2 Chronicles 14 (New Living Translation)
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Early Years of Asa’s Reign
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.
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?
Like Paul says, I want to do that! But I find myself not doing that! Or like Casting Crowns says, “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.
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.