Abijah has died and his son Asa now sits on the throne. Asa’s heart is like David’s in that he seeks the Lord. And he calls the people to do the same.
I wonder if Asa was a child when David was alive. Did he sit on his great great grandfather’s knee and hear stories of God? Probably not as there were three generations between Asa and David. Did he have someone who cared for him tell him these stories? Did he search out the writings of David on his own? Did he see the difference God made in David’s life when he was faithful and compare it to his own father’s life? I’m more inclined to believe it was this last option.
Asa gave his whole heart to the Lord. He made a practice of living and ruling by God’s Law and commandments. And he insisted the people of Judah do the same. He tore down all the idols that Solomon and his descendants had erected. Yes, Asa was a descendant of Solomon too. Asa was David’s direct descendant and he was fulfilling the promise God made to David. But Asa was also listening to the promises God made to Solomon and Rehoboam.
God told both Solomon and Rehoboam that the kingdom of Israel’s split was HIS doing. God promised David’s line two tribes to rule. Asa was content with this decision of the Lord and he did not fight against his brothers to regain what was lost. He accepted ALL of God’s promises. And because he didn’t challenge God’s sovereign will he had peace in Judah for ten years.
Asa let it be KNOWN that the reason Judah had peace was because of their turning fully to the Lord. “Let us build these cities and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the Lord our God. We have sought Him, and He has given us peace on every side” (verse 7a, emphasis added by me). They didn’t have the land because they had the strongest military might or minds. They didn’t have the land through some treaty. They had the land because they were following the Lord and HE gave it to them and protected them in it.
There was not complete peace in Asa’s time on the throne. He had prepared for that too. Between the two tribes Asa had 580,000 trained soldiers. He also had the rebuilding of Judah’s defenses that God had allowed them to strengthen during the time of rest. And MOST importantly of all, Asa KNEW where to go when faced with adversity.
We read of another ‘lopsided’ battle being waged against God’s faithful people. This time it comes from outside their own nation. I don’t know what happened to inspire the king of Ethiopia to come against Judah but they did, and with overwhelming numbers! A force of a million strong stormed across the way to face little Judah. They probably thought they had this conquest all sewed up the moment they left their own country. What possible resistance could Judah offer against their vast numbers? They probably expected Judah’s king to fall on his knees before them and offer some sort of servitude if they would only spare his people.
Asa didn’t run and hide and neither did his men. Asa didn’t fall on his knees before the king of Ethiopia either. He fell on his knees instead in front of his God. “O Lord, there is none like You to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us. O Lord our God, for we rely on You, and in Your name have we come against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; lee no man prevail against You” (verse 11b).
I can’t think of a more honest and powerful prayer! No matter what happened on the battlefield that day, Asa knew it would be from the Lord. Asa fully expected a victory but he probably had no idea how complete that victory would be.
“So the LORD defeated the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled. Asa and the people who were with him pursued them as far as Gerar, and the Ethiopians fell until none remained alive, for they were broken before the Lord and His army” (verses 12-13a).
Asa couldn’t and didn’t take credit for this battle. It was clearly the Lord who won it. I wonder exactly how He did it. Did He cause confusion in the ranks of the Ethiopian soldiers to where they fell upon their own? Did He weaken their arms so they couldn’t raise their swords? Or did He make them so afraid that they all turned tail and ran, giving Judah their backs to strike against?
Whatever it was that the Lord did, Judah had to choose to act on the advantage He provided. They didn’t sit back and watch as the Ethiopians turned and fled. They pursued until the very last of their enemy had fallen. And they walked away with great spoil as a result.
Our battles today are not physical like Asa’s but are spiritual instead. Yes, we have to take a stand in the physical world at times but our enemy is not our brother. It is the spirit behind their actions. We stand against that spirit. Our only hope of victory is to put our trust in the Lord. Let HIM fight the battle. And when HE turns the enemy to flee, chase it down and don’t quit until it is completely ground under your feet! This often means a lifetime of vigilance standing over these sins so they do NOT rise up again. Satan sends many of his soldiers our way but our King is MIGHTIER than he in!
Father God, thank You for the victories You bring in my life! I know I have stepped away from the battle before it was completed more than a few times. THANK YOU for keeping the enemy from overwhelming me when I looked away. Help me please Father to grind the enemy under my feet until there is no hope if it arising again. I KNOW I will never be ‘battle free’ but I thank You for the rest You grant me. Help me keep fighting until Your rest is complete in me.