1 Kings 15:9-24
And in the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel reigned Asa over Judah.…
AN OPPORTUNITY RECOGNIZED AND USED. The need of the time was manfully met. Brought up in an idolatrous home, he nevertheless saw that this sin was sapping the foundation of the nation's stability and strength, and he set himself to root it out.
1. The land was cleansed from .filthy abomination, from legalized, and even sanctified, sin ("And he took away the Sodomites," etc.) The nation that legalizes sin will reap corruption and shame: that which suppresses it by righteous enactment will pass up into purity and strength and truest glory.
2. He put down idolatry with unflinching faithfulness. He "removed ALL the idols which his father had made.', "And also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen," etc. Neither reverence for the dead not tear of the living was suffered to stand in the way of his obedience to God. It is easy to condemn sin in the abstract. It is hard to stand face to fete with him who is its servant and say, "Thou art the man." Is our faithfulness afar the pattern of Asa's?
3. His failure was one of ability, not of will (ver. 14). We may not be able to accomplish all we desire, or that is needful, but if our heart be "perfect with the Lord" all is well.
4. He did not keep back the Lord's portion. The "silver and gold and vessels," which his father and he himself had vowed, were brought into the Lord's house. His faithfulness was shown in what he gave as well as in what he condemned.
II. THERE MAY BE ZEAL FOR GOD WITHOUT PERFECT TRUST IN GOD. The man of action is not always a man of prayer.
1. Baasha's attempt (see 2 Chronicles 16:7, etc.) The danger was great, but to the politician there seemed a way out of it. He was not shut up to God's help, as in the invasion by the Ethiopian king, and therefore God was not sought.
(1) Forsaking the path of trust, he entered the crooked ways of worldly policy. He bribed Ben-hadad to break faith with Baasha. How often is self help stained with meanness and unrighteousness!
(2) God does not always forsake His people when they forsake Him. Asa's plan succeeded. The fortress that was being built against him became two for him. If unbelief was so blessed, what mercies might have crowned faith!
2. The disease which embittered his latter days. "Nevertheless in the time of his old age he was diseased in his feet." Here, again, his faith was tried and found wanting. "In his disease he sought not to the Lord but to the physicians" (2 Chronicles 16:12); and he found no relief. There is a limit to God's forbearance even with His people. How much is there of our weakness and trouble and distress over which the words are written, "Ye have not, because ye ask not"! - J.U.
Parallel VersesKJV: And in the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel reigned Asa over Judah.