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While King Jeroboam and the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 bad kings were creating false religion troubles in Israel, something different was going on down in the kingdom of Judah.
King Rehoboam did humble himself before God at one point, but he didn’t really set his heart on following God like David had. Then years later when his son became the king, his son didn’t really seek God either. But once that king died, his son Asa became king, and things got better for awhile.
Asa decided to tear down all the pagan altars and idols and just-pretend-gods. He tore them down, he smashed them, he broke them, and he chopped them up.
But King Asa still had to deal with another problem… his grandma. She had made one of those blechy false-god Asherah poles. Asa wanted nothing to do with it, so he cut down his grandma’s blechy pole and crushed and burned it.
And even though his grandmother had been part of the royal family for a long time, Asa told her, “Grandma, what you did was not okay. You can’t be the royal queen mother any more.” (That’s a special title and position given to the mother or grandmother of the king.)
King Asa commanded all those in Judah to seek the Lord God and obey God’s Law and commands. Because of this, the kingdom of Judah had rest and peace under his leadership for many years.
Eventually an army did come against them — a huge army with one million men and 300 chariots! Asa’s army was much smaller than that. But Asa prayed, “O Lord, there’s no one but You who can help the weak when they are so outnumbered. Help us, our God, for we depend on You! We’re out here fighting for You, so don’t let men win against You!”
As you might guess, since Asa was depending on God like that, God took care of those enemies for them.
God’s Spirit came upon one man who went and told Asa and the people, “Listen up everyone! The Lord is with you when you are loyal to Him. If you seek Him, He will respond to you, but if you reject Him, He will reject you. Don’t get discouraged, for your work will be rewarded.”
When Asa heard these words from God, he was really encouraged.
The people agreed to seek God with their whole heart. They promised their loyalty, their allegiance to God. And they shouted that agreement loud and clear with trumpets and horns.
All of Judah was happy about the promise they’d made because they’d made the vow with their whole heart. They called on God, and He responded to them. He made them safe and secure on every side.
Did you know that for those who have “ears to hear” and “eyes to see” Heaven’s things, God actually responds to your choices and interacts with you personally.
Have you ever noticed that in the same way that you feel yucky when you act yucky… that if you do what is right, it feels good and right?
Those little feelings are God responding to you… interacting with you…. loving you…. leading you.
So be sure to recognize the ways God responds to you. Then you can respond back to Him with more and more obedience and love.
For thirty-five years of King Asa’s reign, things were pretty great. But in the thirty-sixth year of Asa’s reign, an army attacked Judah. And for some reason that I don’t know, Asa did not turn to God.
Instead, he paid another country to fight for him. God was not happy about Asa’s choice, so He sent a prophet to King Asa who said to him, “Why didn’t you depend on God to help you like before? This time you acted foolishly. You missed a chance for victory. The Lord’s eyes move back and forth, back and forth looking and looking and looking over the whole earth watching for those who are devoted to Him. When He sees someone like that, He helps and makes them stronger.”
But Asa wasn’t soft to this prophet’s correction the way David had been. He didn’t think the scolding felt like soothing oil on his head. Instead, he got angry at the prophet and put him into jail.
Later Asa developed a bad foot sickness. Owies all over his feet. Yet even with all his owwiees, he didn’t seek God about it, but only the doctors.
So God couldn’t help or respond to Asa this time because Asa never asked for God’s help! And two years later, Asa died.
That sounds like a real shame, doesn’t it? For thirty-five years Asa had made so many right choices. I know you want to know what happened and why Asa stopped turning to God for help, but the Bible doesn’t give an explanation, so I don’t know.
Sometimes people turn away from God because something happens that offends them or feels “too hard” to them. But sometimes people turn away from God just because they stopped making the little choices to turn to God in the small things. So they just got further and further from God one little independent step, step, step at a time.
So let’s learn from Asa and not let that happen to us. God’s eyes are looking, looking, looking through the whole earth for people who will give their whole hearts so that He can respond to them and help them…
Did you know that we can be some of the people that God finds when He’s looking, looking, looking?! So let’s never let up! Never get sloppy! Never get comfortable! Never think we’ve done more good than bad so that makes us “good enough.” Let’s depend on God, from now until our very last breath!