May 25

Read 2 Chronicles 14 -- 17

In Today's Reading:

King Asa's reforms; his covenant with God; his treaty with Syria; Asa rebuked by Hanani; Asa's death; Jehoshaphat succeeds Asa.

Verse for Today:

Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God: For he took away the altars of the strange gods . . . And commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers, and to do the Law and the Commandment (2 Chronicles 14:2-4).

King Asa was the grandson of Rehoboam and the great-grandson of Solomon. But Asa rejected their pagan cults. He was greatly encouraged by Azariah the son of Oded (the prophet) (2 Chronicles 15:1). When Azariah spoke, Asa . . . took courage, and put away the abominable idols out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from Mount Ephraim, and (he) renewed the Altar (of Burnt Offering) of the Lord. . . . And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin. . . . And they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart . . . and the Lord gave them rest (peace) round about. . . . The heart of Asa was perfect all his days (15:8-9,12,15-17).

Asa left no room for compromise. He (boldly) took away the sodomites (homosexuals) out of the land (1 Kings 15:12). He even removed his grandmother Maachah from being queen, because she had made an idol . . . and Asa [cut down] her idol, and [burned] it [at] the Brook Kidron (15:13; 2 Chronicles 15:16). Asa could humbly say: Because we have sought the Lord our God . . . He [has] given us rest (from war for 10 years) on every side (14:7).

You can be sure that, when anyone takes a firm stand for moral and spiritual values, Satan will instigate opposition and then seek to bring about a compromise in that person's positive declaration of faith. So, we are not surprised to read: There came out against them (Judah) Zerah the Ethiopian with a host of a thousand thousand (an army of one million men), and three hundred chariots (14:9). This massive army was the second largest recorded in biblical history. However, this did not weaken Asa's faith. He confidently prayed: Help us, O Lord our God; for we [rely] on [You], and in [Your] Name we go against this multitude. O Lord, [You are] our God; let not man prevail against [You] (14:11).

Though he stood strong against idols, as his wealth and power increased, we read that Asa's dependence upon God decreased: In the [thirty-sixth] year of the reign of Asa, Baasha King of Israel came up against Judah (16:1). This time, instead of praying for the Lord's guidance, Asa relied on human reason and depended upon his own judgment and he made a league with Ben-hadad, King of Syria, to fight the battle for him. Syria had a great victory, but the prophet Hanani boldly rebuked Asa, saying: Because [you have] relied on the King of Syria, and not relied on the Lord [your] God, therefore is the host of the King of Syria escaped out of [your] hand (16:7).

Hanani was put in prison for his faithful witness, but his words have imparted immeasurable faith to remain faithful in the midst of a spiritually hostile environment: For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect (blameless) toward Him (2 Chronicles 16:9).

Christ Revealed:

Through the rest that God gave Judah (2 Chronicles 14:7). Jesus declared: Take My yoke upon you . . . and ye shall find rest unto your souls (Matthew 11:29).

Word Studies:

14:15 tents of cattle = livestock enclosures; 15:5 vexations = disturbances, turmoil; 15:16 mother = grandmother; stamped it = crushed it; 16:14 sepulchres = tombs; 17:12 castles = fortresses, strongholds; waxed great exceedingly = became increasingly powerful.

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Sen. Gordon Smith (OR) and Rep. Ed Whitfield (KY) · Pray for your Church · Country: Gabon (1 million) in west-central Africa · Major language: French · Religious freedom · 66% Roman Catholic; 30% Protestant; 3% animism and ancestor worship · Prayer Suggestion: Pray for godly discernment to know the Lord's will (Ezekiel 44:23).

Optional Reading: 1 Corinthians 12

Memory Verse for the Week: Ephesians 6:17