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GOOD KING ASA
‘Asa did that which was good.’
2 Chronicles 14:2
I. Asa’s good beginning.—When Asa came to the throne he found the land overrun with idolatry. The first task to which he put his hand was that of a religious reformation. He let it be known at once that he was on God’s side, and that he meant to rule in the fear of God. It was a noble beginning. Asa, in his resolve boldly to confess God and to begin right, is a pattern to us to-day. When we enter a new position let us take our stand boldly from the very beginning.
II. Religion and rest.—Asa began by banishing idolatry: and calling upon the people to serve God, and the chronicler says that ‘the kingdom was quiet before him.’ Notice the sequence: ‘Asa sought the Lord … the Lord gave him rest.’ Religion and rest go hand in hand.
III. Asa’s forethought.—During those years of quiet which God gave his people Asa put his country, as we should say, into a position of defence. For all around Judah there were nations that cast hungry eyes upon her territory, and were only waiting for a favourable opportunity to pounce upon it. So Asa prepared against possible attack. There is a lesson for all in Asa’s forethought. We fight not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. And the way to be safe against the attacks of these dread foes is to be prepared for war. What the armour is St. Paul tells us.
IV. God—a present help.—Asa’s vast preparations seemed useless, but on the eve of the conflict he addressed a confident appeal to God. And Asa did not call in vain. The Lord did help him, with the result that the immense Ethiopian army was destroyed ‘before the Lord and before His host.’ So (1) to have God on one’s side is to be sure of victory. (2) God is always within call. He is a ‘present help.’
KING ASA’S PRAYER
‘And Asa cried unto the Lord his God.’
2 Chronicles 14:11
Asa set the battle in array first, and then he prayed. Effort and prayer go well together.
I. The prayer rises by three flights to the height of supreme confidence.—Asa knows that his army is outnumbered, and fears Zerah’s chariots, which were not used in the Hebrew armies. But faith can afford to see clearly the weakness of its resources and yet to count on victory, for it counts on God.
II. So Asa’s second flight rose above the first by its asking for needed and possible help, and basing the petition on the two pleas that it was faith that asked and faith and obedience that had made him and his men dare this unequal fight.—Our reliance on God gives us a claim on Him which it is impossible that He should not recognise. God never dishonours faith’s drafts. And He never sends us ‘a warfare at our own charges.’
III. Asa’s third flight rises still higher, for in it he, as it were, effaces himself and his troops altogether, and puts Jehovah in their place as the real antagonist of Zerah.—Because God is their God, and they are fighting in and for His name, the lustre of victory or the shame of defeat will be God’s, not theirs. It is the daring of faith thus to identify our cause with God’s, to lose ourselves in Him, and it is blasphemous to do so unless we have done as Asa did—gone into the fight depending on God and for His glory.
‘Asa’s prayer is a model for all who are going forth to meet an enemy. It would be a good prayer to offer at the head of an army before a battle. The several points of this prayer should be noticed particularly. Note, first, Asa’s plea, based upon God’s power—“it is nothing with Thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power.” God has omnipotence in His arm, and can as well give victory against a million as against ten. This ought to give us comfort and confidence in danger. God’s power never can be overmatched. Note, next, the appeal to the love of God—“Help us, O Lord our God; for we rely on Thee.” Any strong man knows how an appeal to his love and sympathy and his kindness of heart moves him. This is, indeed, a moving prayer. God loves nothing in us more than to have us throw ourselves with childlike confidence upon His goodness and grace. Note, third, that the battle was the Lord’s, and that therefore the king could appeal to God for help. “In Thy name we are come against this multitude.” The plea made was that, since the battle was the Lord’s, and Asa’s army was standing for God, therefore no man should be permitted to prevail against God.’
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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 14". The Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent