Today’s Reading: 2 Chronicles 13 – 17
Today’s Reflection: 2 Chronicles 14:1-2
1) Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David. And Asa his son reigned in his place. In his days the land had rest for ten years. 2) And Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God.
Background: Asa became king of Judah after his father King Abijah died. Though he only sat on the throne of a fraction of the kingdom his great-great-grandfather King David had ruled, Asa would have seen his father defeat the army of Israel and rule over them because of his trust in the Lord (2 Chronicles 13). He saw that obedience to God brought victory, security and peace and committed to living this out when he ruled Judah.
Of war and peace: The kings of Judah and Israel seem to have constantly been at war, both with each other and with other nations, but Asa’s reign began with 10 years of peace. When Ethiopia attacked Judah, with an army 3 times their size, Asa turned to God for deliverance and God brought about a miraculous victory for His people. After this the prophet Azariah approached Asa with and admonishion to obey God completely. Asa’s response was to remove all of the idols from the land of Judah, to repair the altar of the Lord, reinstituted sacrifices to God, and even removed his mother from her royal office because she worshiped false gods (2 Chronicles 15). After this Asa would reign over another 25 years of peace in Judah.
The Lesson: In short, obedience brings peace. This goes for the rule of a nation, or the discipline of one’s own life. Even when Asa was faced with war for the first time he didn’t panic or abandon the Lord. Turning to God in prayer in the midst of challenging circumstances is an act of someone who was clearly at peace. We need to understand that harmony with the ways of God brings peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7), no matter what our circumstances.
We must also understand that this peace only lasts as long as we are obedient. After 35 years of rule and submission to God, Israel attempted to isolate Judah by building a blockade around it. This time Asa didn’t turn to God. Instead he made an alliance with Syria. Though he succeeded in stopping Israel’s blockade, Asa received word that his failure to trust God would cost Judah its peace (2 Chronicles 16). Just as obedience brings peace, disobedience brings war, strife and ultimately destruction.
3) For a long time Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest and without law, 4) but when in their distress they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them. 5) In those times there was no peace to him who went out or to him who came in, for great disturbances afflicted all the inhabitants of the lands. 6) They were broken in pieces. Nation was crushed by nation and city by city, for God troubled them with every sort of distress. 7) But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.”