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Asa- 2 Chronicles 16
Asa
2 Chronicles 14-16

This morning I want to introduce you to a king of the line of David named Asa. (Note: Chronicles traces the line of David because such was the line of promise that ultimately leads us to Jesus and his coming as the eternal King) He was king over Judah in a time when there was a civil war between Judah and Israel. This war was on and off for several centuries.

In the book of Kings (15:9-24) only a part of a chapter is dedicated to him - and all that's said of him is very glowing. In Chronicles- which is a retelling of the history of Israel to the exiles who returned from 70 years in captivity- some 450 years after Asa lived, Asa gets 3 chapters. While we are left with no doubt that he was a great man of God we are also told of a great sin that he committed late in his life.

Just as we can learn a lot from the good things people do, the same can be said as it regards the bad. With that, I invite you to turn with me to 2 Chronicles 14-16.

While we are going to read the whole of chapter 16 I want to start at chapter 14

In 2 Chronicles 14:2-6 it says; "Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God. 3 He removed the foreign altars and the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. 4 He commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and to obey his laws and commands. 5 He removed the high places and incense altars in every town in Judah, and the kingdom was at peace under him. 6 He built up the fortified cities of Judah, since the land was at peace. No one was at war with him during those years, for the Lord gave him rest."

Later on in 2 Chronicles 14 we are told that a monstrous army came up from the South, intent on wiping out Judah. At this point, Asa distinguishes himself by crying out to the LORD and saying (verse 11) ""Lord, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. Lord, you are our God; do not let mere mortals prevail against you."

In response to his faith, his devotion, God's grace, and his cry for help, God gave the victory and their enemy (who outnumbered them more than 2 to 1) was crushed.

Not one to rest on his laurels, Asa is shown in 2 Chronicles 15 to push for even more spiritual reform in Judah with the result that for the first 35 years of his reign, things went awesome.

If someone Asa had died after reigning over Judah for 35 years he would have been remembered as perhaps Judah's greatest king, but this view is tempered by 2 Chronicles 16

READ

SOME BIG LESSONS FROM THE SIN OF ASA

1. Trials and temptations are part of life and will come at every stage

While God tests us- to see our faith in action and to strengthen us and fit us for Heaven, He does not tempt us to sin. Temptations to sin come from the world, our own flesh, and the Devil.

After God's great deliverance from the Cushites, 20 years of peace passes and then a new threat took shape. This time the enemy was their own brethren the tribe of Israel. Led by the king of Israel the borders of Judah were threatened and war was at hand.

How would Asa respond? Would he cry out to the Lord for deliverance- as he had done before. Would we he trust and wait upon God or would he take things into his own hands?

While we know how Asa responded, we do observe that trials and temptations are part of life and will come at every stage-- so we must stay vigilant. We must never get slack in our devotions, in our walk with God, in our prayer life, in Bible reading, in worship, in evangelism. We need to keep on so that when hard times, when trouble, when stress comes we will be found holding on to the Lord and not trying to figure things out on our own.

20 years went by and Asa got soft spiritually-- we are not to let this happen in our lives


2. When troubles, challenges, troubles come, we are not to rely on our own smarts, our own wisdom, or the wisdom of the world- we are to rely on God

Asa didn't- though he had in the past-- and he got in big trouble for it

Whatever situation we find ourselves in we are to always talk to God about it-- seeking His wisdom and His will, as it says in James 1:5 "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault."

Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight."

3. We need to be on guard against going with the wisdom of the world-- even though it often works out in the short term

When Baasha, King of Israel came and blockaded the trade routes for Judah and threatened the land with a big army on their doorstep, Asa took matters into his own hands. Asa figured, "You know what, I will pay the King of Aram to attack the Israelites so that they will withdraw from me".

The plan worked!- but note-- He emptied the Temple of the LORD to do it

This is a problem for us because heres a simple truth: The wisdom of the world often works out-- with one major caveat IT'S IN THE SHORT TERM- whether that lasts decades or not.

Psalm 73 addresses this issue and of the temptation we will face when we see the wicked prosper.

"Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. 3 For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked"...... " 16 When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply 17 till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.


God's blessings are not short term focused-- we must always the eternal in mind and the life to come.

We must learn to renounce temporary pleasures that come from taking short cuts and from acting by the standards of this world


APPLICATION: WE ALWAYS NEED TO BE ASKING GOD FOR WISDOM AND WAITING UPON HIM-- his promise in James 1 is to give it to us when we ask of Him

4. We need to resolve to take correction well

When someone comes to us with the Word of God and says your life is not matching up to how God says you're supposed to be living, it's pretty easy for us to freak out and get all defensive and respond with the "Only God judge me" lingo.

Part of growing in Christ is growing in our ability to take feedback and particularly feedback that comes from the Scriptures.

Half of 2 Chronicles 16 concerns Asa's response to being rebuked for his emptying the Temple and not trusting in God as it regarded the hostile intent of the King of Israel.

In some ways Asa's response is quite surprising. For so many years he had been zealous for the Lord, passionate for the things of God, dependent upon the Lord, humble and now what do we see--- PRIDE, SELF SUFFICIENCY, STUBBORNNESS, RAGE, ANGER, OPPRESSION. It's shocking.

What's even more shocking is that 3 years after this Asa was even farther away for the Lord-- for we read of how he got a foot disease of some sort and that no matter how bad it got that he absolutely refused to seek the help of the LORD.

We all need coaching. It doesn't matter how old we are.

We are all prone to going "off the rails" spiritually- so we must be willing to allow others to correct us and bring us back.

When someone messes up in trying to show us a problem in our life (they too harsh, etc). We need to forgive them and still realize that there might be some truth in what they are saying.

We are our brother's keepers

Some verses

"Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:1-2

"Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses." Proverbs 27:6

"Let a righteous man strike me-that is a kindness; let him rebuke me-that is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it, for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers." Psalm 141:5

Asa did not finish well. He started out awesome and full of zeal but somewhere along the way he became spiritually complacent and little by little lost his way. We are are not to let this happen. Finishing our lives well is a big deal. Going to the grave with a strong faith is important.

5. Finishing well is kind of a big deal

While Asa did awesome for much of his life, he did not finish well.

As a Christian we are to want to get better every day. Our goal is to be more and more like Christ.

When we get to the end of our lives (and only the Lord knows when that will be) we don't want to be known as crabby, unforgiving, selfish, or rude people. Rather, we want the fruit of the Spirit to be in our lives

A good couple of verses from Philippians 3:12-14 " Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

6. 2 Chronicles 16 contains an amazing statement as it regards the Lord's intent for us who are seeking after him

Check out 2 Chronicles 16:9!

In the midst of rebuking Asa the prophet Hanani said "For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him..."

To the returned exiles (year 450 BC) what a great reminder. God was not done with them. They were still His people and His promises were still for them.

Also, what a great encouragement to us. God is looking out for his children. He is ever mindful of us. Our welfare is his concern. When our hearts are devoted to Him and seeking to do His will, He is right by our side, active, seeking to help us,

Such reminds me of the verse "If God be for us, who can stand against us" Romans 8:31

CONCLUSION

For the most part Asa was an amazing and godly man.

We have the lengthy retelling of his life because Ezra wanted to remind the people that its not just about starting out with God and trusting God in the beginning. We need to keep on trusting God. We need to keep on looking to Him for wisdom, help, strength, and deliverance.

Some other big lessons

We need to be on guard against going with the wisdom of the world-- even though it often works out in the short term

We need to resolve to take correction well