Bible Readings for December 14th

2 Chronicles 16 | Revelation 5 | Zechariah 1 | John 4

Yesterday, in 2 Chronicles 14–15, we looked at the positive aspects of King Asa’s reign over the nation of Judah, which were given in far greater detail than what we had seen in the account of Asa in 1 Kings 15. But where we have typically seen the books of Chronicles presenting idealized descriptions of kings as compared to what we read in the books of Samuel and Kings, in 2 Chronicles 16 we actually find a much more detailed picture of the rebellion of King Asa in his old age than what we read in 1 Kings 15.

In fact, the narrative in 1 Kings 15 did not explicitly tell us anything negative about the reign of King Asa. We did find the story of how Asa sought a covenant with Benhadad, king of Syria, to stand with Judah in opposing Baasha, king of Israel (1 Kgs. 15:16–21), but the narrative in 1 Kings didn’t tell us how we should judge that action. To find a definitive pronouncement that this was sinful, we actually need to turn to 2 Chronicles 16, where Hanani the seer confronts Asa, saying, “Because you relied on the king of Syria, and did not rely on the LORD your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped you” (2 Chron. 16:7).

Shockingly, however, Asa does not respond to this prophetic word with repentance, as we might expect. Where David (1 Chron. 21:8–30) and Rehoboam (2 Chron. 12:6–8) both humble themselves in repentance before Yahweh, Asa instead becomes angry with Hanani and throws him into prison—and then, as Asa hardens his heart further, we read that he begins to inflict “cruelties upon some of the people at the same time” (2 Chron. 16:10). Eventually, at the end of Asa’s life, when he is diseased in his feet, the king continues to harden his heart against Yahweh: “Yet even in his disease he did not seek the LORD, but sought help from physicians” (2 Chron. 16:12). The point of this verse isn’t to suggest that going to doctors or physicians is somehow a mark of deficient faith; rather, the point is that Asa goes to physicians during his last days specifically to avoid humbling himself, repenting, and seeking Yahweh.

While God assures us that there is no sin so great that it can separate us from the love and redemptive power of Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:31–39), we also find warnings throughout the Scriptures that when we harden our hearts against repentance, there comes a point when we no longer want to repent. Let me plead with you—do not neglect the grace of repentance, lest your heart harden at the end of your life to become like Asa’s, cut off from the grace of Jesus by your own rebellion.

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.

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