In I Kings 15 and II Chronicles 15-16, we learn of a king of Judah named Asa. You might remember that the kingdom of Israel split after Solomon because of his idolatry – ten tribes are given to the servant Jeroboam and two tribes to Solomon’s son Rehoboam. Neither Jeroboam or his son Abijah are considered good rulers in God’s eyes, but Asa stands in contrast to his predecessors. He begins a spiritual revolution among his people – one that even draws some from the northern kingdom to worship Jehovah with him.
In I Kings 15:9 and II Chronicles 15:8, Asa begins to reform Jehovah worship in Judah. He repairs the altar and the temple of Solomon. He tears down many of the idols in and around Jerusalem. He banishes the fertility worship of the pagan religions. He even removes his grandmother from public service due to her sinful influence over the people. These are wicked times, but Asa serves as a point of light despite the environment in which he is raised.
Positive Lessons from Asa’s Reform
Asa stands as testament to the difference one person can make. He enters service to a faithless nation where idolatry and immorality had been propagated by his own family. He sets himself to the task, and sets an example to us. His spiritual revolution
- Reform starts at home. Asa begins by removing the idolatrous influences of his own grandmother. Much like Gideon, his reforms begin at home. He sends a message that he holds himself and his loved ones to the same expectations he would hold the people. In our lives, Jesus has to come first as in Matthew 10:37-39, even if that means correcting our homes first.
- Reform necessitates morality. I cannot give lip-service to holiness. We have to reform our moral influences to truly reform our spiritual lives. In Matthew 12:43, Jesus uses an example of an evil spirit to encourage us to fill ourselves with good influences after the sinful influences have been purged.
- Reform necessitates change and repair. Just as Asa repairs the altar and temple, there are some things in our own lives – attitudes, priorities, commitment – that we will have to restore. Luke 13:3-5 emphasizes the need for repentance in reforming ourselves, and Peter reinforces this need in Acts 2:38. We repair our souls through the change of repentance.
Learning from Asa’s Errors
Asa is one of only eight kings described as doing right in Jehovah’s eyes. Unfortunately, we must also learn from the shortcomings of his efforts, so we do not make the same mistakes.
- What is God’s cannot be used for selfish purposes. I Kings 15:16 begins recording Asa stripping silver and gold from the treasures of God’s house to but off a king allied against him. He takes things devoted to God and gives them over to man. I Corinthians 6:19-20 reminds us that we have been purchased, that we now belong to God.
- We should trust in God more than self. II Chronicles 16:7-10 records a prophet warning that Asa’s faithlessness will lead to more wars in his time. He reminds Asa of other times God has helped him, but his actions with Ben-hadad lead to an end of peace during his reign. Our plans cannot supersede God’s plans.
- We need to be able to ask for God’s help. II Chronicles 16:11-12 records Asa being diseased, but he does not call on God for help. He instead relies on the wisdom of man. Peter tells us we can cast all of our care and anxiety on Him in I Peter 5:7, for our God cares about us.
We see the type of effort true spiritual reform takes in the life of Asa – a willingness to start at home, to restore our sense of morality, and to repair the sin in our lives. Reform takes time and effort. Once we reform ourselves, we should be careful to remember that we can always ask for God’s help, trust in Him more than ourselves, and keep ourselves dedicated to His service. Doing this, we can ignite a spiritual revolution in our own lives.
lesson by Tim Smelser