Highlights In Today's Reading:
Asa follows Abijam as king of Judah, reforming much of the nation and doing right in the eyes of the Lord. He is warned by the prophet Azariah (15:7). Then after sweeping reforms he turns away from God and another warning comes (16:9). Asa dies and his son Jehoshaphat begins his reign in Chapter 17.
When Zerah, the Ethiopian king, declared war on the Southern Kingdom of Judah, King Asa and the nation of Judah were faced with a million soldiers who had 300 chariots — the largest army recorded in the Old Testament (14:9).
Asa prayed and reminded the Lord that He alone could give victory to a small army as easily as to a powerful one. And Asa cried unto the Lord his God, and said, Lord, it is nothing with Thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O Lord our God; for we rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go against this multitude, O Lord, Thou art our God; let not man prevail against Thee. So the Lord smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled (14:11-12). It is not surprising that as Asa and his outnumbered army fought, the Lord smote the Ethiopians.
Asa further led the people to renew their covenant with the Lord. And they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul; That whosoever would not seek the Lord God of Israel should be put to death. . . . And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought Him with their whole desire; and He was found of them: and the Lord gave them rest round about (15:12,15).
Asa and the Kingdom of Judah enjoyed many years of prosperity. Later when Baasha, King of Israel, became a threat to his border cities, Asa should have prayed again in faith and asked God for direction. Instead, he gave silver and gold out of the treasures of the House of the Lord (16:2) to Ben-hadad, King of Syria, to declare war on Israel. This marked a spiritual decline in Asa's life, and he died in shame (16:10-13). Asa's wealth became his weakness and he felt no need to rely on God.
Like Asa, too often we tend to rely on other people or worldly means instead of depending on God — even though we have received answers to prayer in the past.
The Lord warns us against turning away from the living God in unbelief (Hebrews 3:12). An independent attitude has its root in pride and will weaken our trust in the Lord. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness (II Peter 3:17).
Thought for Today:
It is not beauty, strength or wealth that makes us great, but only faithfulness to obey God's Word.
Through the rest that God gave Judah (II Chronicles 14:7). Jesus pleads: Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).
14:15 tents of cattle =b> livestock enclosures; 15:5 vexations =b> disturbances, turmoil; 15:16 mother =b> grandmother; stamped it =b> crushed it; 16:14 sepulchres =b> tombs; 17:12 waxed great exceedingly =b> became increasingly powerful; castles =b> fortresses, strongholds.
Pray for Arabic International Shortwave Broadcasts in memory of Doris M. Miller • Staff: Michael Sharp • Government Officials: Sen. Amy Klobuchar (MN), Sen. Gordon Smith (OR), and Rep. Ed Whitfield (KY) • Country: Qatar (600,000) in southwestern Asia • Major languages: Arabic and English • Muslim conversion to Christ is forbidden, but expatriate Christians are allowed to meet informally • 79.5% Muslim; 10.5% Christian; 7.2% Hindu; 1.8% Buddhist; .9% non-Religious/Other • Prayer Suggestion: Rejoice that the Lord protects you and provides your needs (Philippians 4:4).
Optional Reading: I Corinthians 12
Memory Verse for the Week: I Peter 2:2