I love finding characters in the Bible that I’m not familiar with and seeing what they have to teach us. I found one this week. It is the story of Asa tucked away in 2 Chronicles 14-16 and 1 Kings 15:9-24. These two passages relay the same story of Asa’s life.
Asa became the third king of Judah when he assumed the role after the death of his father, Abijah. Asa was known as a good king. The Bible tells us that he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and one of the most important things he did was to dispose of the idols and altars to foreign gods that were in the land. He even removed his grandmother, Maachah, of her position of Queen because she had built idols. As a side note, the 2 Chronicles account of Asa’s life calls Maachah, his mother. Scholars believe that that the Hebrew word for mother and grandmother was the same. It was a general word that meant the matriarch of the family. In either case, Asa was willing to go against family to do the right thing when necessary.
He wanted to get his land back to serving God. 2 Chronicles 14:4 says, “He commanded Judah to seek the LORD, the God of their ancestors, and to obey his laws and commands.” He fortified the city and built up their defense. He was a good leader, and God blessed him with years of peace until the thirty-fifth year of his reign.
The next section of the story is easy to get bogged down in so for the sake of simplifying I am going to leave out the names. The king of Israel at the time came against Asa, and instead of relying on God he took matters into his own hands and bribed the king of Syria, an ally of Israel’s king, to break the treaty with him. Asa thought that this would make the King of Israel withdraw and his plan seemed to work.
Just when Asa thought he had succeeded, a prophet came to him and told him because he relied on what another person could do for him and not God that the army of Syria had escaped from his hands. Asa did things his way and lost the greater victory that God had in store for him. The prophet also told him that the due to his neglect to look to God for help that he also brought more wars upon his land.
So, what did this good king do when he heard this? You would think that he would repent, but instead, he became angry, put the prophet in prison and took it out on other people as well. The Bible also tells us that in the thirty-ninth year of his reign he had a foot disease and that he sought only the help of doctors and not the Lord. He died in the forty-first year of his reign. He was given an honorable burial because he was a good king for most of his reign.
None of us, no matter how closely we follow the Lord are immune to sin. We are still human. We still have fears and selfish desires and let disobedience creep into our lives. It is so sad that Asa served God for most of his life but because of his refusal to repent of his sin did not call on the Lord at his time of sickness and life’s end. Let’s learn from the error of his ways. Even mostly good people need to repent. Let’s seek God all the days of our lives and finish well.
“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9) (NKJV)