ONE GOOD KING
Lord, I am committed to You through thick and thin.
Read 1 KINGS 15:9–24
Asa King of Judah
9 In the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Asa became king of Judah, 10 and he reigned in Jerusalem forty-one years. His grandmother’s name was Maakah daughter of Abishalom.
11 Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as his father David had done. 12 He expelled the male shrine prostitutes from the land and got rid of all the idols his ancestors had made. 13 He even deposed his grandmother Maakah from her position as queen mother, because she had made a repulsive image for the worship of Asherah. Asa cut it down and burned it in the Kidron Valley. 14 Although he did not remove the high places, Asa’s heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life. 15 He brought into the temple of the Lord the silver and gold and the articles that he and his father had dedicated.
16 There was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel throughout their reigns. 17 Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah and fortified Ramah to prevent anyone from leaving or entering the territory of Asa king of Judah.
18 Asa then took all the silver and gold that was left in the treasuries of the Lord’s temple and of his own palace. He entrusted it to his officials and sent them to Ben-Hadad son of Tabrimmon, the son of Hezion, the king of Aram, who was ruling in Damascus. 19 “Let there be a treaty between me and you,” he said, “as there was between my father and your father. See, I am sending you a gift of silver and gold. Now break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel so he will withdraw from me.”
20 Ben-Hadad agreed with King Asa and sent the commanders of his forces against the towns of Israel. He conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel Beth Maakah and all Kinnereth in addition to Naphtali. 21 When Baasha heard this, he stopped building Ramah and withdrew to Tirzah. 22 Then King Asa issued an order to all Judah—no one was exempt—and they carried away from Ramah the stones and timber Baasha had been using there. With them King Asa built up Geba in Benjamin, and also Mizpah.
23 As for all the other events of Asa’s reign, all his achievements, all he did and the cities he built, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? In his old age, however, his feet became diseased. 24 Then Asa rested with his ancestors and was buried with them in the city of his father David. And Jehoshaphat his son succeeded him as king.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him”
(2 Chr. 16:9).
Rehoboam’s grandson, Asa, ascends the throne of Judah three years after his grandfather’s death. He is considerably disadvantaged by having a spiritually weak grandfather, a father whose heart “was not fully devoted to the Lord” (3) and a pagan grandmother (13). Yet Asa proves to be a surprisingly godly and beneﬁcial king, a genuine breath of fresh air.
Today’s reading should be read in conjunction with 2 Chronicles 14– 16, which gives a more detailed commentary on Asa’s reign. Here in 1 Kings we are told only that he models himself on David and that his heart “is fully committed to the Lord all his life” (11,14). The account in 2 Chronicles explains how that commitment works out in practice, revealing Asa as a man of prayer (2 Chr. 14:11), obedience to the Word of God (2 Chr. 15:1–8), and orthodox worship (12,13). Indeed, he even leads his people wholeheartedly into a renewed covenant with the Lord (2 Chr. 15:12). As a result, his reign extends to 41 years (10) and is largely one of peace (2 Chr. 14:6; 15:15), something always recognized as a blessing from heaven.
The text mentions only two strikes against him. First, he “does not remove the high places” from Israel (14). Second, when King Baasha of Israel threatens Judah, Asa turns to Ben-Hadad of Aram for help instead of to the Lord his God (16–22). He may be fully committed to the Lord, but he hasn’t learned how to translate that commitment into complete trust. The Lord sends his faithful prophet Hanani to confront Asa about this foolish tendency, reminding him of the Lord’s omniscience and almighty power. Sadly, instead of recognizing the Lord’s fatherly love and accepting correction, Asa becomes angry and refuses to be corrected. In his ﬁnal years, he seems to have distanced himself from the Lord his God. His foot disease indicates the ﬁnal expression of the divine correction which he has rejected during his later years (2 Chr. 16:7–12).
Meditate upon 2 Chronicles 16:8 and 9 and pray accordingly. Read Hebrews 12:5–11 and pray for fellow Christians who ﬁnd the Lord’s loving discipline hard to accept.
Lord, give me the wisdom to recognize when I am being corrected by God and the grace to change my errant ways.