Summary: This revival was a result of King Asa's personal seeking of God and leading the nation to seek God. Then even against incredible odds they continued to trust God and rely on His intervention and by God’s grace defeated their enemy.
SEEK THE LORD
God is not limited. Though usually God brings revival during times of apostasy and tragedy, He can also bring revival during times of reformation and prosperity. The revival in the fifteenth year of the Judean King Asa was during a prosperous time. [The revival was a result of his personal seeking of God and leading the nation to seek God.]
This great awakening did not follow a period of religious decline but a period of restoration. This revival did not come in the midst of national adversity and despair but after a season of increase and prosperity, after a time of great national victory and deliverance.
Asa and the people brought about this revival by actively pursuing all that was good and right in the sight of the Lord. Then even against incredible odds they continued to trust God and rely on His intervention and by God’s grace defeated their enemy. So God granted national victory in the face of overwhelming odds which in their own strength would have been certain defeat. The people then became even more zealous to seek the Lord and abide by His Word. It was the goodness of God that encouraged them to seek His will for their nation and individual lives. The goodness of God should bring us to repentance and as God gives grace, revival (Rom. 2:4). [Walter Kaiser, Jr. Revives Us Again. Broadman & Holman Publ. Nashville, TN. 1999. p. 90-92.]
I. Seeking the Lord Brings Peace; 14:1-8
II. Seeking the Lord Brings Prevailing; 14:9-15
III. Seeking the Lord Brings Provision, 15:1-19
IV. Seeking the Lord Brings Providence, 16:1-14
In verse 1 of chapter 14 we find a new King, Asa a man of faith, begins to reign and God honors him with peace. So Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in city of David, and his son Asa became king in his place. The land was undisturbed for ten years during his days.
Fortunately for the nation of Judah the reigns of the wicked Kings, Rehoboam and Abijah were comparatively short (20 years total) and were followed by the godly reigns of Asa, 41 years and his son Jehosaphat, 25 years. It is said that “the land was undisturbed for” the first ten years of Judah’s third monarch’s reign. What brought about this time peace? The following paragraph tell us that obedience to God leads to peace with God which can lead to peace with others.
Verse 2 gives God’s assessment of the King Asa. “Asa did good and right in the sight of the Lord.”
This doing good and right displayed itself in the removal of such pagan elements as altars, high places (sites of heathen worship) sacred stones and Asherah poles (v 3). The latter two objects were related to sexually immoral fertility cults. Though attending worship is good, it is not enough. Like Asa we must also remove anything that is offensive to God from us.
Verse 4 speaks to the positive actions Asa took. He encouraged his people to seek the Lord and to keep all the covenant requirements. He also rebuilt the fortified cities because the dividend of internal peace and external rest allowed them to do so. Note the three uses of the term undisturbed (14:1,5,6). It was due to Asa’s reign of faithfulness to God, that strengthening, fortifying and training occurred during this time of security.
This ten year respite from war (14.1) gave Asa the opportunity to build up his military strength. He mustered 300,000 men from Judah and 280,000 from Benjamin, all brave well-trained and equipped. They maintained a high state of military readiness but as verse 7 says “the land is still ours because we have sought the Lord our God.” The most sophisticated weaponry on earth is only sufficient if the nation has sought righteousness, justice, mercy and walked humbly with the one true God.
II. SEEKING THE LORD BRINGS PREVAILING, 14, 9-15.
Because they truly sought the Lord during peace when disaster came stalking they found what they needed in God to prevail. It was essential that they had prepared themselves in the peaceful time because as we read in verse 9 the enemy is always preparing another attack. “Now Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and 300 chariots, and he came to Mareshah.” Okorkon I, King of Egypt (914-874 B.C.) hired the mercenary Army of Zerah the Ethiopian who marched against Judah with a million man army. Before the Cushites could arrive in Judah proper, Asa’s army meet them near Mareshah, one of Judah’s outlying fortified cities (11:8ff) about 25 miles southwest of Jerusalem.
We too should prepare our spiritual defenses before the enemy attacks. In the heat of battle or temptation is not the best time for a battle plan.