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To the history of Asa – his name means “healing” or “restoration” – are dedicated in the first book of Kings only sixteen verses (1 Kings 15:9-Jeremiah :), while this second book of Chronicles dedicates three chapters to him.
From the long reign of Asa, the chronicler selects four events:
1. His first reformation with the resulting peace (2 Chronicles 14:1-Ruth :);
2. his victory over the Cusjiet Zera (2 Chronicles 14:9-Ezra :);
3. his second reformation as a result of his victory (2 Chronicles 15:1-Psalms :);
4. his act of unfaithfulness and its consequences (2 Chronicles 16:1-:).
We can use these four events to divide his history into, as it literally says when the end of his life is described, “the first and the last” (2 Chronicles 16:11). His life has a first and a last part. The contrasts can be seen in 2 Chronicles 14-15 on the one hand and 2 Chronicles 16 on the other hand. His history makes clear that there is a blessing attached to the search for God, but also how foolish it is to seek help from people.
Asa King of Judah
There is war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam (2 Chronicles 12:15) and between Abijah and Jeroboam (2 Chronicles 13:2), but in the days of Asa – he reigns from 911-870 BC – there is ten years rest (2 Chronicles 14:1). This is because he does what is good and right in the sight of the LORD (2 Chronicles 14:2). This rest has not been there since the tearing of the realm.
Asa with Jehoshaphat, Joash, Amaziah, Uzziah, Jotham, Hezekiah, and Josiah is one of the eight kings of Judah who do what is right “in the sight of the LORD”. The “sight of the LORD” speak of the absolute attentiveness of the LORD; nothing is hidden from him. “His eyes … like a flame of fire” (Revelation 1:14) see and see through everything. These eyes also note that of these eight kings, seven deviate from Him at a later age. Only from Jotham no deviation is mentioned (2 Kings 15:32-Zechariah :). The general testimony, however, is that they have done what is right in His sight. When someone gets older, it doesn’t automatically mean that he becomes more spiritual. None of the kings of the ten tribes did what is good in the sight of the LORD, except Jehu in the beginning of his reign.
Asa starts his reign with a big cleaning (2 Chronicles 14:3). All idolatry goes out. He also commands Judah to seek God and to observe the law and the commandment (2 Chronicles 14:4). Because Asa removes everything that dishonors God, there is rest in the kingdom during his reign (2 Chronicles 14:5). The seeking and doing of the Lord’s will gives peace. It is good to remove evil, but if seeking the Lord does not replace it, a vacuum will arise that will be filled by the evil one (cf. Matthew 12:43-Romans :).
Also, observing “the law and the commandment” provides protection against an invasion by the enemy. If the believer feeds on the truth of God’s Word and lives up to it, it will make him strong, and his life will be to the glory of God. A time of rest is a time when the flesh is not active and the fruit of the Spirit becomes visible.
Asa makes good use of the time of rest by strengthening the cities (2 Chronicles 14:6; cf. Acts 9:31). In a time of rest we should not be unemployed, but busy. Strengthening the defense (2 Chronicles 14:7) can be applied to strengthening our spiritual life:
1. Walls” speak of separation from the world to God, which gives security.
2. “Towers” are lookouts and speak of being attentive to an attack by the enemy, so we can see him from afar.
3. “Gates” speak of allowing the good and closing for the wrong.
4. “Bars” ensure the safety of life, that nothing is allowed in it that is detrimental to the new life.
Asa does all this at the beginning of his reign.
The example of Asa is therefore especially applicable to the newly converted or the youth, for whom life with the Lord is still ahead of them. The seeking of the Lord gives rest. From that rest can be built a healthy spiritual life. It is important that young believers feed on God’s Word and read books that explain God’s Word and work confirmation in faith. Those who do so will be prosperous in the growth of their faith life.
The rest that Asa has, does not make him carefree. He also has a well-equipped army to repel any possible attack on the people. The men of Judah can fight with spears if they have to deal with an enemy nearby (2 Chronicles 14:8). The large shield can stop the arrows being fired at them from a distance. The men of Benjamin can shoot with the bow to hit an enemy from a distance. The small shields can repel the sword from the enemy when it is close to them. The men from Judah and Benjamin are all “valiant warriors”. They stand shoulder to shoulder and are complementary in their abilities.
Victory Over the Ethiopians
In these verses we have a second history in the life of Asa. The LORD has given him rest. Everything is in peace. Then comes the trial. If Asa has everything in order, “the evil day” comes (Ephesians 6:13). Then it turns out that he stands firm because he has put on the armor. The fact that the enemy comes here to Asa (2 Chronicles 14:9) is not the result of deviation. Then the enemy’s attack would be a disciplinary act of God to make the people return to Him through it. However, the people here have not deviated from the LORD. The LORD has another intention with this attack. He allows the enemy to go up against Judah to test the faith of the people.
The way in which Asa engages in the battle provides proof of his loyalty and consecration. When the enemy goes up against him, he goes out to meet him (2 Chronicles 14:10). Asa is not afraid. The lack of fear is not because he relies on his trained and well-equipped army. The enemy’s attack leads him to prayer (2 Chronicles 14:11). He is not blind to the superiority of the enemy. The enemy’s army is twice as big as his army. He sees himself facing a huge crowd and realizes that he lacks the strength to overcome this enemy. However, he knows the power of the LORD. He calls to Him and thereby places the LORD between himself and the enemy.
If God stands between us and our difficulties, the difficulties will not fade away, but we will measure them according to the power of God and not according to our own strength, or better: the lack thereof. If our cause and that of God are one, we are invincible. Asa, who sought God in his prosperity, approaches to Him with boldness in days of trial. He goes to Him as “His God” (2 Chronicles 14:11). This personal relationship with God is of the utmost importance in every circumstance in which we find ourselves.
The prayer of Asa is short, but rich in content. In it he expresses his unconditional confidence in God’s omnipotence (cf. 1 Samuel 14:6). He knows and pronounces that the LORD is the only One Who can help. Asa relies only on Him. He also knows that the LORD is there for everyone who recognizes his own powerlessness and therefore calls upon Him. Asa can also say that he did not end up in this situation because of willfulness. He knows that he is in the way of the LORD, and that in His Name he has come against the enemy, “this multitude”.
Therefore he boldly appeals to God, that He proves Himself strongly to these mortals. He makes it a matter between the LORD, the Almighty God of His people, and man. What will man be able to do against that almighty God? There is a great faith and also a great knowledge of God in what Asa says about God and in the way he speaks to Him.
His prayer is heard. The LORD stands up for Asa and Judah. He strikes the Ethiopians in such a way that they flee (2 Chronicles 14:12). Asa and the people pursue them and kill many. As a result, there is no power left for the enemy to resume battle. God gives a great victory. The army of Israel is the army of the LORD, “His army” (2 Chronicles 14:13). The cities that are overwhelmed are aware that the judgment comes over them because of the LORD, the God of Israel (2 Chronicles 14:14; cf. Exodus 23:27; Deuteronomy 11:25; Joshua 2:9; Revelation 6:16). After the victory the booty is taken to Jerusalem, God’s center (2 Chronicles 14:15).
Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op 2 Chronicles 14". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent