A MESSAGE FROM GOD
As Asa returned from his victory, the Lord sent a prophet, Azariah, son of Oded, to meet him with encouraging words, telling Asa, "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" (v.2).
Abijah reminded Asa that for a long time Israel was without the true God, without a teaching priest and without law" (v.3). This refers especially to the time of the Judges, when everyone did what was right in his own eyes. In that book we are told that many times, when in trouble, if they turned to the Lord and He delivered them (v.4). But the general condition was so low that God troubled them because of their self-will. But Azariah urges Asa to show himself strong against such dangers (v.7).
In verse 8 the prophecy is said to be that of Oded, so that Azariah, Oded's son, was evidently only the messenger to deliver Oded's prophecy. This word from God had real effect on Asa to give him fresh courage to remove from Judah and Benjamin the abominable idols that had been entertained by his father. He also took such idols away from the cities he had captured from Ephraim.
When it is mentioned that he restored the altar of the Lord, this may mean that he restored the proper sacrifices to be offered on that altar, for there seems to be no evidence that the altar itself had been damaged.
Besides this, Asa was diligent to encourage all the people in the proper worship of the Lord. He gathered all Judah and Benjamin and others even from Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon, who were willing to come when they learned of the Lord's blessing of Asa in contrast to the idolatry of the ten tribes. In this great gathering in the fifteenth year of Asa's reign, they offered to the Lord 700 bulls and 7,000 sheep which had been taken as plunder (vv.10-11). How good it was to draw the attention of the people to the value of the sacrifice, for every case of recovery in Israel was attended by sacrifice, a reminder of the importance of the sacrifice of Christ as being the source of all blessing for His people.
On this occasion they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul, specifying too that any who would not agree to this should be put to death (vv.12-13). As in the case of various other covenants being made, this was simply a renewing of the covenant of law as first given by Moses, and as in those cases, so in this case, it was not long before the covenant was broken. At this time, however, they took an oath before the Lord, with a great display accompanying it (v.14). They had sworn with all their heart and sought the Lord with all their soul. There is no doubt they meant it, but they did not suspect the treachery of their own hearts. Still, God respected the good intentions they had, and gave them rest all around for the time being (v.15), Only in the New Testament do we find the law set aside because it is ineffective, and the pure grace of God introduced as the only principle that can truly bring forth fruit for God. The epistle to the Galatians is a most valuable treatise on this subject.
Also, Asa showed no favouritism to his own close relative Â¾ his grandmother Â¾ who had made an idolatrous image of Asherah (v.16). He removed her from the place of Queen Mother. Not even her age would make any difference in this case. Such evil can not be excused, no matter who is guilty of it. Asa cut down and crushed her image, then burned it.
Though Asa removed the high places from, Judah, (ch.1-1:5), he did not remove these from the rest of Israel (v.17). Of course he did not have the same authority over the ten tribes as he did over Judah, though some from those tribes had chosen to recognise him. But in the main, Asa's heart remained faithful to the Lord. It is also reported that he brought into the house of the Lord silver and gold utensils that both His father and he had dedicated. It seems Abijah had not carried through his promise in dedicating these things, and Asa fulfilled this for him as well as adding his own contribution.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 15". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
Second Sunday after Epiphany