And he brought into the house of the LORD the silver and gold and other articles that he and his father had dedicated.
I. RELIGIOUS SINCERITY ASSERTS ITSELF IN REFORMING ZEAL (vers. 12, 13). It was only twenty years since the death of Solomon, yet irreligion and vice had corrupted the nation. Evil spreads more rapidly than good in a fallen world. The deadly fungus springs up in a night, the fruit tree grows slowly to perfection. A half-hearted or timid man would have been content to worship Jehovah himself, and thus silently rebuke the idolatry of his people; but Asa, being an earnest man, could not content himself with any laissez faire principle. With a strong hand he would put down evil wherever he could reach it. Often in God's sight to leave evil alone, unrebuked, and uncombated is to share the guilt of those who commit it. It is the spirit of Cain, and not of Christ, that asks, "Am I my brother's keeper?" Asa's reforming zeal contains lessons to rulers, to employers, to parents, indeed to all who can mould the circumstances of others. See, therefore, how it made itself felt.
1. Opportunities for sin were diminished. Ver. 12 implies that there were those in Judah who made a traffic of vice. Corrupt themselves, they corrupted others. There are places in Christian cities which should be swept away by the strong hand of law.
2. Incentives to sin were destroyed. The idol referred to (in ver. 15) is literally "the horror." The obscene rites connected with its cultus will not bear investigation. Suffice it to say that this so-called worship provoked to vice of the most hideous kinds. Against provocations and incentives to sin how earnestly should parents guard their children, and masters and mistresses their servants. Impure literature is in the forefront of these; not only that which offends by its grossness, but that which secretly stains by its suggestions.
3. Influences for sin were removed. Sometimes vice is made popular by leaders of fashion or of policy. The unrighteousness of a clever man, the impurity of a leader in society are woefully far-reaching in their effects. Maachah, the queen-mother, was one of the most potent in Asa's court, was his near relation, his early instructress; yet, with as much wisdom as courage, "he removed her from being queen," and destroyed her idol publicly and shamefully. It might be said that he was indebted to her, that she was aged and should be respected, or that she could not live long, and might therefore be tolerated. Such pleas would not avail with man whose "heart was perfect with the Lord." (Apply this.)
II. RELIGIOUS SINCERITY PROCLAIMS ITSELF BY CONFIDENCE IN GOD. This confidence was at tile heart of Asa's courage. Read our text in the light of the fuller history of the king (given in 2 Chronicles), and see how his confidence displayed itself.
1. He found rest in God in peril. Many adversaries would be raised by a reformation which was ruthless in its rigour. Idolatrous priests, the party led by Maachah, etc., would rebel; but Asa was not perturbed. God was his refuge and strength.
2. He offered prayer to God in his difficulty. As an example read 2 Chronicles 14. Describe the incursion of the Ethiopian host, and this prayer of the king, "Lord, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude." A victory followed which was unique in the history of God's people. Conquest waits on prayer in every struggle with evil
3. He consecrated himself and his people to God after their deliverance (see ver. 15, and compare with it 2 Chronicles 15.) He renewed the covenant, and afresh dedicated all he possessed to the Lord. So he deserved the high commendation, "Asa's heart was perfect with the Lord all his days." It remains yet to be observed that -
III. RELIGIOUS SINCERITY MAY BE ASSOCIATED WITH IMPERFECT SERVICE. He failed to remove the high places. This Hezekiah and Josiah did. To leave them was to provide a way of return to the idolatrous practices he had put down. Beware of leaving lesser sins unconquered, after victory has been attained over grosset crimes. - A.R.
Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord.
I. THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF MAN'S ARRIVING AT A SINLESS STATE OF PERFECTION SO LONG AS HE IS CLOTHED WITH THIS MORTALITY. In Asa we have a proof that a man may be perfect before God, and yet have sin. "In many things we offend all," and "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves" — if we were to infer that a state of faultless perfection were attainable in this world from the fact that there are many who, like Noah, Abraham, or Asa, are said to have walked perfectly with God, it would he difficult to reconcile such an inference with the sins they are known to have committed. When we find such injunctions as this — "Walk thou before Me, and be thou perfect." It is plain that the word "perfect" must be interpreted in that sense of general uprightness of character which it is only possible to apply to the best of men in this world. The main difference between the righteous and unrighteous — and this we ought chiefly to bear in mind — lies in habitual character. It is this which God principally regards, and not occasional sins, grievous though they be. The pith of all true religion, the grand substance of the doctrines of both Old and New Testaments, is summed up for us at the conclusion of both — the last words of the Old Testament being: "Then shall ye return and discern between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not"; while among the last utterances of the Holy Ghost speaking by St. John, are these: "His servants shall serve Him" — "He that loveth not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema maranatha." Thus the constant service of God is spoken of in both Testaments as the distinctive feature of the righteous.
II. THE MORE PRACTICAL LESSON OF CAUTION IN THE MANNER OF OUR DAILY WALK. If Satan be suffered to exercise so great power over the hearts of the faithful servants of God, how watchful over our own hearts should we be! How necessary to each one of us the godly admonition of the apostle: "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall"! And how are we to take heed lest we fall? By standing always in the grace of God — this is the secret of final perseverance; this is the secret of Asa's heart being perfect all his days. It is a mere matter of history that the saving mercy of God is more generally shown to those in whom we find habitual goodness of heart to have pre-existed, or, more strictly speaking, by whom grace given has been constantly used and persevered in, than to those whose habit of life has been careless and negligent of God's service. The case of a seemingly virtuous child being led astray might well presuppose a want of real hearty piety, or a degree of pride and self-confidence which has withdrawn the special care and love of God, and left that child a prey of his enemies. This is not, however, the case of a really righteous person fallen from his uprightness. In all this we have a strong caution. If habitual piety is never forgotten, and rarely goes unrewarded at last, how much ought we to be on our guard lest we lose aught of that piety, lest we slacken the fervour of our zeal, and suffer our love to grow cold, or even lukewarm; lest, in a word, we forfeit aught of that grace wherein alone we stand.
(J. B. Litler, M. A.)
PeopleAbel, Abijah, Abijam, Abishalom, Ahijah, Aram, Asa, Baasha, Ben, Benhadad, Ben-hadad, Benjamin, Dan, David, Hadad, Hezion, Issachar, Jehoshaphat, Jeroboam, Maacah, Maachah, Nadab, Naphtali, Nebat, Rehoboam, Rezon, Sodomites, Tabrimon, Tirzah, Uriah, Urijah
PlacesAbel-beth-maacah, Chinneroth, Damascus, Dan, Geba, Gibbethon, Ijon, Jerusalem, Kidron, Mizpah, Ramah, Syria, Tirzah
TopicsArticles, Bringeth, Dedicated, Gifts, Gold, Hallowed, Holy, Sanctified, Silver, Utensils, Vessels, Votive
Outline1. Abijam's wicked reign
7. Asa succeeds him
9. Asa's good reign
16. The war between Baasha and him causes him to make a league with Ben-Hadad
23. Jehoshaphat succeeds Asa
25. Nadab's wicked reign
27. Baasha conspiring against him, executes Ahijah's prophecy
31. Nadab's acts and death
33. Baasha's wicked reign
Dictionary of Bible Themes1 Kings 15:15
LibraryDavid's Sin in the Matter of Uriah.
"And David said unto Nathan, 'I have sinned against the Lord.' And Nathan said unto David, 'The lord also hath put away thy sin; then shalt not die.'" The sin here referred to is that of David in the matter of Uriah. A strange and sad event--taken in all its circumstances and connections, it is without a parallel. But the circumstance most to be lamented, is that mentioned by the prophet, in the close of his message--"By this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme." …
Andrew Lee et al—Sermons on Various Important Subjects
Whether Christ is the Head of the Church?
Whether it is Proper to Christ to be Head of the Church?
Whether Obedience is the Greatest of the virtues?
Whether Christ Died Out of Obedience?
Whether Disobedience is the Most Grievous of Sins?
Whether Predestination Can be Furthered by the Prayers of the Saints?
Whether it is Lawful for Clerics to Kill Evil-Doers?
Whether it is Becoming to Pray?
Asa's Reformation, and Consequent Peace and victory
Whether Vengeance Should be Taken on those who have Sinned Involuntarily?
Redemption for Man Lost to be Sought in Christ.
Question Lxxxiii of Prayer
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