1930.) 1 Kings 16

September 23, 2016

In this chapter we will look at five successive kings of Israel:  Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, and Ahab.

1 Kings 16   (NIV)

1 Then the word of the LORD came to Jehu son of Hanani concerning Baasha: 2 “I lifted you up from the dust and appointed you ruler over my people Israel, but you followed the ways of Jeroboam and caused my people Israel to sin and to arouse my anger by their sins. 3 So I am about to wipe out Baasha and his house, and I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat. 4 Dogs will eat those belonging to Baasha who die in the city, and birds will feed on those who die in the country.”

5 As for the other events of Baasha’s reign, what he did and his achievements, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? 6 Baasha rested with his ancestors and was buried in Tirzah. And Elah his son succeeded him as king.

7 Moreover, the word of the LORD came through the prophet Jehu son of Hanani to Baasha and his house, because of all the evil he had done in the eyes of the LORD, arousing his anger by the things he did, becoming like the house of Jeroboam—and also because he destroyed it.

Psalm 103:8 (ESV)

The LORD is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

–which is to say, it would take quite a bit of wickedness to arouse to anger Someone who is slow to anger!

Elah King of Israel

8 In the twenty-sixth year of Asa king of Judah, Elah son of Baasha became king of Israel, and he reigned in Tirzah two years.

9 Zimri, one of his officials, who had command of half his chariots, plotted against him. Elah was in Tirzah at the time, getting drunk in the home of Arza, the palace administrator at Tirzah. 10 Zimri came in, struck him down and killed him in the twenty-seventh year of Asa king of Judah. Then he succeeded him as king.

1K16 wine

Proverbs 23:29-35 (CEV)

Who is always in trouble?

Who argues and fights?

Who has cuts and bruises?

Whose eyes are red?

Everyone who stays up late,

having just one more drink.

Don’t even look

at that colorful stuff

bubbling up in the glass!

It goes down so easily,

but later it bites

like a poisonous snake.

You will see weird things,

and your mind

will play tricks on you.

You will feel tossed about

like someone trying to sleep

on a ship in a storm.

You will be bruised all over,

without even remembering

how it all happened.

And you will lie awake asking,

“When will morning come,

so I can drink some more?”

11 As soon as he began to reign and was seated on the throne, he killed off Baasha’s whole family. He did not spare a single male, whether relative or friend. 12 So Zimri destroyed the whole family of Baasha, in accordance with the word of the LORD spoken against Baasha through the prophet Jehu— 13 because of all the sins Baasha and his son Elah had committed and had caused Israel to commit, so that they aroused the anger of the LORD, the God of Israel, by their worthless idols.

14 As for the other events of Elah’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel?

Zimri King of Israel

15 In the twenty-seventh year of Asa king of Judah, Zimri reigned in Tirzah seven days.

Remember that strange TV show in the 50’s called “Queen for a Day”? Well, Zimri gets to be King for a Week! And it turns out to be a pretty bad week at that . . .

The army was encamped near Gibbethon, a Philistine town. 16 When the Israelites in the camp heard that Zimri had plotted against the king and murdered him, they proclaimed Omri, the commander of the army, king over Israel that very day there in the camp. 17 Then Omri and all the Israelites with him withdrew from Gibbethon and laid siege to Tirzah. 18 When Zimri saw that the city was taken, he went into the citadel of the royal palace and set the palace on fire around him. So he died, 19 because of the sins he had committed, doing evil in the eyes of the LORD and following the ways of Jeroboam and committing the same sin Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit.

Zimri is one of the few suicides in the Bible. The Bible never approves of suicide. It is sin; the sin of self-murder. Yet, we are wrong if we regard it as the unforgivable sin, and anyone who does commit suicide has given in to the lies and deceptions of Satan, whose purpose is to kill and destroy (John 10:10).

–David Guzik

20 As for the other events of Zimri’s reign, and the rebellion he carried out, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel?

Omri King of Israel

21 Then the people of Israel were split into two factions; half supported Tibni son of Ginath for king, and the other half supported Omri. 22 But Omri’s followers proved stronger than those of Tibni son of Ginath. So Tibni died and Omri became king.

23 In the thirty-first year of Asa king of Judah, Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned twelve years, six of them in Tirzah. 24 He bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for two talents of silver and built a city on the hill, calling it Samaria, after Shemer, the name of the former owner of the hill.

I remember reading about the building of Brazil's new planned capital city, Brasilia, in our "Weekly Reader" pamphlets in elementary school.

I remember reading about the building of Brazil’s new planned capital city, Brasilia, in our “Weekly Reader” pamphlets in elementary school.

Omri’s new capital, Samaria, offered some political advantages. The city was his personal property, so he had total control over it. Samaria also commanded a hilltop position, which made it easy to defend. Omri died before completing the city. So his son, Ahab, completed it, building not only the beautiful ivory palace (1 Kings 22:39; Amos 3:13-15), but also a temple to the god Baal. Samaria served as the capital city for the rest of Israel’s dynasties until it fell to the Assyrians in 722 BCE (2 Kings 17:5).

–a footnote from the Life Application Bible

25 But Omri did evil in the eyes of the LORD and sinned more than all those before him. 26 He followed completely the ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat, committing the same sin Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit, so that they aroused the anger of the LORD, the God of Israel, by their worthless idols.

27 As for the other events of Omri’s reign, what he did and the things he achieved, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? 28 Omri rested with his ancestors and was buried in Samaria. And Ahab his son succeeded him as king.

The Mesha Stele was discovered in Jordan in 1868. It bears an inscription that mentions “Omri, king of Israel” as well as a reference to the sacred Hebrew name of God — YHWH. The black basalt stone is now in the Louvre Museum.

Omri was a powerful king, who conquered and colonized northern Moab, and who established a dynasty which lasted through three descendants. Here is a report of some of the extra-biblical records which mention Omri (from  http://www.biblearchaeology.org):

732 BC, Annalistic Record of Tiglath-Pileser III

In 732 BC, the Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser III campaigned in Israel, taking many captives. In their record of that event, the Assyrian scribes referred to Israel as “Omri-Land,” over 100 years after the end of the Omride dynasty: “Omri-Land… and its inhabitants and their possessions I led to Assyria” (Oppenheim 1969:284).

721 BC, Annalistic Record of Sargon II

Finally, because of their failure to follow God’s ways, Samaria was captured and its citizens taken into captivity by the Assyrian king Sargon II. As with Tiglath-Pileser before him, his record of the event refers to the land of Israel as “Omri-Land”:

I conquered and sacked the towns of Shinuhtu and Samaria, and all Omri-Land (Oppenheim 1969:285).

Although Omri was a great military leader, administrator, and builder, and accumulated vast wealth, the Bible gives him low marks. Why? Because he failed in his spiritual responsibilities. He “walked in all the ways of Jeroboam” (1 Kgs 16:26). In other words, he continued to foster the pagan worship Jeroboam, the first king of the Northern Kingdom, instituted at Dan and Bethel (1 Kgs 12:28-33). Omri, in fact, outdid Jeroboam, because he “sinned more than all those before him” (1 Kgs 6:25).

Ahab Becomes King of Israel

1K16 chart

29 In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah,

Asa reigned for 41 years in total (1 Kings 15:10). During his 41 years there were seven different kings of Israel!

Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned in Samaria over Israel twenty-two years. 30 Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the LORD than any of those before him. 31 He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him. 32 He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria. 33 Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to arouse the anger of the LORD, the God of Israel, than did all the kings of Israel before him.

1K16 uh-oh

Ahab is trouble, and it starts with him marrying Jezebel, a woman who had a rich evil streak in her. In order to please her, Ahab built a temple to her god, Baal, in the new capital city.

34 In Ahab’s time, Hiel of Bethel rebuilt Jericho. He laid its foundations at the cost of his firstborn son Abiram, and he set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, in accordance with the word of the LORD spoken by Joshua son of Nun.

Joshua 6:26 (ESV)

Joshua laid an oath on them at that time, saying, “Cursed before the LORD be the man who rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho.

“At the cost of his firstborn shall he
lay its foundation,
and at the cost of his youngest son
shall he set up its gates.”

This should have been a warning to Ahab to pay attention to the Lord!

_________________________

Music:

All these kings of Israel mentioned here.  But only one I want to follow!  “Jesus, King of My Heart”  sung  HERE  by Rebecca St. James.

Jesus, King of my heart
Father, my peace and my light
Spirit, the joy of my soul You are

Jesus, to you none compare
Father, I rest in Your care
Spirit, the hope of my heart You are

The heavens declare You are God
And the mountains rejoice
The oceans cry Alleluia
As we worship You Lord
For this is our Song of Love

Jesus, You save my soul
I’ll thank You forevermore
Jesus, the love of my life You are

Jesus, I am in awe
Of the love that You have shown
Jesus, how precious You are to me

_________________________

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
five crowns.    http://static-p3.fotolia.com/jpg/00/14/34/90/400_F_14349093_P9JMXiNWZWRUjm1ExT90fJjIAG4Is4U7.jpg
wine in glass.    http://womenonthefence.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Avanti-wine.jpg
Queen for a Day.    http://www.fiftiesweb.com/tv/queen-for-a-day.jpg
Brasilia.    https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5178/5562942295_c4f284723f_b.jpg
the Mesha Stele.    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mesha_Stele_%28511142469%29.jpg
chart of kings of Israel and Judah.   http://image.slidesharecdn.com/journey12-140216034453-phpapp02/95/journey-through-the-bible-part-12-1-kings-1622-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-4-638.jpg?cb=1392522901
uh-oh.   http://the-penultimate-word.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/uh-oh.jpg
Jericho walls falling.   http://www.reformation.org/en-walls-of-jericho.jpg

1929.) Psalm 73

September 22, 2016

Psalm 73   (NIV)

A psalm of Asaph.

1 Chronicles 16:37 (NIV)

David left Asaph and his associates before the ark of the covenant of the LORD to minister there regularly, according to each day’s requirements.

The question asked in the first 15 verses of this psalm — “How can a good God allow the righteous to suffer?” — reveals several fallacies in our thinking. The first is the assumption that suffering is always evil and therefore irreconcilable with God’s goodness. The second is a failure to understand righteousness, so far as it relates to the saint, the true child of God. In answer to the problem of pain, this psalm forces us to take another look at our definition of good, lest we accuse God of being the author of evil by allowing us to suffer. Let those who suffer look to this psalm for a word of instruction.

–Bob Deffinbaugh (and following comments)

1 Surely God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.

Here, Asaph declares the truth on which his faith is founded as well as the truth which troubles his faith. The faith of the saints has always been rooted in the firm conviction of God’s existence and the assurance that He rewards those who diligently seek Him. “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Heb. 11:6).

In one sense, verse 1 is the conclusion of the matter. Asaph believed that God existed, that He was good, and that He was sovereign. In another sense, however, this verse was the basis of the psalmist’s problem. If God exists, and He is good so as to reward the righteous, and He is all-powerful, totally in control of His creation, then why is it that in God’s world the wicked seem to be doing better than the righteous? Aren’t the facts inconsistent with Asaph’s faith? How can God be good to the pure in heart if observation convinces us that sinners succeed and saints suffer?

This is a serious spiritual issue and one that has precipitated widely diverging explanations. The atheist answers by explaining that there is no God. The cynic says that there is a God, but denies that He is good; life is just one of God’s cruel jokes. The liberal believes that there is a God who is loving, good, and kind; he explains suffering by denying the sovereignty of God. God is all-good, but not all-powerful. 

A biblical faith does not require nor permit us to deny any of the attributes of God. We maintain not only that God exists, but also that He is good and great, a rewarder of the righteous and a judge of the wicked. How, then, do we explain the problem of the suffering of the saints and the success of sinners? The psalmist takes us through the steps of his personal struggle in verses 2-28, from the low point of his doubts and protest to the pinnacle of his renewed devotion and praise.

2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
3 For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4 They have no struggles;
their bodies are healthy and strong.
5 They are free from common human burdens;
they are not plagued by human ills.
6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
they clothe themselves with violence.

7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity;
their evil imaginations have no limits.
8 They scoff, and speak with malice;
with arrogance they threaten oppression.
9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
and their tongues take possession of the earth.
10 Therefore their people turn to them
and drink up waters in abundance.
11 They say, “How would God know?
Does the Most High know anything?”

12 This is what the wicked are like—
always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.

13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
and have washed my hands in innocence.
14 All day long I have been afflicted,
and every morning brings new punishments.

15 If I had spoken out like that,
I would have betrayed your children.

16 When I tried to understand all this,
it troubled me deeply
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.

In verse 16 we come to a dramatic change of heart and mind where we move from the testing of Asaph’s faith to its triumph. The inner debate and doubting of the psalmist, as portrayed in verses 2-15 were the result of his efforts to resolve the problem by mere reason. Human reason could only lead Asaph to the conclusion that personal piety was profitless and painful. But suddenly in verse 16 there is a new perspective and a complete change in Asaph’s attitude. Instead of protest there is praise. What changed his outlook? The answer, I believe, can be summed up in one word—worship: “When I tried to understand all this It was oppressive to me Till I entered the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their final destiny” (vv. 16-17).

It was not a change of place that transformed Asaph’s outlook, but rather a change in his perspective and in his vocation. Asaph is now a man of worship. While God’s name was hardly mentioned in the first 14 verses (except in v. 1) other than on the lips of the wicked (v. 11), now Asaph is communing with God in worship.  There is a dramatic change in the pronouns employed. In the first half of the psalm the wicked (“they” and “them”) are the object of Asaph’s attention, but in verses 15-28 God (“you”) is central. The exact nature of worship and its effect on Asaph’s heart is described in this second half of the psalm.

18 Surely you place them on slippery ground;
you cast them down to ruin.
19 How suddenly are they destroyed,
completely swept away by terrors!
20 They are like a dream when one awakes;
when you arise, Lord,
you will despise them as fantasies.

21 When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,
22 I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.

23 Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

Psalm 73:25 — Whom have I in heaven but Thee?  And there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee.

We all know the hymn “Jesus, Lover of my soul.” The line “Thou, O Christ, art all I want,” comes to us with searching power. It is strangely easy to want Him and a great many other things too. We want to do what we want to do, and to be where we want to be. This is not desiring Christ our Lord and His will only. It is not, “Thou, O Christ, art ALL I want.”

Our Lord want us to come to the place where we can truly say with the psalmist that there is no one and nothing on earth that we desire beside Him. The writer goes on in the next verse, My flesh and my heart faileth, and that is often our experience too. But we do not stop there. The psalm continues with a triumphant But God.  Verse 26:  But God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

“Thou, O Christ, art all I want;
More than all in Thee I find.”

27 Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.

Hebrews 10:22  (NIV)

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings.

I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.

After worshiping the Lord, Asaph sees God’s promised blessings and His cursings in an entirely different light, and therefore Asaph concludes the psalm by summarizing the peril of the wicked and the blessings of the righteous. The wicked, those who are not near to God (v. 27), will ultimately perish. No matter how comfortable they now seem to be, destruction is their final destiny. The God who is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart (v. 1), is also the God who will destroy those who are unfaithful to Him (vv. 18-20, 27). Their momentary ease of life is no longer the object of Asaph’s envy, but their final destiny is a sobering reality.

If the blessing of God had previously been measured only in terms of material prosperity and ease of life, it is now viewed as being, in the words of one hymn, “near to the heart of God” (v. 28). This was the case with Asaph (vv. 23-26) and so he can conclude the psalm with the confident statement that he has made God his refuge and that he will publicly praise God for His wondrous deeds, which may include sending adversity into the life of His loved ones (v. 28).

Worship is not so much the leaving behind of life and coming into the presence of God as it is bringing life before God and coming to view it as He does. Worship is seeing things as they are. God is good and faithful. Life on earth is fleeting. Thus we should praise God for all that He is and for all that He does, even when He brings suffering into our lives.

Worship is not just important because it delights the heart of God. Worship is vital because it renews the perspective of the saints and enables them to live in a world of suffering, praising God, obeying His word, and looking ahead to the fulfillment of all His promises.

–Bob Deffinbaugh

_________________________

Music:

“Jesus, Lover of My Soul,” by Charles Wesley, has been called the greatest hymn ever written.  The arrangement  HERE,  by Ken Medema, is my favorite.  The verse of this hymn that Amy refers to above is not sung in this performance, but I have included it below.

Thou, O Christ, art all I want;
   More than all in Thee I find:
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint,
   Heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy name;
   I am all unrighteousness:
False and full of sin I am;
   Thou art full of truth and grace.

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Desiring God.     http://wallpaper4god.com/wallpapers/psalm-7325_3188_1024x768.jpg
unfair.    http://www.truelifecoaching.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/unfair.png
God is good.    http://jamieannonline.com/imgsdabney/GodIsGood.jpg
hard heart.    http://www.foundationsforfreedom.net/Topics/Purity/_resPurity/HardenHearts.gif
Here I am to worship.      https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/hereiam_jpg.jpg
Whom have I in heaven but you?    http://oneyearbibleimages.com/psalm73_25.jpg
Praise the Lord!    http://icrucified.com/icruciblog/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/praise-the-lord.jpg

1928.) 2 Chronicles 16

September 21, 2016

Asa started well . . . somehow lost his focus . . . and finished poorly.

2 Chronicles 16   (NLT)

Final Years of Asa’s Reign

Asa, having passed the sternest of tests first (by withstanding the mighty Ethiopian army), fails a comparatively trivial one. Such irony — and also such psychological truth. There is that in us which runs to accept great challenges, because they flatter us and will bring us celebrity, while we jib at those tasks where there seems to be little to gain and everything to lose. Naaman almost squandered his opportunity to be healed for such ignoble reasons, until his servants took courage and pointed out his folly (2 Kings 5:13f). Many who have been faithful in great things have found it hard to keep faith in smaller matters.

–J. G. McConville

Matthew 25:21  (ESV)

His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

1In the thirty-sixth year of Asa’s reign, King Baasha of Israel invaded Judah and fortified Ramah in order to prevent anyone from entering or leaving King Asa’s territory in Judah.

one point perspective

It’s all a matter of perspective.  What Asa saw as disaster was actually an opportunity for him — to trust God!

2 Asa responded by removing the silver and gold from the treasuries of the Temple of the Lord and the royal palace. He sent it to King Ben-hadad of Aram, who was ruling in Damascus, along with this message:

3 “Let there be a treaty between you and me like the one between your father and my father. See, I am sending you silver and gold. Break your treaty with King Baasha of Israel so that he will leave me alone.”

“I will say nothing about what belonged to his own house. He might do as he liked with that so long as he did not spend it upon sin, but he took of the treasure that belonged to the house of the Lord, and gave it to Ben-hadad to bribe him to break his league with Bassha, and be in league with himself. Thus God was robbed that the unbelieving king might find help in an arm of flesh.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

4 Ben-hadad agreed to King Asa’s request and sent the commanders of his army to attack the towns of Israel. They conquered the towns of Ijon, Dan, Abel-beth-maacah, and all the store cities in Naphtali. 5 As soon as Baasha of Israel heard what was happening, he abandoned his project of fortifying Ramah and stopped all work on it. 6 Then King Asa called out all the men of Judah to carry away the building stones and timbers that Baasha had been using to fortify Ramah. Asa used these materials to fortify the towns of Geba and Mizpah.

Well, it seems Asa’s plan is working . . . at least in the short term . . . but in God’s eyes?

7 At that time Hanani the seer came to King Asa and told him, “Because you have put your trust in the king of Aram instead of in the Lord your God, you missed your chance to destroy the army of the king of Aram.

This was a complete surprise to Asa. He believed that the main enemy was Israel, because of King Baasha’s aggressive building of the Ramah fortress. He succeeded in gaining Syria’s help against Baasha and Israel, but he failed to see what God saw: that the bigger enemy was Syria, and God wanted to give him victory over the greater enemy.  Compromise blinds us to who our true enemies are and it leads us into alliances with those whom God would rather give us victory over.

–David Guzik

8 Don’t you remember what happened to the Ethiopians and Libyans and their vast army, with all of their chariots and charioteers? At that time you relied on the Lord, and he handed them over to you. 9 The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.

from Experiencing God Day-by-Day,
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby

A LOYAL HEART

If your heart is loyal to God, you do not have to look for Him, He is already looking for you!  God told King Asa that He continuously watches for those who are steadfast in their commitment to Him.  When He finds them, He makes His presence powerfully evident to them.  King Asa had experienced God’s awesome power when he faced a menacing army from Ethiopia (2 Chron. 14:9).  God gave Asa victory, despite the overwhelming odds he faced.  In spite of this miracle, the next time Asa faced a enemy he failed to trust God.  Even though the army Asa faced was smaller than the one God had previously defeated, Asa’s faith in God faltered.  God encouraged Asa to take courage in knowing that God never rests or sleeps.  He is never distracted, bu diligently seeks individuals whose hearts are completely committed to Him.

Life’s challenges sometimes seem impossible.  Do you feel you are too weak to fight the battle?  Don’t give up!  Keep your heart loyal to God, for He constantly watches over you, and He desires to demonstrate His strength in victory in your life.  God is willing and just as capable of giving you victory in your current challenge as He was with those in times past.  The questions is not whether God is looking for His people, but whether His people are seeking Him.  Take comfort in God’s promise that He watches over you and He wants to give you victory.

What a fool you have been! From now on you will be at war.”

10 Asa became so angry with Hanani for saying this that he threw him into prison and put him in stocks. At that time Asa also began to oppress some of his people.

Summary of Asa’s Reign

11 The rest of the events of Asa’s reign, from beginning to end, are recorded in The Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 12 In the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa developed a serious foot disease.  (One commentator suggests that it was “gout with ensuing gangrene.”)

two point perspective

And here is another opportunity for Asa to trust God!

How many “opportunities” have I missed recently, seeing only my present difficulty and not God’s willingness to show Himself mighty on my behalf?

Yet even with the severity of his disease, he did not seek the Lord’s help but turned only to his physicians. 13 So he died in the forty-first year of his reign. 14 He was buried in the tomb he had carved out for himself in the City of David. He was laid on a bed perfumed with sweet spices and fragrant ointments, and the people built a huge funeral fire in his honor.

_________________________

Music:

Unlike Asa, I want to finish strong!  Let’s finish strong together, wholly devoted to the Lord all of the days of our lives.

HERE  is “Cry of My Heart”  by Terry Butler.

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
finish strong.   http://www.teachersparadise.com/images/productsarch/Learning-Materials–Start-Now-Stay-Focused-Finish-Strong-Poster–T-A67326_L.jpg
perspective.    http://www.olejarz.com/arted/perspective/images/intro.gif
Proverbs 15:3.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/proverbs15vs3.jpg
two point perspective.    http://www.how-to-draw-funny-cartoons.com/image-files/two-point-perspective-6.gif

1927.) 2 Chronicles 15

September 20, 2016

“Passion VI” by Randy Loubier.

2 Chronicles 15   (NLT)

(To subscribers who have trouble getting the links to work, here is a suggestion. When you open your new email of DWELLING, click on the top line, which is the number and text of the day’s posting — today’s is  1927.) 2 Chronicles 15. Or hit the URL link at the far right just above the opening picture. Either one will take you to the DWELLING site. You will find the page looks better, all the links work, and you can make and read comments!)

Asa’s Religious Reforms

1 Then the Spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded, 2 and he went out to meet King Asa as he was returning from the battle. “Listen to me, Asa!” he shouted. “Listen, all you people of Judah and Benjamin! The Lord will stay with you as long as you stay with him! Whenever you seek him, you will find him.

2Chr15 Draw near

But if you abandon him, he will abandon you. 3 For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach them, and without the Law to instruct them.

The Prophet Azariah describes the bad state of Israel in their overconfidence and distance from God. They had rejected God, those who teach them the Word of God, and the law itself.

4But whenever they were in trouble and turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him out, they found him.

5 “During those dark times, it was not safe to travel. Problems troubled the people of every land. 6 Nation fought against nation, and city against city, for God was troubling them with every kind of problem. 7 But as for you, be strong and courageous, for your work will be rewarded.”

2Chr15 be strong

8 When Asa heard this message from Azariah the prophet, he took courage and removed all the detestable idols from the land of Judah and Benjamin and in the towns he had captured in the hill country of Ephraim. And he repaired the altar of the Lord, which stood in front of the entry room of the Lord’s Temple.

Not this:

2 Chr15 bike

“When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle.  Then I realised that the Lord doesn’t work that way so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me.”

–Emo Philips

_________________________

This!

Some believe that the forgiving nature of God gives one a reason to sin, based on the idea that we can sin now and simply ask forgiveness later. Asa’s reaction to the word of the prophet shows the correct response to the forgiving nature of God – to respond with a greater love and a greater passion for obedience.

 We should notice that this took courage for King Asa to do. He had to combat against:

  • The entrenched interests in favor of idolatry
  • The unseen spiritual forces in favor of idolatry
  • The example of his predecessors and neighbor tribes to the north in favor of idolatry
  • His own fleshly inclinations in favor of idolatry and compromise
  • The lethargy of compromise and indifference that supports idolatry

–David Guzik

9 Then Asa called together all the people of Judah and Benjamin, along with the people of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon who had settled among them. For many from Israel had moved to Judah during Asa’s reign when they saw that the Lord his God was with him.

ink painting of Jerusalem, by Mira Kunz

Remember that the writer of Chronicles is addressing the exiles who have returned to Jerusalem after their exile at the hands of the Babylonians.  This story, of Jews from previous generations who had moved “home,” would be an encouragement to the faithful remnant now trying to rebuild Jerusalem.

10 The people gathered at Jerusalem in late spring, during the fifteenth year of Asa’s reign.

11 On that day they sacrificed to the Lord 700 cattle and 7,000 sheep and goats from the plunder they had taken in the battle. 12 Then they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and soul. 13 They agreed that anyone who refused to seek the Lord, the God of Israel, would be put to death—whether young or old, man or woman. 14 They shouted out their oath of loyalty to the Lord with trumpets blaring and rams’ horns sounding. 15 All in Judah were happy about this covenant, for they had entered into it with all their heart. They earnestly sought after God, and they found him. And the Lord gave them rest from their enemies on every side.

16 King Asa even deposed his grandmother Maacah from her position as queen mother because she had made an obscene Asherah pole. He cut down her obscene pole, broke it up, and burned it in the Kidron Valley.

As I read the commentators:  the “obscene” pole was likely some kind of exaggerated phallic symbol associated with the worship of Asherah. As it says in 2 Kings 17:15 — They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless.

17 Although the pagan shrines were not removed from Israel, Asa’s heart remained completely faithful throughout his life. 18 He brought into the Temple of God the silver and gold and the various items that he and his father had dedicated.

19 So there was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of Asa’s reign.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “Hosanna”  by Paul Baloche.

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Loubier.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/seek-him.jpg
James 4:8.   http://66.media.tumblr.com/79b5c8d213ef69e5092a31fc7007c5a4/tumblr_o3aw0rsBbK1tjj2sjo1_1280.jpg
Be strong.   https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CQ-HrP7UcAAFvC6.jpg
bicycle.    http://hardnewscafe.usu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/bike_blue.png
Kunz.    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2648/3897158783_9c993b054f.jpg

1926.) 2 Chronicles 14

September 19, 2016

“King Asa Destroying the Idols” by Francois de Nome (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge)

2 Chronicles 14   (New Living Translation)

(To subscribers who have trouble getting the links to work, here is a suggestion. When you open your new email of DWELLING, click on the top line, which is the number and text of the day’s posting — today’s is  1926.) 2 Chronicles 14. Or hit the URL link at the far right just above the opening picture. Either one will take you to the DWELLING site. You will find the page looks better, all the links work, and you can read and make comments!)

Early Years of Asa’s Reign

2Chr14 lean

1 When Abijah died, he was buried in the City of David. Then his son Asa became the next king. There was peace in the land for ten years. 2 Asa did what was pleasing and good in the sight of the Lord his God. 3 He removed the foreign altars and the pagan shrines. He smashed the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah poles. 4 He commanded the people of Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and to obey his law and his commands. 5 Asa also removed the pagan shrines, as well as the incense altars from every one of Judah’s towns. So Asa’s kingdom enjoyed a period of peace. 6During those peaceful years, he was able to build up the fortified towns throughout Judah. No one tried to make war against him at this time, for the Lord was giving him rest from his enemies.

7 Asa told the people of Judah, “Let us build towns and fortify them with walls, towers, gates, and bars. The land is still ours because we sought the Lord our God, and he has given us peace on every side.” So they went ahead with these projects and brought them to completion.

The Chronicler includes this account, not previously recorded in 1 Kings, to encourage the people in his own day who had been allowed to rebuild the destroyed city of Jerusalem after its fall to the Babylonians.

–David Guzik

8 King Asa had an army of 300,000 warriors from the tribe of Judah, armed with large shields and spears. He also had an army of 280,000 warriors from the tribe of Benjamin, armed with small shields and bows. Both armies were composed of well-trained fighting men.

9 Once an Ethiopian named Zerah attacked Judah with an army of 1,000,000 men and 300 chariots. They advanced to the town of Mareshah, 10 so Asa deployed his armies for battle in the valley north of Mareshah. 11 Then Asa cried out to the Lord his God, “O Lord, no one but you can help the powerless against the mighty! Help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in you alone. It is in your name that we have come against this vast horde. O Lord, you are our God; do not let mere men prevail against you!”

Psalm 9:19   (TNIV)

Arise, LORD, do not let mortals triumph;
   let the nations be judged in your presence.

from This Day with the Master,
by Dennis F. Kinlaw

Asa cried out to the Lord his God, and said, “Lord, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go.”  (2 Chronicles 14:11  NKJV)

The author of Chronicles portrays God as an actor on the human scene and in individual lives. The book is a history of the kings of Judah. In describing these kings’ lives, the writer occasionally indicates God’s involvement in human life. Sometimes that involvement is in the form of natural forces and sometimes God acts supernaturally; either way, the chronicler wants to affirm that God is alive, present, and active in the nation of Israel. We also need to think in terms of God being present with his activity, and we should expect him to work in our lives.

My mistake in too much of my life has been to simply look back and give God thanks for what I can see he has done instead of living in anticipation of what he is going to do. I tend to see the dark clouds and not see the One who is behind and above those looming clouds. However, if we take Scripture seriously, there ought to be an anticipation in our hearts that says, “I wonder what he is going to do today. I have this massive problem; I wonder how he is going to work it out.” We need to expect his action and presence in our lives.

We live in the most significant moments in human history. Every barrier to the gospel either has been broken down or is permeable. The great missionaries such as David Livingstone would have loved to have the opportunities and the open doors that we have. Unfortunately, the Western church is spiritually bankrupt and largely apostate, so all we see is the death around us. But God is at work in the world, and the opportunities are everywhere. The devil wants us to be blind so we won’t take part in the greatest move of the gospel ever.

God is at work in the world, and he wants to use you and me to accomplish his purposes. Are you anticipating him today?

_________________________

Music:

Like Paul says, I want to do that! But I find myself not doing that! Or like Casting Crowns says  HERE,  “Somewhere in the Middle.”

_________________________

12 So the Lord defeated the Ethiopians in the presence of Asa and the army of Judah, and the enemy fled. 13 Asa and his army pursued them as far as Gerar, and so many Ethiopians fell that they were unable to rally. They were destroyed by the Lord and his army, and the army of Judah carried off a vast amount of plunder.

Ethiopian warriors

Ethiopian warriors

14 While they were at Gerar, they attacked all the towns in that area, and terror from the Lord came upon the people there. As a result, a vast amount of plunder was taken from these towns, too. 15 They also attacked the camps of herdsmen and captured many sheep, goats, and camels before finally returning to Jerusalem.

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
de Nome.    http://www.wga.hu/art/n/nome/king_asa.jpg
Help us, O Jehovah.   https://www.bennettcards.co.uk/shop/images/FM37.jpg
town plans (Nuremberg, 1493).    http://www.swaen.com/os/Lgimg/12337.jpg
anticipation.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/anticipation-copy.jpg
Ethiopian warriors.   http://amazingbibletimeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Asa_King_of_Judah_Defeats_Ethiopians_revised-300×190.jpg

1925.) 2 Chronicles 13

September 16, 2016

2 Chronicles 13   (NLT)

Abijah’s War with Jeroboam

Abijah began to rule over Judah in the eighteenth year of Jeroboam’s reign in Israel. 2He reigned in Jerusalem three years. His mother was Maacah, the daughter of Uriel from Gibeah.

Then war broke out between Abijah and Jeroboam. 3 Judah, led by King Abijah, fielded 400,000 select warriors, while Jeroboam mustered 800,000 select troops from Israel.

Outnumbered 2 to 1!

4 When the army of Judah arrived in the hill country of Ephraim, Abijah stood on Mount Zemaraim and shouted to Jeroboam and all Israel: “Listen to me! 5 Don’t you realize that the Lord, the God of Israel, made a lasting covenant with David, giving him and his descendants the throne of Israel forever? 6 Yet Jeroboam son of Nebat, a mere servant of David’s son Solomon, rebelled against his master. 7 Then a whole gang of scoundrels joined him, defying Solomon’s son Rehoboam when he was young and inexperienced and could not stand up to them.

This is quite a spin on the facts! The “gang of scoundrels” were perhaps less to blame than the fool Rehoboam. Yet even Rehoboam has some shining moments of faithfulness! Praise God that “when we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13). So as God shows grace to us, we can extend it to others, even to the Rehoboams in our lives.

8 “Do you really think you can stand against the kingdom of the Lord that is led by the descendants of David? You may have a vast army, and you have those gold calves that Jeroboam made as your gods. 9 But you have chased away the priests of the Lord (the descendants of Aaron) and the Levites, and you have appointed your own priests, just like the pagan nations. You let anyone become a priest these days! Whoever comes to be dedicated with a young bull and seven rams can become a priest of these so-called gods of yours!

10 “But as for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not abandoned him. Only the descendants of Aaron serve the Lord as priests, and the Levites alone may help them in their work. 11 They present burnt offerings and fragrant incense to the Lord every morning and evening. They place the Bread of the Presence on the holy table, and they light the gold lampstand every evening. We are following the instructions of the Lord our God, but you have abandoned him. 12 So you see, God is with us. He is our leader. His priests blow their trumpets and lead us into battle against you. O people of Israel, do not fight against the Lord, the God of your ancestors, for you will not succeed!”

2Ch13 Cross-Clouds

Abijah did not consider his circumstances to be beyond the arm of the Lord! But how many times do I wonder (in my deepest heart) if God is unable or unwilling to help me? Far be it from any of us to think, even for a moment, that God has abandoned us! The cross of Calvary shows us irrevocably that God cares for us, and deeply loves us, and will do whatever it takes to save us!

_________________________

Music:

An old, old hymn — “Leaning on the everlasting arms,”  sung  HERE  by Iris Dement after a couple minutes of piano solo.

The story of this hymn:  Anthony Showalter was leading a singing school in an Alabama church in 1887. When he returned to his boardinghouse room one night, two letters awaited him. Both were from former students, and both men told of the recent loss of their wives. Mr. Showalter wrote back, seeking to comfort the young men in the midst of their grief.

But what to write? When he came to the end of each letter, he wanted to include a Bible verse. He picked Deuteronomy 33:27, “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms ….”

He pondered the words of that verse as he penned them into the letters, and the lyrics of the chorus of Leaning on the Everlasting Arms came to his mind. He wrote to his friend, Elisha Hoffman, explaining that he had a chorus, but no verses. Mr. Hoffman wrote back with the rest of the words of this famous hymn.

–Hymns We Love

_________________________

13 Meanwhile, Jeroboam had secretly sent part of his army around behind the men of Judah to ambush them. 14 When Judah realized that they were being attacked from the front and the rear, they cried out to the Lord for help. Then the priests blew the trumpets, 15 and the men of Judah began to shout. At the sound of their battle cry, God defeated Jeroboam and all Israel and routed them before Abijah and the army of Judah.

Psalm 22:5   (NIV)

They cried to you and were saved;
   in you they trusted and were not disappointed.

16 The Israelite army fled from Judah, and God handed them over to Judah in defeat. 17 Abijah and his army inflicted heavy losses on them; 500,000 of Israel’s select troops were killed that day. 18 So Judah defeated Israel on that occasion because they trusted in the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 19 Abijah and his army pursued Jeroboam’s troops and captured some of his towns, including Bethel,

Bethel was one of the towns in which Jeroboam had placed a golden calf. See, the idol could not even protect itself, much less the army of Israel!

Jeshanah, and Ephron, along with their surrounding villages.

20 So Jeroboam of Israel never regained his power during Abijah’s lifetime, and finally the Lord struck him down and he died. 21 Meanwhile, Abijah of Judah grew more and more powerful.  He married fourteen wives and had twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters.

22 The rest of the events of Abijah’s reign, including his words and deeds, are recorded in The Commentary of Iddo the Prophet.

1 When Abijah died, he was buried in the City of David. Then his son Asa became the next king. There was peace in the land for ten years.

The profile of Abjiah in 1 Kings 15 is overwhelmingly negative. We read, he walked in all the sins of his father, which he had done before him; his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David.(1 Kings 15:3) Yet the Chronicler says nothing good or bad about the overall reign of Abjiah.

This was because the Chronicler wanted to emphasize the good that happened under the reign of Abijah; namely, the great deliverance that came when Judah relied on God. The Chronicler assumes the reader knows the material about Abijah in 1 Kings; yet he wanted to show that even a bad man can be shown grace when he relies on the Lord. This would be a great encouragement to the returned exiles to whom the Chronicler first wrote.

–David Guzik

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Psalm 46:1.    http://wonders.wallpaperdave.com/ps46-01v.jpg
see good.    http://presentoutlook.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/see-good-in-others.gif
cross.    http://www.soldiersforfaith.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Cross-Clouds.jpg
golden calf.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/goldencalf1.jpg

1924.) 1 Kings 15

September 15, 2016

“King Asa of Judah Destroys the Idols” by Francois de Nome (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK)

1 Kings 15   (NIV)

Abijah King of Judah

The two new kings whom we meet in 1 Kings 15 represent, respectively, the two main kinds of kings we will read about during the age of Judah’s kings. On the one hand, we have the wicked Abijah, who “walked in all the sins that his father did before him, and his heart was not wholly true to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father” (1 Kgs. 15:3). Then, on the other hand, we have Asa, who “did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, as David his father had done.…the heart of Asa was wholly true to the LORD all his days” (1 Kgs. 15:11, 14). These stories are not merely historical trivia—the biblical narrator has much deeper theological principles to teach us.

In Abijah, we read a description of what will become a pattern for Judah’s wicked kings. Abijah walks in the sins of his father, Rehoboam, rather than obeying Yahweh with a whole heart as David had done (1 Kgs. 15:3). Just as Israel’s kings all drag the northern ten tribes down toward their eventual exile at the hands of the Assyrians, so kings like Rehoboam and Abijah pave the way for Judah’s exile into Babylon.

In Asa, however, we find hope that Yahweh can raise up another king after his own heart. It is important to understand, however, that Yahweh provides godly kings to his people not out of obligation but out of grace. The critical line for understanding the theology of the books of Kings comes in 1 Kings 15:4–5: “Nevertheless, for David’s sake the LORD his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, setting up his son after him, and establishing Jerusalem, because David did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and did not turn aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.”

1K15 lamp

Justice would have required Yahweh to wipe out Judah at the first sign of kings like Rehoboam and Abijah, but Yahweh nevertheless remembers the covenant he had promised David, and so he remains faithful to his people for the sake of David, his servant.

Ultimately, this covenant logic takes on more importance as we see Yahweh continue to be faithful to his people, even now. It is not because we deserve God’s kindness that we continue to receive the gracious provision of a godly ruler. Instead, it is that God treats us kindly for the sake of the Son of David, Jesus Christ. No matter what sins we have committed or what idols we surround ourselves with, Jesus Christ stands ready through sheer grace to save his people and to preserve them for the day when he will return to establish his kingdom on this earth.

–Jacob D. Gerber

1 In the eighteenth year of the reign of Jeroboam son of Nebat, Abijah became king of Judah, 2 and he reigned in Jerusalem three years. His mother’s name was Maakah daughter of Abishalom.

3 He committed all the sins his father had done before him; his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his forefather had been.

1K15 heart

This was the real problem with Abijam’s reign — his lack of a real personal relationship with God. What choice are we making and displaying day by day with the words we speak and the things we do?

4 Nevertheless, for David’s sake the LORD his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem by raising up a son to succeed him and by making Jerusalem strong. 5 For David had done what was right in the eyes of the LORD and had not failed to keep any of the LORD’s commands all the days of his life—except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.

6 There was war between Abijah and Jeroboam throughout Abijah’s lifetime.

2 Chronicles 13 (we will read this chapter tomorrow) fills in more interesting details about the reign of Abijah. It tells us how there was war between Jeroboam of Israel and Abijah of Judah, and how Abijah challenged Jeroboam on the basis of righteousness and faithfulness to God. Jeroboam responded with a surprise attack, and victory seemed certain for Israel over Judah — but Abjiah cried out to the Lord, and God won a victory for Judah that day. 2 Chronicles 13:18 says of that war, Thus the children of Israel were subdued at that time; and the children of Judah prevailed, because they relied on the Lord God of their fathers.

–David Guzik

7 As for the other events of Abijah’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? There was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. 8 And Abijah rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. And Asa his son succeeded him as king.

Asa King of Judah

9 In the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Asa became king of Judah, 10 and he reigned in Jerusalem forty-one years. His grandmother’s name was Maakah daughter of Abishalom.

11 Asa did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, as his father David had done.

“His father David”  is actually Asa’s great-great-grandfather. In Hebrew, “his father” is a term which can be used to mean ancestor, a loose use of the word, according to our Western minds.

12 He expelled the male shrine prostitutes from the land and got rid of all the idols his ancestors had made. 13 He even deposed his grandmother Maakah from her position as queen mother, because she had made a repulsive image for the worship of Asherah. Asa cut it down and burned it in the Kidron Valley. 14 Although he did not remove the high places, Asa’s heart was fully committed to the LORD all his life. 15 He brought into the temple of the LORD the silver and gold and the articles that he and his father had dedicated.

1K15 Reformation_under_Asa

Finally a good king for Judah! Asa banished prostitutes from worship, removed his idolatrous grandmother from the throne, and burned the idols. He also restored the silver and gold items to the temple. He is off to a good start, doing right in the Lord’s eyes!

16 There was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel throughout their reigns. 17 Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah and fortified Ramah to prevent anyone from leaving or entering the territory of Asa king of Judah.

18 Asa then took all the silver and gold that was left in the treasuries of the LORD’s temple and of his own palace. He entrusted it to his officials and sent them to Ben-Hadad son of Tabrimmon, the son of Hezion, the king of Aram, who was ruling in Damascus. 19 “Let there be a treaty between me and you,” he said, “as there was between my father and your father. See, I am sending you a gift of silver and gold. Now break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel so he will withdraw from me.”

But here he falters. Asa used this treasure to buy the favor of Ben-Hadad of Syria, so that he would withdraw support from Israel. Apparently, Baasha of Israel could not stand against Judah by himself – he needed the backing of Syria. And evidently Asa did not trust God enough to rely on the Lord’s protection for Judah.

20 Ben-Hadad agreed with King Asa and sent the commanders of his forces against the towns of Israel. He conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel Beth Maakah and all Kinnereth in addition to Naphtali. 21 When Baasha heard this, he stopped building Ramah and withdrew to Tirzah. 22 Then King Asa issued an order to all Judah—no one was exempt—and they carried away from Ramah the stones and timber Baasha had been using there. With them King Asa built up Geba in Benjamin, and also Mizpah.

1 Corinthians 9:24 (New Living Translation)

Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!

2 Chronicles 16 says that the Lord was not pleased with Asa for relying on the king of Syria for relief, rather than turning to God. So it seems that Asa started well, but did not finish well.

Eugene Peterson wrote a book on discipleship called,  “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.” The title is actually a quote from Friedrich Nietzsche who wrote, “The essential thing ‘in heaven and earth’ is . . . that there should be long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living.”

The Bible speaks of “a long obedience in the same direction,” calling it steadfastness, or faithfulness, or perseverance. It means to hang in there, through it all, to the end. As Asa, it seems, did not quite do. We understand, do we not?  God grant us all grace to render him a long obedience, and God give us mercy when we do not.

23 As for all the other events of Asa’s reign, all his achievements, all he did and the cities he built, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? In his old age, however, his feet became diseased. 24 Then Asa rested with his ancestors and was buried with them in the city of his father David. And Jehoshaphat his son succeeded him as king.

_________________________

Music:

“When It’s All Been Said and Done”  sung  HERE  by Don Moen.

_________________________

Nadab King of Israel

25 Nadab son of Jeroboam became king of Israel in the second year of Asa king of Judah, and he reigned over Israel two years. 26 He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, following the ways of his father and committing the same sin his father had caused Israel to commit.

27 Baasha son of Ahijah from the tribe of Issachar plotted against him, and he struck him down at Gibbethon, a Philistine town, while Nadab and all Israel were besieging it. 28 Baasha killed Nadab in the third year of Asa king of Judah and succeeded him as king.

29 As soon as he began to reign, he killed Jeroboam’s whole family. He did not leave Jeroboam anyone that breathed, but destroyed them all, according to the word of the LORD given through his servant Ahijah the Shilonite. 30 This happened because of the sins Jeroboam had committed and had caused Israel to commit, and because he aroused the anger of the LORD, the God of Israel.

1K15 Jeroboam__sin

This was the end of the dynasty of Jeroboam, the man who made Israel to sin by building idols for them to worship. Had Jeroboam remained obedient to the Lord, God promised him a lasting dynasty like the house of David (1 Kings 11:38). Because of Jeroboam’s sin, though he enjoyed a long reign, his son only reigned two years before assassination of Nadab and the murder of all Jeroboam’s descendants.

“Thus God made use of one wicked man to destroy another” (Clarke).

–David Guzik

31 As for the other events of Nadab’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? 32 There was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel throughout their reigns.

Baasha King of Israel

33 In the third year of Asa king of Judah, Baasha son of Ahijah became king of all Israel in Tirzah, and he reigned twenty-four years. 34 He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, following the ways of Jeroboam and committing the same sin Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit.

Who is surprised?  He assassinated his way to the throne.

_________________________

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
de Nome.    http://www.wga.hu/art/n/nome/king_asa.jpg
Nevertheless, for David’s sake.   https://freedailybiblestudy.com/october-12th-bible-meditation-for-1-kings-15/
My heart belongs to Jesus.   http://image.spreadshirtmedia.com/image-server/v1/designs/12274459,width=280,height=280?mediaType=png
Asa pulls down idols.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/584c4-12bkings2b152breformation_under_asa.jpg
finishing the race.    http://www.livingforimprovement.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/finish-strong.gif
Jeroboam-who-made-Israel-to-sin.   http://bibleencyclopedia.com/picturesjpeg/jeroboam_leads_israel_into_sin_2.jpg