Bible Readings for December 13th
Like Abijah, the godly King Asa received a fairly short treatment in 1 Kings 15:9–24. In the book of 2 Chronicles, however, the story of King Asa is significantly expanded, with three times as many verses that stretch across three whole chapters. In today’s reading, we read about the good parts of Asa’s reign, and in tomorrow’s reading from 2 Chronicles 16, we will look at the way in which Asa fell toward the end of his life.
The account of Asa in 1 Kings emphasizes the many reforms that Asa made to put away the false worship from within the borders of Judah, but we read many more details of these reforms in 2 Chronicles 14–15. So, we read in 1 Kings that Asa put away male cult prostitutes, removed idols, and even deposed his own mother from her role as queen mother because she had made an abominable image for Asherah—an image that Asa cut down and burned (1 Kings 15:12–13). But the accounts in 2 Chronicles also provide a prophetic message that Asa received that we do not find in 1 Kings 15. Here, we read that the Spirit of God comes upon the prophet Azariah, who then encourages Asa to press on in the reforms he is making, since “For a long time Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest and without law” (2 Chron. 15:3).
So, Azariah charges Asa to push forward in restoring true worship to the people of Judah: “But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded” (2 Chron. 15:7). After hearing this, Asa takes courage to put away idols and to repair the altar in the temple (2 Chron. 15:8) and leads his people into a covenant and an oath to seek Yahweh with all their hearts and souls (2 Chron. 15:12–14). The people rejoice over the godly leadership of Asa, “for they had sworn with all their heart and had sought him [Yahweh] with their whole desire, and he was found by them, and the LORD gave them rest all around” (2 Chron. 15:15).
Asa’s story vividly illustrates the power of godly leadership. Sometimes, sinful, rebellious people reject godly leaders who seek to lead them deeper into the gospel of Jesus, but other times, people are hungry for a leader to rise up who will courageously stand for Christ. When that happens, great revival can sweep quickly through God’s people as they together seek to know, love, and obey Jesus Christ, so pray for your leaders. And, if you are in a position of leadership, pray that God might give you courage to lead well and to turn the hearts of the people to follow you in seeking Jesus Christ with all their hearts and with their whole desires.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.