. Lord, you are our God. Do not let a mere mortal hinder you.’ So the Lord routed the Cushites” (2 Chronicles 14:11–12). Asa prayed! God gave the victory!
Asa’s life and work teach us a lesson. Yes, there’s a macro-application, but let’s consider the micro-application. We could apply these truths to nations and governments, but let’s personalize it. The lesson is for me and you. Listen to what God says...
“The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you abandon him, he will abandon you. For many years Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without instruction, but when they turned to the LordGod of Israel in their distress and sought him, he was found by them” (2 Chronicles 15:2–4).
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.