Highlights In Today's Reading:
Asa reigns. How many years of peace (14:1)? And why (14:2)? Check out his prayer (14:11)! He's warned (15:2). Bold reforms follow (15:8). Asa slips up and reaps the consequences (chap. 16). Asa dies. Jehoshaphat rules (17:1). This is a "good" king (17:3-6). He wants everybody to know what God said!
Asa, the third king of Judah after the division of the kingdom, was the great-grandson of Solomon. But Asa rejected the pagan cults that his father Abijah had supported. Asa was greatly encouraged by Azariah the son of Oded, a prophet who influenced the king to destroy the idols and restore the Temple worship to what it was during the days of David (15:1-15).
We know very little about Oded except that he spoke to Asa, who then took courage, and put away the abominable idols out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin . . . and renewed the Altar of 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 (15:8,12). Revival swept throughout Judah.
Asa even removed his grandmother from being queen because she had made an idol in a grove: and Asa cut down her idol, and stamped it, and burnt it at the brook Kidron (15:16). He left no room for compromise. He destroyed the high places and the altars set apart for idolatrous worship. He cut down the groves (II Chron. 14:3); he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made (I Kin. 15:12). You can be sure that when anyone takes a firm stand openly for the Lord that Satan will seek every way possible to bring about a compromise. So it is no surprise when we read: There came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian with an host of a thousand thousand, and three hundred chariots (II Chron. 14:9).
This army of a million was the largest recorded in biblical history. However, this did not shake the faith of Asa who, with his comparatively small army, boldly faced the enemy — not relying upon his own strength but on the Lord. And he prayed 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 (14:11).
As a result the people united with him. Just think! There were no wars for ten years and rest (14;1,7; 15:12-17). Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him (Ps. 37:7).
Thought for Today:
Compromise is one of the greatest sins of our day. It happens every time we disobey the Word of God and accept this world's values.
Through the rest that God gave Judah (II Chr. 14:7). Jesus pleads: Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matt. 11:28).
14:15 tents of cattle =b> tents of the cattle herders; 15:5 vexations =b> disturbances, troubles, turmoil; 15:16 mother =b> grandmother; stamped it =b> crushed it to dust; 16:14 sepulchres =b> tombs; 17:12 waxed great exceedingly =b> became increasingly powerful; castles =b> fortresses, strongholds.
Pray for Arabic International Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by M. Ora Anderson • Radio Sri Lanka Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by Mrs. Pam Ford • Staff: Barbara Jean Loyd • Government Officials: Sen. Amy Klobuchar (MN) and Rep. Ed Whitfield (KY) • Country: Mozambique (19 million) on the eastern coast of Africa • Major language: Portuguese • Religious freedom • 40% worship of false gods, ancestral spirits, and some witchcraft; 23% Roman Catholic; 14% Protestant; 13% Muslim • Prayer Suggestion: Pray for your Christian friends (Phil. 1:4).
Optional Reading: 1 Corinthians 12
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 6:32