Summary: The first of two sermons about king Asa of 2nd Chronicles. This is about seeking after God in a way that is internal, self searching as well as external. The listener is asked, "are we honest with ourselves?"
King Asa: Seek.
In the early days of the Kingdom of Israel there were three relatively successful kings, being King Saul, King David and King Solomon. Solomon was succeeded by his son King Rehoboam who was a hard and dictatorial king. It was under his reign that the kingdom of Israel was split in two; Judah in the South and Israel in the North. The capital city of Jerusalem became part of Judah. You will have likely seen the maps of these nations on power points before as I've used the illustration of the split nation previously.
Because of King Rehoboam’s actions his advisor Jeroboam became the king of Israel; so two kings Rehoboam king of Judah and Jeroboam king of Israel.
The thing about Rehoboam was that once he got established as king, once he became strong as king; “he and all Israel with him abandoned the law of the Lord.”(2 Chronicles 12:1) He swept down to capture the fortified cities including Jerusalem. He them looted the Temple. There was continual warfare between Rehoboam and Jeroboam.
Rehoboam was 59 years old when he died and his son Abijah then became king of Israel, he fought with Jeroboam and took more of the kingdom of Israel. When the reign of Abijah finished, his son Asa became king.
Today and next week I want to focus on King Asa.
2 Chronicles chapter 14 starts with the words “Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God.” I think as far as a eulogy goes that would not be a bad one. “Andrew did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord God.” I think I could die happy with that ringing in my ears.
It continues that “[King Asa] removed the foreign alters and the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers and obey his laws and commands.” It should be remembered that back in the day kings were all powerful. If you were commanded you did as the king commanded.
If you look at the last part of chapter 14 of 2nd Chronicles, you will see that there was a great battle where the Cushites were out to give the Kingdom of Judah a good hiding and because Asa had honoured God the kingdom of Judah won the battle.
Now there might be a little bit of a theme happening here, ‘honouring God results in an outcome that could have been a lot worse.’ Hold onto that thought.
So post the scrap “the Spirit of God, [aka The Holy Spirit] came upon this man by the name of Azariah the son of Oded.” (2 Chronicles 15:1) and this is what happened. Let’s read from 2nd Chronicles 15 verse 1 down to verse 9.
The first thing I want to say about this reading is that it is from a period of history roughly 2800 years ago, Asa ruled from 913 – 873 BC. The way things were back then carry a few similarities to the present age and we can learn a few things from the way Asa responded to God, and that the people responded to Asa.
In the reading we see that the prophet Azariah gave King Asa a few clues about how to respond to God. For the way he treated God would have an impact on the way God would treat him. The thing to remember is that God is always the same he is Holy, he is loving, gracious – in saying that I mean that he shows grace even when we don’t deserve and God is merciful. We don’t receive what we deserve for our wrong doing. God has made a way clear for us to himself through Jesus.
1) But as people we distance ourselves at times from God, because we don’t seek after God. What Azariah told King Asa was “If you seek him [him being God] he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.” I think that that is fairly clear cut. “if” is a pretty powerful word in this situation.
It’s one of those situations where the word if has all the power. A little like ‘if’ I hadn't speed, I wouldn't have got a speeding ticket. ‘If’ I had lit the fire we would have been warm. ‘If’ I had paid to get into the game they would have let me into the stadium.
So ‘if’ we seek God he will be found by us. But ‘if’ we don’t, he won’t. Do you ever go through those times where God seems to be hanging out on the other side of the Universe in some distant galaxy and it’s all going to custard around you? Those times when stupid things are happening because you are engaging in them, you are feeling like rubbish because God seems so distant. The answer here, is to seek him.