Asa King of Judah

Reading Time: 10 Min.

We will see that the spiritual position of the king had a great impact on Judah and Israel. When the king obeyed God and his heart was perfect before God they prospered and God gave them rest.

II Chronicles 14
:1 So Abijah slept with his fathers,
    and they buried him in the city of David:
    and Asa his son reigned in his stead.
    In his days the land was quiet [shaqat] ten years.
:2 And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God:
:3 For he took away the altars of the strange gods,
        and the high places,
    and brake down the images,
    and cut down the groves:
:4 And commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers,
    and to do the law and the commandment.
:5 Also he took away
        out of all the cities of Judah
    the high places and the images:
    and the kingdom was quiet [shaqat] before him.
:6 And he built fenced cities in Judah:
    for the land had rest, [quiet - shaqat]
    and he had no war in those years;
    because the LORD had given him rest . [nuwach - rest]

God protected his borders. God kept the neighboring countries at bay. Looking at a topographical map that shows the vegetation and terrain the area that Judah and Israel occupies is fertile and at that time quite lush (remember the 10 spies brought a huge cluster of grapes that took two men to carry and the land could support over 2 million people without God giving them manna). This area is sought after by neighboring kingdoms because it is also a corridor of commerce between the kingdoms north of them, Mesopotamia (east across the wilderness) and Egypt. This is a very high traffic area and difficult to defend.

:7 Therefore he said unto Judah,
        Let us build these cities,
        and make about them walls,
            and towers,
            and bars,
        while the land is yet before us;
        because we have sought the LORD our God,
            we have sought him,
        and he hath given us rest [nuwach] on every side.
    So they built and prospered.

God uses two different words for quiet and rest; shaqat- to repose, be quiet, and nuwach-make to rest or settle down. It was quiet- shaqat- in the land because God gave them rest-nuwach- from their enemies and prospered them.

The precise use of words never ceases to thrill me. We, as Americans, have become sloppy and ambiguous with our use of words. I have studied German for 5 years. Their language is much more precise in their meanings. That is when I first realized the inadequate use at times of American English. When I am reading I ask myself if I am really reading what is written and am I really understanding what I am reading. Looking at the Greek and Hebrew words in the text makes clear the meaning.

Why was it quiet in Judah? God gave them rest because Asa did that which was right in eyes of the Lord. He also destroyed the idols; removing the false gods that drew God's people away from Him.

Now I am sure many of us do not have idols in our homes which we worship like golden calves or statues of goddesses. But there are still things that get in the way of us worshipping God: lust for money or sex or success or recognition or an inordinate affection for watching TV, health issues. Are you letting something get in the way of building your relationship with God and doing His Word and works? Are you too busy fighting your own battles to let God do it for you? Time and time again we see God going to battle for His people; He has not changed. You probably do not have Philistines or Amorites threatening your household but what is your battle? Is it money, co-workers, neighbors, your spouse?

Asa had rest 10 years and during that time he didn't rest on his laurels, he built up his cities and armies--he believed for the best yet prepared for the worst. His army consisted of 580,000 all of which were mighty men of valour (14:8). When all is going well for us it is not time to thank God and forsake him but to continually offer praise and glorify Him, keeping our heads and hearts in His Word. When times of trouble do show up we will be prepared to let God fight the battle.

Asa wasn't totally free from troubles but he went to God for the answers:

II Chronicles 14
:9 And there came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian
    with an host of a thousand thousand, and three hundred chariots;
        [one million men and 300 chariots]
    and came unto Mareshah.
:10 Then Asa went out against him,
    and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah.
:11 And Asa cried 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, [rest; sha?n - lean on, rely on]
    and in thy name we go against this multitude.
    O LORD, thou art our God;
    let not man prevail against thee.
:12 So the LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa,
        and before Judah;
    and the Ethiopians fled.
:13 And Asa and the people that were with him pursued them unto Gerar:
    and the Ethiopians were overthrown,
        that they could not recover themselves;
        for they were destroyed before the LORD,
            and before his host;
    and they carried away very much spoil.
:14 And they smote all the cities round about Gerar;
        for the fear of the LORD came upon them:
    and they spoiled all the cities;
        for there was exceeding much spoil in them.
:15 They smote also the tents of cattle,
    and carried away sheep and camels in abundance,
    and returned to Jerusalem.

Asa knew where his prosperity and strength resided. It wasn't in his own fenced cities and large army. It wasn't in his own abilities, his strength was with God. Look at the structure of his prayer:

:11 And Asa cried 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:
                [he gave God the glory, humbling himself before Him and recognizing His awesome power]
        help us, O LORD our God;
        for we rest on thee, [rest; sha?n - lean on, rely on]
            [Asa recognizes the source of Judah's strength and well being]
        and in thy name we go against this multitude.
            [It is Asa's duty to defend Judah and he is giving God the exalted position of doing all in His name.]
        O LORD, thou art our God;
            [there are no other gods before Him]
        let not man prevail against thee.
            ["just a reminder God, it would look good if man prevailed against you; this battle is Yours"]

And the result:

:12 So the LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa,
        and before Judah;
    and the Ethiopians fled.

God fought the battle. They were once again outnumbered almost 2:1. No matter what the odds they relied on God, Asa went to God first. Jesus Christ echoed the same principle--God first:

Matthew 6
:24 No man can serve two masters:
    for either he will hate the one,
        and love the other;
    or else he will hold to the one,
        and despise the other.
    Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
:25 Therefore I say unto you,
    Take no thought for your life, [do not be anxious or overly concerned about]
        what ye shall eat,
        or what ye shall drink;
    nor yet for your body,
        what ye shall put on.
    Is not the life more than meat,
    and the body than raiment?
:26 Behold the fowls of the air:
        for they sow not,
        neither do they reap,
        nor gather into barns;
        yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.
    Are ye not much better than they?
:27 Which of you
        by taking thought
    can add one cubit unto his stature?
:28 And why take ye thought for raiment?
    Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow;
        they toil not,
        neither do they spin:
:29 And yet I say unto you,
    That even Solomon
        in all his glory
    was not arrayed like one of these.
:30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field,
        which to day is,
        and to morrow is cast into the oven,
    shall he not much more clothe you,
    O ye of little faith?
:31 Therefore take no thought, saying,
        What shall we eat? or,
        What shall we drink? or,
        Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
:32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:)
    for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God ,
        and his righteousness;
    and all these things shall be added unto you.
:34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow:
        for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.
    Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Asa knew his sufficiency was of God and God took care of him because he did the Word, he relied on God.

II Corinthians 3
:4 And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:
:5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves
        to think any thing as of ourselves;
    but our sufficiency is of God;

9:6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly;
    and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart,
    so let him give;
        not grudgingly,
        or of necessity:
        for God loveth a cheerful giver.

The word cheerful--hilaros--is only used once in the Word. We get our word hilarious from it.

:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you;
    that ye,
        always having all sufficiency in all things,
    may abound to every good work:

As we give God will grant us our sufficiency that we may abound to every good work. Not a bad deal. He will give us the wherewithal to serve Him. If you are bound up with fear or worry you not trusting Him. God does not want us anxious:

Philippians 4
:6 Be careful [anxious] for nothing;
    but in every thing
        by prayer
        and supplication
        with thanksgiving
    let your requests be made known unto God.
:7 And the peace of God,
        which passeth all understanding,
    shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
:8 Finally, brethren,
    whatsoever things are true,
    whatsoever things are honest,
    whatsoever things are just,
    whatsoever things are pure,
    whatsoever things are lovely,
    whatsoever things are of good report;
    if there be any virtue,
    and if there be any praise,
    think on these things.
9 Those things, which ye have both learned,
        and received,
        and heard,
        and seen in me,
    and the God of peace shall be with you.

God will give us peace in our lives as we do His Word. We need not be anxious and afraid, concerned about our daily needs. Trust in Him, rely on Him, and he will give us rest.

Matthew 11
:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,
    and I will give you rest.
:29 Take my yoke upon you,
        and learn of me;
    for I am meek
    and lowly in heart:
    and ye shall find rest unto your souls.