A Heart Like Asa
When King Asa took the reins, the Kingdom of Judah was knee-deep in wars and civil strife. Asa, a rookie king and one of 38 kids went all in, despite not being a spring chicken, Asa brought qualities to the throne that his father and grandfather lacked — a deep love for God. Let’s explore Asa’s godly characteristics from 2 Chronicles 15.
A Unique King
“When Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Azariah son of Oded the prophet, he took courage.” 2 Chronicles 15:8a (NIV)
God sent a prophet to Asa to let him know that it was time to clean up his act. Asa wasn’t just paying lip service to his love for the divine. As soon as he was warned he not only heard God’s voice but also acted on that knowledge, orchestrating major changes in the newfound kingdom of Judah. Picture this: Israel was divided into two unequal parts — the northern Kingdom of Israel with 10 tribes and the Southern Kingdom of Judah with a humble 2 tribes. Asa, now the king of the south, was ready to shake things up.
God’s Word Transforms
“He removed the detestable idols from the whole land of Judah and Benjamin and from the towns he had captured in the hills of Ephraim. He repaired the altar of the Lord that was in front of the portico of the Lord’s temple.” 2 Chronicles 15:8b (NIV)
In the typical fashion of a new administration, Asa didn’t shy away from making sweeping changes. The difference? His administration had the Lord God of Israel at its core. Asa was only the sixth king to grace the throne of Israel, yet his heart mirrored that of the second king, David.
Here’s a rundown of the changes Asa implemented:
- Defying public opinion, he rid the land of Judah of false idols. (v. 8)
- He got his hands dirty with physical repairs to God’s house, especially the Lord’s altar. (v. 8)
- Sacrifices that had been gathering dust for years were reinstated. (v. 11)
- Asa rallied the population to verbally dedicate their lives to serving God. (v. 12)
- In a bold move, he ousted his mother, Maacah, from her role as Queen Mother. Why? Because she erected a statue to a god promoting sexual perversion. Asa, moved by God, not only obliterated the statue but also banished Maacah from his throne room. (v. 16)
This narrative speaks volumes about the potential for our hearts and attitudes to be transformed by God’s Word. Despite Asa’s upbringing in a dysfunctional family, his heart underwent a metamorphosis, leading him to do what was right in God’s eyes.
The Jesus Connection
Jesus came to empower and instill in us the desire to change. He beckoned the people of God into a fresh relationship, one that transcends rules and centers on intimacy. While Asa did right by God, he didn’t experience the kind of relationship that Jesus ushered in.
Thanks to Jesus, those who believe can embrace a new life — less about rules, more about relationship. It’s an intimate understanding of God and ourselves, the abundant life promised by Jesus for those who believe in Him.
Here are 5 things you can do to live for Jesus:
- Embrace Change, Even Against the Tide: Asa’s bold move against public opinion teaches us to stand firm in our beliefs, even when it means going against the crowd.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (NASB1885)
- Invest in Spiritual Repairs: Just like Asa physically repaired God’s house, we should invest in the well-being of our spiritual lives.
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
- Revive Neglected Spiritual Practices: Asa reinstated long-forgotten sacrifices, reminding us to revive neglected spiritual practices.
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. Hebrews 13:15 (NIV)
- Unity in Verbal Dedication: Asa united the population in verbally dedicating their lives to God.
How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along! Psalm 133:1 (MSG)
- Remove Hindrances to Intimacy with God: Asa’s drastic step in removing his mother, Maacah, teaches us to remove hindrances to intimacy with God.
If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. Matthew 5:29 (NASB1995)
A Heart Changed
As we navigate the currents of life, let Asa’s story inspire us to stand firm in our convictions, invest in the well-being of our spiritual lives, revive forgotten spiritual practices, foster unity, and boldly remove anything hindering our intimacy with the divine. Just as Asa’s heart underwent transformation, may our hearts be open to the power and desire for change that Jesus brings, ushering us into a new life marked by an intimate relationship with God.