Morning Light – December 3rd, 2015
Today: [2 Chronicles Sixteen] The Demise of King Asa. In this chapter we see the end of king Asa. He ruled the southern kingdom for decades and brought peace and prosperity to his people. In his later years however he turned from God and hired the Syrians – mortal enemies to defend him against the northern kingdom. This single act opened the door to the eventual captivity of all of Israel. A prophet goes to Asa and reproves him and is thrown in prison. Asa will not hear and eventually dies an agonizing death.
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[2Ch 16:1-14 KJV] 1 In the six and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa Baasha king of Israel came up against Judah, and built Ramah, to the intent that he might let none go out or come in to Asa king of Judah. 2 Then Asa brought out silver and gold out of the treasures of the house of the LORD and of the king’s house, and sent to Benhadad king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying, 3 [There is] a league between me and thee, as [there was] between my father and thy father: behold, I have sent thee silver and gold; go, break thy league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me. 4 And Benhadad hearkened unto king Asa, and sent the captains of his armies against the cities of Israel; and they smote Ijon, and Dan, and Abelmaim, and all the store cities of Naphtali. 5 And it came to pass, when Baasha heard [it], that he left off building of Ramah, and let his work cease. 6 Then Asa the king took all Judah; and they carried away the stones of Ramah, and the timber thereof, wherewith Baasha was building; and he built therewith Geba and Mizpah.
The previous chapter records that after Asa responds to the word of the Lord through the prophet Azariah that his riegn for decades was peaceful and prosperous. 2 Chron. 20:20 says “believe the prophets so shall you prosper…” Asa was not a perfect man but he had a reputation for believing God, honoring his word and responding to the prophets. As his rule comes into it’s final years however there is a breakdown in Asa committment to the things of God. He is assaulted from without and suffering physical ailments that will eventually take his life. Rather than rely on the Lord as he did in younger days he pillages the house of God, stripping it’s gold and silver and sending them to Syria seeking assistance.
If Assyria represents the anti-Christ – Syria represents the secular. Baasha was a new king in the northern territories and he was both wicked and ambitious. He sets up a garrison to block a trade route to Jerusalem effectively blockading the city from needed supplies and resources. Asa instead of trusting God and seeking God turns to Syria. It is a fateful decision because Syria is confederate with Assyria, a rising nation that will soon dominate the known world. Through Asa’s unbelief Syria and Assyria come to realize that Judah is a small, defenseless and wealthy kingdom. They will come to Asa’s aid but eventually will carry both the northern and southern kingdoms away captive.
In order to hire Syria Asa strips the temple once again. It is interesting that he doesn’t pillage his own palace or the palace of his queen. He considers the wealth of the temple to be discretionary income that can be better used to solve a problem in his his life. How many times do we make such a decision. In times of prosperity we give to the things of God and faithfully support the kingdom but when finances falter in our lives our giving is the first casualty. This did not bode well for Asa and it is not an indicator of blessing in our lives either. If we are struggling and having difficulty this is not a time to pull back on our committments to God.
Asa’s robbery of the house of God seems to solve his problem at first. Then a prophet by the name of Hanani comes and reproves Asa for relying on the king of Syria rather than trusting in God. How many times rather than resorting to prayer and waiting on God do we look to the loan officer, or the doctor, or some other secular resource to solve a problem in our lives? Hanani reminds Asa that in his youth he understood that God could save by many or by few. Therefore the prophet declares that because of his infidelity toward God that the remainder of his rule will be fraught with war and conflict. Now you have to ask yourself does this typify your own life? Many times we go through seasons of nothing but trouble and difficulty. If we use Asa as an example we must ask ourselves who are we relying on? Are we finding our security in the secular or in the sacred. Are we looking to God or are we marginalizing our committment to Christ and casting our dependencies on other things. Unfortunately Christian culture does not lend itself to this level of introspection. Instead we blame God and say “many are the afflictions of the righteous…” or “the Lord gives and takes away…” or “I’m suffering for Jesus….” when in fact we are suffering because of unbelief and a passion for Christ that has grown cool. Things are the way they are because of what we are doing. If you want something different you must do something different – and the first place to take a good look is your own committment to the Lord Jesus Christ. Was there ever a time that you were closer to Jesus than you are right now? Start there and retrace your steps to a place of fidelity and renewed heart for the kingdom. Make substantive changes and not just shifting emotions or sentiments. Then life will inexorably begin to improve.
11 And, behold, the acts of Asa, first and last, lo, they [are] written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. 12 And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease [was] exceeding [great]: yet in his disease he sought not to the LORD, but to the physicians. 13 And Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign. 14 And they buried him in his own sepulchres, which he had made for himself in the city of David, and laid him in the bed which was filled with sweet odours and divers kinds [of spices] prepared by the apothecaries’ art: and they made a very great burning for him.
When Hanani prophesied to Asa the king became angry. He threw the prophet into prison. He even began oppressing his own people. In our own day the ministry of the prophet is marginalized by the Asa mentality of leaders today. They don’t open their doors to the prophetic. They won’t accept prophetic utterance in their ranks. They minimize the place of the gifts of the spirit. They refuse to endorse or acknowledge any leadership or influence but their own. This didn’t work out for Asa and it isn’t working out for those leaders today that follow in their footsteps. Even Christian pollsters tell us that the ranks of believers are diving exponentially. The younger generations are abandoning their faith and abandoning church as we know it. Yet the king Asa’s of our day carry on as though the problem is everyone but themselves. Eventually Asa’s unbelief consumes him and suffering from a disease in his feet he dies at the hands of his physicians because he refused to trust in God. First the natural then the spiritual. The disease in his natural ability to walk was a reflect of the disease in his spiritual walk. Are you sitting under a leader who is diseased in his feet? Are you sitting under a leader who rejects the prophetic? Does your leader oppress the people and blame them for the failed policies of his or her own spiritual leadership? This is the Asa mentality.
Eventually Asa dies and his buried in the city of David. The majority of the years of his riegn were peaceful and godly but unfortunately in his end his testimony failed because he rejected God and those that God set in his life for his good. God always sends the prophets into our life during times of difficulty. When they speak for the kingdom they are not prattling on about doom and gloom but are pointing the way to deliverance and hope and salvation. We do well to hearken to their voices rather than to reject them as Asa did who consequently destroyed his own testimony.
Morning Light – December 3rd, 2015