Today: [1 Kings Chapter Fifteen]: Breaking the Power of Generational Sin. In this chapter we meet Asa – the first king of Israel who reigned without scandal. Asa dealt with idolatry in the land and banished the practice of ritual prostitution. Even in his immediate family he would not tolerate idolatry, removing his own mother from being queen for setting up an idol in a grove. Asa is an example of an imperfect man with a perfect heart. We may not make all the right decisions but if we put God first we can see change even at a generational level come to our lives.
[1Ki 15:1-34 KJV] 1 Now in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam the son of Nebat reigned Abijam over Judah. 2 Three years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name [was] Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom. 3 And he walked in all the sins of his father, which he had done before him: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father. 4 Nevertheless for David’s sake did the LORD his God give him a lamp in Jerusalem, to set up his son after him, and to establish Jerusalem: 5 Because David did [that which was] right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any [thing] that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. 6 And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all the days of his life. 7 Now the rest of the acts of Abijam, and all that he did, [are] they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? And there was war between Abijam and Jeroboam. 8 And Abijam slept with his fathers; and they buried him in the city of David: and Asa his son reigned in his stead. 9 And in the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel reigned Asa over Judah. 10 And forty and one years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name [was] Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom.
At this point in the book of 1 Kings the narrative will begin to switch back and forth between the history of the kings of Judah and the history of the kings of Israel. In Judah after Rehoboam Solomon’s son was Nebat and after Nebat was Abijam a wicked king who “walked in the sins of his father…” After Abijam was king Asa who we will see was a just and godly king who is the first Judean king to break the cycle of sin and idolatry that can be traced all the way back to David in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.
Asa ruled Israel 900 years before the birth of Jesus. He was a godly king who even dealt with idolatry in his own family however his reign was marred by two matters. He is besieged by the king of Judah and hires the king of Syria to defend him. He also had health problems – specifically a disease in his feet that ultimately took his life. The scriptures says in Chronicles that “Asa died because he leaned to the physcians and not the Lord…” 2 Chron. 16:13-14.
11 And Asa did [that which was] right in the eyes of the LORD, as [did] David his father. 12 And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. 13 And also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from [being] queen, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt [it] by the brook Kidron. 14 But the high places were not removed: nevertheless Asa’s heart was perfect with the LORD all his days. 15 And he brought in the things which his father had dedicated, and the things which himself had dedicated, into the house of the LORD, silver, and gold, and vessels. 16 And there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days. 17 And Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah, and built Ramah, that he might not suffer any to go out or come in to Asa king of Judah. 18 Then Asa took all the silver and the gold [that were] left in the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king’s house, and delivered them into the hand of his servants: and king Asa sent them to Benhadad, the son of Tabrimon, the son of Hezion, king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying, 19 [There is] a league between me and thee, [and] between my father and thy father: behold, I have sent unto thee a present of silver and gold; come and break thy league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me. 20 So Benhadad hearkened unto king Asa, and sent the captains of the hosts which he had against the cities of Israel, and smote Ijon, and Dan, and Abelbethmaachah, and all Cinneroth, with all the land of Naphtali.
Asa was known as a man who hearkened to the prophets and as a result had 35 years of relative peace in his rule. He purged his kingdom of all forms of idolatry – even forcing his own mother out from being queen because she set up an idol in a grove. He also banned temple prostitution and punished the offenders. It is known that many from the Northern Tribes migrated to Judah specifically from Ephraim and Mannasah because of the character of Asa’s reign and the relative peace of his kingdom.
Asa threw back many attempts by other nations to invade Israel and in fact his defense projects protected Israel long after his death up to the time of Josiah centuries later. He did however err in calling upon the king of Syria to defend him against Basha the current king of the Northern Tribes at that time.
21 And it came to pass, when Baasha heard [thereof], that he left off building of Ramah, and dwelt in Tirzah. 22 Then king Asa made a proclamation throughout all Judah; none [was] exempted: and they took away the stones of Ramah, and the timber thereof, wherewith Baasha had builded; and king Asa built with them Geba of Benjamin, and Mizpah. 23 The rest of all the acts of Asa, and all his might, and all that he did, and the cities which he built, [are] they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? Nevertheless in the time of his old age he was diseased in his feet. 24 And Asa slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father: and Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his stead. 25 And Nadab the son of Jeroboam began to reign over Israel in the second year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned over Israel two years. 26 And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin. 27 And Baasha the son of Ahijah, of the house of Issachar, conspired against him; and Baasha smote him at Gibbethon, which [belonged] to the Philistines; for Nadab and all Israel laid siege to Gibbethon. 28 Even in the third year of Asa king of Judah did Baasha slay him, and reigned in his stead. 29 And it came to pass, when he reigned, [that] he smote all the house of Jeroboam; he left not to Jeroboam any that breathed, until he had destroyed him, according unto the saying of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Ahijah the Shilonite: 30 Because of the sins of Jeroboam which he sinned, and which he made Israel sin, by his provocation wherewith he provoked the LORD God of Israel to anger. 31 Now the rest of the acts of Nadab, and all that he did, [are] they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? 32 And there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days. 33 In the third year of Asa king of Judah began Baasha the son of Ahijah to reign over all Israel in Tirzah, twenty and four years. 34 And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin.
Asa’s name means “to restore what is wounded” and he did in fact bring a prolonged time of security to the Southern Kingdom of Judah. He destroyed the idols of his father’s and walked in the example of king David in justice and godliness. He broke the generational sin of the line of David and while he was not perfect in his decision making he was the first morally and spiritually pure monarch that ever sat in Jerusalem going back to Saul’s day.
In the Northern Tribes during Asa’s reign we see that the line of Jeroboam prophesied by Ahijah to rule as king is completely extinguished because of idolatry. However the king that took Jeroboam’s place (Baasha) was not different than his idolatrous predecessor.
Asa was an imperfect man with a perfect heart who is an example to us of godliness and putting God first even before family. What a challenge it must have been for Asa to dealt with his own mother’s idolatry. Often we exempt those closest to us for their sin and hold others outside our family circle brutally accountable. Asa’s integrity however did not falter even in his closest relationships – an example for us all.
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