We Can Learn Lessons from the Kings of Israel

May 7, 2019 at 12:32 PM Leave a comment

As we move through the Old Testament, we learn of numerous kings who began their rule well. They followed God’s dictates, they endeavored to keep the covenant with Him, and they diligently sought Him with all their heart.

However, too many of these same kings who began well, ended terribly. We learn of Rehoboam and Jeroboam and how their paths as kings differed. We learn of Jeroboam and and then of Abijah (2 Chronicles 13). Abijah began his reign over Judah during the 18th year of Jeroboam’s reign who was king of the northern kingdom of Israel at the time.

Abijah became king of Judah and we can see that he was faithful to the Lord. Remember, of the kings that ruled over Israel after the nation split into two nations, none were good. Of the kings that ruled over the southern kingdom of Judah, only a few were good. Abijah was one such good ruler and we learn why starting in 2 Chronicles 13.

In this particular chapter, Abijah calls out the idolatry of the northern nation of Israel. He takes the time to remind them of their heritage with King David and how they should have forsaken all other gods, which are not gods at all, but demons in disguise. In essence, the northern kingdom of Israel continued to push the God of Israel away to their shame and their judgment.

Abijah compares Judah with Israel and says that they (Judah), were doing what was right by worshiping the one, true God; the only God in all the universe (vv 10-12). This “lecture” didn’t set well with Jeroboam, who heard all he had wanted to hear and decided to surround Abijah’s army, from the front and from the back. They were hemmed in so Jeroboam thought he had an easy win on his hands. The Lord had other ideas.

God gave Abijah’s men strength and they routed Jeroboam’s armies. Because of this, God ultimately struck Jeroboam and he died (v 20), but God blessed Abijah and “he grew mighty,” (v 21).

2 Chronicles 14 tells us straightaway that Abijah eventually slept with his fathers and we are immediately introduced to his son, Asa. The Scriptures are very clear here that Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord (v 2). This doesn’t always work out that way though as we know from other kings of Judah like Hezekiah, whose son was not a good king over Judah.

Asa seems to be on fire for the Lord. He follows Him wholeheartedly, even removing the high places throughout Judah (v 5). This is huge really because even though many Israelites used “high places” to worship God, more often these places were used for idol worship. As king, Asa commanded the people to seek, serve and worship God and Him only.

We learn of Asa’s dependence upon God to route the Egyptians who attempted an overthrow (v 12). Everything was right because Asa was right before God. This does not mean he was sinless at all, because no one is sinless (except Jesus). What it means is that in everything, Asa did what God approved of so when he sinned, he repented. He always sought to do what would bring glory to the Lord.

Asa’s life as king is a good lesson for all of us. Is it your supreme desire to follow God, to seek Him and His ways, to live for His glory? Is that your aim? If that is not your aim, you will do what dictates your heart and not bring glory to God. It’s that simple, though when it comes to where the rubber meets the road, it is difficult because our minds tend to wander away and fix themselves on our own felt needs.

2 Chronicles 15:4 tells us of Asa’s devotion to God and how it worked well for him.

But when they in their trouble did turn unto the Lord God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them. (KJV)

This is the reality in a nutshell. They turned to God whenever they needed Him. They sought Him out and of course, that means that they sought out His will for them. God always rewarded them for this and He does the same for Christians today. As we seek God, we should be seeking His will for our lives. If we do that, He will respond and guide us into His will.

Asa had gone so far as to even remove his mother from her position because she worshiped at the Asherah pole! Asa was so offended, he broke down her Asherah, stamped on it and burnt it up! (v 16) Amazing and in doing this, there is no hint that God considered Asa to be “disrespecting” his own mother. Asa did what he had to do to remove those things that rightly offended God. This is a hard saying because sometimes we place family above God and do not even realize it. Are you willing to deal drastically at times with family situations that arise that you know do not bring glory to God? It may happen at times and when it does, we need to be sure that we are doing what pleases the Lord.

Because this was Asa’s attitude where God was concerned, God blessed Him mightily. In fact, the final verse of 2 Chronicles 15 tells us what God did for Asa and Judah.

And there was no more war unto the five and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa. (KJV)

What a blessing to have for any king. No one wants war. No one wants to constantly be looking over their shoulder wondering if some other nation is going to attack soon. God blessed Judah with peace, wonderful peace.

However, during the thirty-sixth year of Asa’s reign, he began to slip, as we read in 2 Chronicles 16. How terrible from someone who had spent much of his adult life seeking and serving the Lord.

Asa learned that the king of Israel – Basha – was coming against Judah and building cities. Basha wanted to extend Israel’s kingdom into Judah by taking over areas of Judah.

Instead of going to God on this, King Asa went to Benhadad king of Syria of Damascus and with silver and gold from the Lord’s house, Asa essentially asked him to step in and deal with the Basha situation. Benhadad complied and went to bat for King Asa, routing Basha and his armies. It didn’t take much for Basha to step away because he was clearly afraid of Benhadad and didn’t want to be slaughtered, so he stopped building these cities he had begun building.

King Asa then went to those cities with his people and they took all the materials that Basha had been using to build cities and used them to build Geba and Mizpah (v 6). Isn’t it interesting that not once did King Asa consider submitting to the Lord to learn what His will in the matter was for this situation?

When everything had settled down, God sent a true prophet named Hanani to King Asa. What Hanani said to Asa did not please him. Hanani pointed out that instead of having gone to Benhadad, King Asa should have gone directly to the Lord as he had done years before when Egypt tried to decimate Judah. God stepped in for Judah and they routed the Egyptians then.

Why didn’t King Asa do this same thing, by going to the Lord to learn what God wanted done? It was likely that years of peace caused Asa to begin to think that he was powerful enough to deal with anything. He might have grown complacent. Do you ever do that? When things are going well, do you grow complacent, and even possibly lazy thinking that this is something you can “handle” so you don’t bother going to the Lord because you’ve “got it”?

I think that was King Asa’s problem but I could be wrong. In any case, whatever prompted him or got him in the attitude of not thinking he needed to go to God was the attitude that brought problems his way.

Essentially, Hanani stated that because King Asa had done what he had done, the “host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand,” (v 7). In other words, Judah should not have united with Syria to go against a “brother” (Israel). Because Asa had not sought God’s will in the matter and had gone directly to a neighboring king against Israel, God said Asa would not be able to get to Benhadad. We can only wonder what would have happened had Asa sought God’s will before he did anything else?

So what was King Asa’s response to this? He decided to harm the messenger (v 10). Remember, Hanani was simply relaying God’s message to King Asa, but he took out his anger on Hanani because Asa knew he couldn’t touch God. Asa put Hanani in the prison and because of his pride, he also began to oppress some of his own people.

This is exactly what Christians are capable of doing if/when we fall out of God’s will. We can dig in our heels, put our backs up in the air, and ultimately rebel against God and His will because it becomes too difficult to admit we were wrong.

The remaining part of 2 Chronicles 16 informs us that King Asa seemed to never repent of this problem and eventually, he became diseased in his feet, but even then he refused to seek the Lord (v 12). Instead he went to one physician after another. Let’s be clear here. There is nothing wrong with going to a medical doctor when the need arises. Not one thing. However, King Asa only went to doctors and not to God at all! Shouldn’t Asa have gone to the Healer first? I believe it was his pride that kept him from going to God and eventually, King Asa died.

How much different things might have been had he put away his pride and sought God in his older years as he had in his younger years! Folks, as Christians, we need to understand that this exact same problem can affect us if we are not careful!

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall,” (Proverbs 16:18). This is the reality we face if we are unwilling to humble ourselves and go to God. We must always, every day, every moment guard ourselves from falling into the trap that pride sets for us.

King Asa could have ended his life the same way he started it. When he went to Benhadad for support and later learned from Hanani where he went wrong, Asa could have humbled himself at that point and things would’ve been different. Unfortunately, as the text tells us, King Asa took offense and spent his anger on Hanani and some of the people of Judah. He could not admit that he had done the wrong thing.

Further, even when he began to experience diseased feet, instead of going to God in humility, he dug his heels in deeper. “Nope! I’m not going to go to God on this! Where are the doctors?!

Ultimately, God was using the disease to get Asa’s attention but Asa continued in his rebellion instead of turning his heart toward God. I am reminded of the times I’ve done this and unfortunately, there are chances that I will at least be tempted to do this type of thing again in the future.

What is the correct response when we realize we have done wrong? Humble repentance. I realize there are some Christians who do not believe we ever need to “repent” again from our sin, but I strongly disagree with them. I fully understand that Christ’s death on the cross and my faith in Him has provided all the forgiveness I need to cover all of my sin; past, present, and future. However, it is still incumbent upon me to first, recognize when I sin, and second, to confess/admit to God what He already knows; that I’ve sinned. If I fail to do this, I’m lacking humility that is necessary for me to be and remain close to God.

If I just skip through life nonchalantly without a care in the world even when I sin, I’m not acting humbly. I’m not being truly grateful for God’s forgiveness and love.

It is not an easy thing to be and remain always humble before God but we must strive to do that all the days of our life.

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, Cultural Marxism, Demonic, devil worship, Emotional virtue, eternity, israel, Judaism, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Politics, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, Satanism.

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