Today’s Reading: 1 Kings 14:19-20; 15:16–22, 24-31, 33-34; 16:1-29; 31-34; 21:25-26; 22:41-44, 46-47; 2 Chronicles 14:1-15:19; 16:7-14; 17:2-18:1; 20:32-33
This is one of the parts of Bible which I always enjoy. Although, it is the history of the kings of Israel and Judah, it is really the history of humans struggling with real life pressure and either making good choices, or going in a wrong direction and the results which follows from choices, just like I do. I find it so incredibly helpful when the stories so clearly show how God thinks about a thing – that’s the truth about that situation!
I love the way Asa is able to follow, at first, his course of reform and getting rid of idol altars and cut down the Asherah poles (any idols to be gotten rid of in my life?) Moreover he showed true leadership “in commanding Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, and to obey His laws and commands.” He also refortified cities in Judah. Behind his responsible behaviour, God Himself gave him rest! We have read about that in Proverbs – “When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”
So when the enemy attacks, as he does in our lives, the Lord fights his battle for him! But the prophet, Azariah, comes when Asa might have been tempted to drift on a victory from the Lord, and encourages him to be strong and not to give up, because his work would certainly be rewarded!” And the result is Asa still works hard and in the end he and Judah make a covenant again with the Lord. The result, of course is joy! Any joy to be found in my life? And what does it mean for God to be found by me? What does that mean in my life?
He even is brave enough in faithfulness to the Lord to remove his grandmother as Queen mother, because of her idolatry. How far does my faithfulness go? Maybe that is what they mean when they say, “True Christianity begins at home!”
But Asa is like me, and when threatened by Israel, he looks to solve his own problems! It might have appeared that he was successful, but when confronted by the prophet who pointed out his lack of trust in the Lord (he had forgotten his former victory given by the Lord), in frustration, he becomes angry and puts the prophet in prison! Anger, in my experience, always results in senseless actions by me! And then at the end of his life, he is diseased in his feet (Lord, help me keep my walk healthy Christian walk!), but now looking for physicians, not the Lord! So I pray again, “Don’t let me drift away from you, Lord, when I get old! Let me be forever a little child running into my loving Father’s outstretched arms!”
But I am sure, you found it tough reading about the kings of Israel! Each king only becomes more wicked than the one before and mixed in with this are the results of their evil ways – violence – as men in their struggle to stay in control or overcome others around themselves! But we humans, left to our own efforts only go from bad to worse! And we end up in Israel with Ahab, “There was never a man like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord!”
I’m glad we end the reading with Jehoshaphat! Another true leader, he not only pleases the Lord by what he does, it seems like one of his priorities was to take steps to TEACH the people of Judah! So I think this is one of the concerns of our little Assembly where I am – efforts to teach the Word of God in a meaningful way! And what blessing Jehosphat experiences!
May His blessing rest on each of us today!