Lesser known characters :: Asa

Asa, whose life story is recorded in 2 Chronicles 14, 15 and 16 and 1 Kings 15, the son of Abijam was a king of Judah . Abijam was an evil king of whom it is said that his heart was not perfect (1 Kings 15:3), but because of God’s promise to David, God gave Abijam, Asa as son, who reigned over Judah as king after the death of Abijam. Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord (1 Kings 15:11). Through the voice of Azariah, the son of Oded, on whom the Spirit of God had come, God promised to be found and to remain with Asa, if Asa sought him but warned him that if he forsook God, God would also forsake him (2 Chronicles 15:1-19). Asa chose to do the right thing and seek the Lord. He took the wicked out of the land and destroyed all the idols that were erected by his father. He even removed his own mother, Maacah, from being queen, because she had erected an idol in a grove. He destroyed that idol and burnt it by the Kidron brook (1 Kings 15:13). He commanded that the people in Judah seek the Lord and do his commandments, and fortified Judah’s cities (2 Chronicles 14:4,6). Once when Zerah, an Ethiopian came against Asa with an army of a million men and three hundred chariots, Asa cried out to the LORD his God and said “LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in your name, we go against this multitude. O LORD thou art our God; let no man prevail against thee.” and so the LORD smote the Ethiopians and made Asa prevail.  The silver, gold and vessels that he and his father had, he brought into the house of the LORD and had them dedicated (1 Kings 15:15). Of Asa, it is said, that his heart was perfect with the LORD all his days (1 Kings 15:14; 2 Chronicles 16:17). During his reign, there was peace until the thirty fifth year of his reign.

On the thirty sixth year of Asa’s reign, Baasha, the king of Israel, came up against Judah and closed the borders so none could go out or come to Asa. However, instead of seeking the Lord as he did when the Ethiopian came against him, Asa, instead sought the help of Benhadad, king of Syria and sent him the treasures of the house of the Lord (which he had dedicated to God) as bribes. God sent Hanani the prophet to inform Asa, that he had acted foolishly to rely on man, than on God and the result of his foolish act would lead to the cessation of peace in the land. Hanani informs Asa, that “the eyes of the Lord are searching to and fro the whole earth, to see if there is one who heart is perfect toward God.” Instead of repenting for his mistake, Asa compounds his foolishness and in rage imprisons Hanani the prophet and oppresses others. In the thirty ninth year of his reign, Asa started to suffer with a foot disease, but instead of standing on the promises of the Lord, that if he sought the Lord, the Lord would be found and would remain with him, he did not seek the LORD, but sought doctors/physicians. One year later, Asa died and was buried.

What can we learn from Asa?
Even a person who is said to have a perfect heart can forget the commandment to seek God and do something foolish and when God gives a second chance to return to Him and rely on Him solely, let us not continue to remain in our folly. We cannot compromise on following God and condone the actions of idolatry by anyone, even if it is members of our own family. We must rely on God alone and not put our confidence in men (Psalm 146:3). We must be willing to accept God’s corrections through his people and his word, for the Lord chastises whom he loves (Hebrews 12:6). We can stand on nothing else but on God’s word, for they are true and reliable.

The eyes of the Lord are searching to and fro, the whole earth, to see if there is one, even one, whose heart is perfect toward him and when his eyes sees you/me, would God looks at you/me, would He be able to stop that search and say of you/me, “I have found the one whose heart is perfect toward me”?

2 Chronicles 16:9 (KJV)
For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.