How was it that Asa led the nation of Judah in confronting the entrenched idolatry that had built up over the preceding generations? Asa heard the Word of the Lord from a true prophet and he followed the directives that the prophet spoke from God.
The prophet’s message was a call to Judah’s king and to all of Judah and the neighboring tribe of Benjamin to obey the Lord in order to experience His great blessings upon the nation. God invited Judah to seek Him and to stay with Him by hearing and obeying the voice of His prophet. This had always been the right way to go. How could anyone in Israel or Judah ever decide that it would be a good idea to test the Lord by deliberating violating His Word?
God promised both Asa and all the people that the Lord would reward their work. This good Word was a very strong encouragement to them in the direction of hearty covenant obedience.
The Lord’s message immediately inspired the king to righteous action. He put away all the idols in his territory and wherever God gave him the authority to rule. He led all the Israelites in worship, for many had turned to the king of Judah when they saw that the Lord was with him. He executed God’s judgment on all those in the Promised Land who would not submit to the Law of the Lord. Even the king’s mother was removed from her position of honor because she was an idolator.
Was Asa right in his aggressive campaign to enforce a rule of worship upon an entire nation? We need to remember that Judah was not like any other nation on the face of the earth. The Lord had set apart this small territory for His people. They would only prosper there if they were dedicated to the worship of God and to the whole Law of the Lord. This was the only way to maintain stability and peace in the land, and it was what God had specifically commanded.
The result of Asa’s faithful leadership was worth noting. There was a prolonged period of peace in Judah. Asa did what he was supposed to do and the Lord brought blessing upon the nation. The king was not able to rid the northern tribes of their idolatry, but then there was another king in the north who bore some responsibility for that portion of the Promised Land.
Judah could certainly give thanks to God for more than three decades of remarkable peace under Asa. Still, we must admit that we have our hearts set on something much more than that. We long to see the Lord reigning perfectly over the entire earth forever. We want that to take place not by the threat of force, but by the power of renewed hearts no longer under the sway of sin. Asa was one step toward the ultimate purpose of God. We thank the Lord for a king who was better than most, but we are looking for the best of all kings and for a new city whose Builder and Maker is God.