Day 38: 2 Chronicles 15:1-15
The Spirit of God came on Azariah son of Oded. He went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teachand without the law. But in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them. In those days it was not safe to travel about, for all the inhabitants of the lands were in great turmoil. One nation was being crushed by another and one city by another, because God was troubling them with every kind of distress. But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”
When Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Azariah son of Oded the prophet, he took courage. He removed the detestable idolsfrom 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.
Then he assembled all Judah and Benjamin and the people from Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon who had settled among them, for large numbers had come over to him from Israel when they saw that the Lordhis God was with him.
They assembled at Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of Asa’s reign. At that time they sacrificed to the Lord seven hundred head of cattle and seven thousand sheep and goats from the plunder they had brought back. They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and soul. All who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, were to be put to death,whether small or great, man or woman. They took an oath to the Lord with loud acclamation, with shouting and with trumpets and horns. All Judah rejoiced about the oath because they had sworn it wholeheartedly. They sought God eagerly, and he was found by them. So the Lord gave them rest on every side.
God’s presence with the Israelite people during the various battles throughout their history is interesting to study. Here we learn a little about Asa, the King of Judah who was both an important religious reformer and a gifted military leader. During the first part of Asa’s reign, the nation was at peace (see 2 Chronicles 14:1), but eventually an attack came. And when the attack came, Asa wisely sought God for wisdom and leadership.
This had not always been the case among the kings. Verse 3 of this passage tells of a time when Israel was without God's presence, and verse 5 literally says there was no shalom (peace) in those days.
1 Samuel 4 tells the story of another battle in Israelite history. In this battle, instead of seeking the one true God, the Israelites thought if they simply carried the Ark of the Covenant with them into battle, God would surely lead them to victory. They didn't bother actually seeking God. As you might imagine, this didn't end very well for the Israelites.
The word of prophecy that comes to Asa through Azariah is clear: If you seek God, you will find him (v. 2). This is consistent with other language we see frequently in the Old Testament. Jeremiah 29:13 says, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Deuteronomy 4:29 says, "But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart."
God is not hiding from us, engaged in some cosmic game of hide-and-seek. If we sincerely seek God, we will find him.
Brad Taylor | Executive Pastor