- Asa Does Right By God
- An Ethiopian Army Attacks
- A Message From God
- Israel vs. Judah
- Death of Asa
- References and Footnotes
- Other Pages to View
Asa was the son of Abijah who inherited the throne after his father's death. Asa leads the southern kingdom of Judah for 41 years, most of which are peaceful.
Asa Does Right By God
Asa is a good king for Israel because he follows the way of God. God rewards the kingdom with 10 years of peace. During this time of rest they expand their cities and prosper. Israel always experienced favor when they followed God, however it is obvious that like us today, they were prone to chalking this up to coincidence. Despite the obvious correlation of peace under godly kings and war under ungodly kings, the Israelites still bounced between obedient and idolatrous like a yo-yo.
An Ethiopian Army Attacks
The peace did not last forever, however. At some point, presumably at the end of the 10 years, an Ethiopian army came against Israel. As the army approached, Asa cried out to God for help and God defeated the army.
This is something to remember and contrast with later kings of Judah. Near the end of the kingdom, kings stop relying on God to fight their battles and begin to spend the treasures of the Temple to buy allies. When God fights our battles, we are guaranteed a sure victory. While God may send us allies (re: fellow believers) to support us, mankind can never guarantee us a victory. God told the Israelites not to associate with the pagan nations, which means He would never advocate for the joining of these nations in alliance.
A Message From God
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
God sends a man named Azariah to speak to Asa about Israel (this is likely a reference to the northern kingdom, not the nation a a whole). God reminds Asa that even though Israel has completely lost their way, when they repented and returned to God, He heard their pleas and answered. Throughout the Old Testament God lays out the consequences and curses of disobeying Him, but He always adds the clause that when Israel calls out to Him, He will hear.
When Asa hears this, he is determined to stay on the right path with God. He gathers the people of Judah together to offer the spoils of their war with Ethiopia to God. During this time, they make a covenant to kill anyone who does not worship God. The depth of Asa's commitment is shown when he demotes his grandmother, Maachah, because she made idols. Remember the Bible never uses the words grandmother, grandfather, grandson, or granddaughter, as we do today. Everyone is referred to as mother or father, son or daughter, regardless of how many generations have passed. We know that Maachah's relationship to Asa was actually grandmother because Maachah was the wife of Rehoboam (Asa's grandfather).
Their commitment to God is wonderful and brings peace once again. This peace lasts until the 35th year of Asa's reign.
Israel vs. Judah
We aren't told what type of conflict begins during Asa's 35th year, but likely tensions began to rise between Israel and Judah. I say this because during Asa's 36th year, Baasha, the king of Israel, begins building a fort at Ramah to cut off Judah from the world. This indicated a conflict between the two kingdoms. Naturally, with Israel being the larger of the two kingdoms, this caused Asa to worry.
Unlike Asa's encounter with Ethiopia, Asa doesn't rely on God to help Judah. Instead he sends gold and silver from the Temple to Benhadad, king of Syria for support. It is interesting to me that despite being overall described as a good king, Asa's reaction was not to call on God. Surely God could have delivered them without the need of emptying the Temple of its treasures, besides Asa had already witnessed God's miracles.
We often doubt God and take problems into our own hands rather than seek God's help, even today. I think this issue proves that the nature of experiencing God is tethered to faith. The Israelites struggled with faith for their entire history despite having so many close encounters with God. One would think after seeing God's cloud in the Temple, or being led our of Egypt, or witnessing God decimate an entire army, everyone would know that their God was the One True God. The fact that this didn't happen proves that we see what we want to see.
Nonetheless, Asa's plan is successful and Syria decimates Israel, causing Baasha to cease his work on the fort to defend his kingdom. When he leaves, the people of Judah carry away the stones and wood he was using to build the fort. If he wanted to continue the project, he would have to start from scratch.
When Asa returns to Jerusalem, a seer (or prophet) makes the same point I make, that Asa should have relied on God to win. The prophet, tells Asa that because of his failure to do so, he will have wars from then on out. Asa is angry with the assessment (as we often are when told we are wrong). Thus Asa places the man in jail and begins oppressing some of the people.
Death of Asa
During Asa's 39th year, he gets a disease in his feet. Again, instead of seeking God, he goes to physicians. We aren't told what the physicians do, or even what the disease is, but Asa manages to live another 2 years before dying. Upon his death, the people bury him in the city of David.
Asa's disease is thought to have been diabetes, which can cause a host of problems in the foot.
Most people interpret that his sin was not that he went to healers but that he did not seek out God during the process.
References and Footnotes
- Holman Bible Publishers. Holman KJV Study Bible, pg. 755. 2014
- Foot Complications. American Diabetes Association; visited March 11, 2017
Other Pages to View