Breaking Into A Fresh Season With God (2 Chronicles 15:7)
“But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.” (2 Chronicles 15:7 ESV).
King Asa was a good and godly king. He sought the Lord when trouble came upon the land, and he experienced firsthand the power of God in battle. After a trademark victory over the massive Ethiopian army, Asa was confronted by a prophet named Azariah. He told Asa to seek the Lord. “The Lord is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you,” Azariah said. He went on to describe past seasons in Israel’s history when they and their leadership wandered from God. Always, dark days followed, for “in those times there was no peace.” So, the prophet said, “Take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.”
Asa knew what Azariah meant. Quickly, he acted as the spiritual leader of Israel, bringing them into a fresh season of dependence upon the living God. He forged a path for Judah to seek the Lord. Perhaps, as we observe his story, our modern minds can glean a thing or two about how to seek God today.
1. Took Courage
“As soon as Asa heard these words, the prophecy of Azariah the son of Oded, he took courage…” (2 Chronicles 15:8 ESV).
The prophet had told him to take courage, for boldness and conviction and power were all there for the taking, but Asa had to reach out and grab them. Take courage, the prophet said. Asa did. He became bold for the task. If we desire to seek the Lord we must also take courage. Set the alarm clock to give yourself some time for prayer. Set down the remote control to give yourself time for reading. Confront the lie that you will start next week, especially if you’ve said it a thousand times before. Take courage. Grab it and let the Spirit put it in the marrow of your soul. Tackle the project. Become bold for the task of seeking your God.
2. Put Away Idols
“…and put away the detestable idols…” (2 Chronicles 15:8 ESV).
Before approaching the altar of God for worship, Asa knew there were idols in the land he had to destroy. He recognized Israel's worship was convoluted, intermingled with the gods of the nations around them. What a picture of our modern day! When a believer sets the priorities and convictions and status symbols of the world right next to God and his word, they have introduced modern idolatry. “Little children,” John wrote, “keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21). Cast out that which must be destroyed.
3. Repaired The Altar
“…and he repaired the altar of the LORD…” (2 Chronicles 15:8 ESV).
With haste, Asa then repaired the altar. For them, the altar was the place they would daily interact with God. The worshipper would come and there, at the altar, offer sacrifice and praise unto God. For the altar to be in a state of disrepair meant they couldn’t even take the first step in seeking the Lord. The thousands of beautiful gifts God had for them would remain undiscovered as long as the altar lay in a state of disuse. To me, the sacrificial altar of Israel is representative of the relationship with God the cross of Christ has enabled. Cursed for us on his tree, Jesus made the way for us to enter into countless avenues of blessing from God. When I sit to engage with God, I feel enabled to do so by the blood of Jesus.
4. Gathered People
“And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin…They were gathered at Jerusalem…They sacrificed to the LORD on that day…And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD…” (2 Chronicles 15:9–12 ESV).
Asa then rounded up the people of God for worship. They came and sacrificed and vowed to seek the LORD. They decided to be a generation which loved and pursued God. Sometimes the spiritual leader must gather. The church is to spread but is also to gather. We are to go into the highways and byways, as Jesus taught, and invite people to his great feast. We are to go into all the world with the aim of making disciples. We are to meet from house to house, spread throughout our community. But we are also to gather. We are to come together for times of praise and prayer, study and Scripture, service and generosity.
5. Removed the Queen Mother
“Even Maacah, his mother, King Asa removed from being queen mother because she had made a detestable image for Asherah. Asa cut down her image, crushed it, and burned it at the brook Kidron.” (2 Chronicles 15:16 ESV).
One final, and challenging, task remained. Asa’s own mother had introduced the worship of Asherah into Judah. It was, as chronicled, a detestable image. Asa cut down that idol and removed her from her position as queen-mother. Her authority was rescinded. Sometimes, in seeking the Lord, there is a major obstacle which, though tough to deal with, must eventually be touched. It might be a sin to breakthrough or a relationship to break off, but it must go.
Asa would not always do the right thing as Israel's king, but this was a great start to a good king's reign. Let us emulate him and take up the boldness the Spirit has for us and allow him to revive our bodies and souls for the glory of God.