Read II Chronicles 14 - 17
In Today's Reading:
King Asa's reforms; his covenant with God; his treaty with Syria (Aram); Asa rebuked by Hanani; Asa's death; Jehoshaphat succeeds Asa
King Asa was the grandson of Rehoboam and the great-grandson of Solomon. But Asa rejected their pagan idols (II Chronicles 14:1-7). Asa was greatly encouraged by the prophet Azariah the son of Oded (15:1). When Azariah spoke, Asa . . . took courage, and put away the abominable (detestable) idols out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from Mount Ephraim, and renewed (restored) the altar of the LORD, that was before the porch of the LORD. And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon: for they fell (defected) to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the LORD his God was with him. . . . And they entered into a covenant (agreement) to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul. . . . and the LORD gave them rest (peace) round about (from war for 10 years) (15:8-9,12,15).
Asa left no room for compromise. He took away the sodomites (male cult prostitutes) out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made (I Kings 15:12). He even removed his own grandmother Maachah from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove (shrine for the goddess Asherah); and Asa destroyed her idol, and burned it by the brook Kidron (15:13; II Chronicles 15:16).
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.
As his wealth and power increased, Asa's dependence upon God decreased. Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said to him, 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 and boldness for all of us to remain faithful in the midst of a hostile world: For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him (II Chronicles 16:9).
Through the rest that God gave Judah (II Chronicles 14:7). Jesus declared: Take My yoke upon you . . . and you shall find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:29).
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 waxed great exceedingly = became increasingly powerful; castles = fortresses, strongholds.
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Prayer Suggestion: Pray the Lord of the harvest to send workers to harvest for Him (Matthew 9:38).
Optional Reading: I Corinthians 12
Memory Verse for the Week: John 10:27