15/5/2016 LESSON 11
ASA: A FOOLISH KING
Quarter’s Theme: PORTRAITS OF JEWISH KINGS
Unit 3 – Portraits Of The Kings Of Divided Kingdom (Lessons 5-12)
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 16, 226
Devotional Reading: HEB. 6:4-8
Topic For Adults
THE FAILURE OF A COMPROMISER
Topic For Youths
MAINTAIN GOD’S STANDARD, DON’T COMPROMISE
Topic For Intermediates
COMPROMISING IS SIN
2 KGS. 15:8-20
(SOUL WINNERS CROWN COMPETITION MONTHS)
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars (2 Chro. 16:9) NKJV
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
Compromise Is a Great Deceiver, It Has A Sorrowful End
Compromising God’s commands always appears to work. Asa received what he wanted and everything seemed fine. However God’s will cannot be ignored without troubling consequences. This is the great irony of compromise – it is profitable in the short-run but over the long-haul it only strengthens Satan. Those who compromise God’s Truth in order to gain immediate benefits will sadly learn that God always has the final judgment – “You have acted foolishly!” Even when rebuked by God, Asa refused to admit wrong. He was too proud. He became angry and stubborn. Asa had practised the right way for years, but when he compromised God’s will he refused to go back to the right track. Here is a situation worse than committing the initial sin. Refusing to admit one’s wrong, and failure, allowing pride or selfishness to control our choices always lead to a sorrowful end. Look into your life and see where you have been disobedient to the heavenly warnings and tell God to help you make the right decisions to heed His warnings.
Point of Emphasis: Don’t crucify Jesus Christ again, stop compromising your faith.
Prayer Point: I will not fall into the snare of compromise in Jesus’ name.
The word “Compromise” has been viewed by some as an admirable quality. This
is defined as “the settlement of differences by parties agreeing to mutual
concessions so that agreement is reached by blending qualities of both sides.” It seeks a middle ground upon which all sides can find harmony. However, the Devil has taken this peace-making process and distorted it so that it becomes evil.
A difficult situation that we face requires unpleasant confrontation. If we want to avoid confrontation we will find a way to either concede or keep silent. Personal benefits are promised. We may be told subtly or directly that unless we “soften up” we will lose benefits and profits will diminish or general acceptance from others will reduce. We also believe that if we continue to maintain an uncompromised position we will lose popularity and face persecution of some sort. This puts pressure upon us because we do not like these adverse consequences. A study of King Asa who started well and ended being a foolish King will in no wise convince you that comprising God’s standard will make one a foolish vessel. A study of his life will urge all of us to resist evil compromise.
NOTE ON THE TEXTS
PART 1: THE REFORM OF KING ASA (1 KGS. 15:8-13, 15)
King Asa banished the perverted persons from the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. Also he removed Maachah his grandmother from being queen mother, because she had made an obscene image of Asherah. King Asa also cut down her obscene image and burned it by the Brook Kidron. Asa’s heart was loyal to the Lord all his days. He also brought into the house of the Lord the things which his father had dedicated, and the things which he himself had dedicated: silver and gold and utensils. Let us review some of his great achievements as a tool in the hand of God.
- He banished the perverted persons from the land. These state-sanctioned homosexual idol-temple prostitutes were introduced into Judah during the reign of Rehoboam (1 Kings 14:24). Asa’s father Abijam didn’t remove these perversions and idols, but King Asa did.
- Also, he removed Maachah his grandmother from being queen mother, because she had made an obscene image of Asherah. This demonstrated the thoroughness of Asa’s reforms. He was able to act righteously ‘even when his family was wrong’, in particular his own grand-mother. You also need to know that “It is in a man’s own family circle that his faithfulness is put fairly to the test. Michaiah was apparently the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah (2 Chro. 13:2) and Tamar (2 Sam. 14:27), hence the granddaughter of Absalom, David’s rebellious son.
- He removed the obscene image. This image described as ‘obscene’ in Hebrew word is closer in meaning to ‘frightening,’ ‘horrible,’ or ‘abomi-nable’, has connection with the god of fertility and belong to the fertility cult of Asherah.
Furthermore, 2 Chronicles 14-16 provides many more details regarding the reign of Asa.
- He encouraged national piety. He commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers, and to observe the law and the commandment. (2 Chronicles 14:4).
- He built fortified cities and presided over a long period of peace (2 Chronicles 14:6).
- In response to Asa’s prayer, God defeated a huge Ethiopian army that came against Judah (2 Chro. 14:9-13).
- He had an encouraging word from the prophet Azariah that encouraged him to continue his reforms (2 Chro. 15:1-9).
- Asa led a national re-commitment to the covenant (2 Chro. 15:10-15).
From all these actions, it is no doubt that King Asa started well with God on his side when he began to reign and he brought great reforms into the land.
PART 2: KING ASA BUYS THE FAVOUR OF BEN-HADAD (1 KGS. 15:16-20)
When Asa’s territory was besieged by Baasha, king of Judah, he sought the favour of Ben-hadad, the king of Syria, instead of seeking the Lord. This is where King Asa missed all. Looking for a favour will cost you something. It’s only the favour received from God that has no strings attached. Let us itemise his mistakes and actions which were embroidered in compromise.
- Baasha king of Israel came up against Judah, and built Ramah, that he might let none go out or come in to Asa king of Judah: This continued the struggle for dominance between the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. Baasha gained the upper hand in the days of Asa because he effectively blocked a main route into Judah at the city of Ramah. He hoped this military and economic pressure on Judah would force Asa into significant concessions.
- Asa took all the silver and gold that was left in the treasuries of the house of the Lord and those in the king’s house. Asa used this treasure to buy the favour of Ben-Hadad king of Syria, so that he would withdraw support from Israel. Apparently, Baasha of Israel could not stand against Judah by himself – he needed the backing of Syria.
Asa’s mistakes – he committed three great faults, amongst many others. First, he alienated things consecrated to God as gift to receive favour for his personal reasons without necessity. Second, he did this out of carnal fear and distrust for God whose power and goodness he had lately experienced. Third, he did this for an ill-intent, to hire him to the breach of his league and covenant with Baasha and, to take away part of that land which by right, and the special gift of God, belonged to the Israelites
PART 3: KING ASA’S FAITHFULNESS WAS CORRUPTED (1 KGS. 15:14)
It seems that prosperity and peace softened Asa’s will to serve God as expected. Even though he called for a complete restoration to God, there is the troubling phrase “but the high places were not removed” (2 Chro. 15:17a). The Northern Kingdom (Israel) became the means by which King Asa would compromise his loyalty and betray God. Israel strengthened her borders. Danger threatened. Invasion seemed probable. Asa panicked. He forgot his faith in God and sought relief from Ben-Hadad, King of Syria.
Asa had made a shrewd political move. He had gained peace, avoided war, made strategic allies, and established himself as a great leader. Today’s journalists would crown him as a “smart and brilliant politi-cian”. It appeared that Asa had made everyone happy with this manoeuvre. But the King had forgotten God. Jehovah God had been robbed so that “middle ground” could be formed. The satisfaction of God had been sacrificed for the satisfaction of man. For 36 years Asa had moved only as God directed (2 Chro. 14:11b). But now he was moving away from God because he sought “common ground” with those opposed to God.
Asa’s compromise brought condem-nation from God’s spokesman, Hanani the prophet (2 Chro. 16:7-9). The former “blameless” life of Asa was now polluted and corrupted – “You have acted foolishly” (v. 9). Even though the prophet had spoken from God, Asa punished the messenger instead of receiving the message (v. 10). God still loved Asa. God sought to encou-rage Asa to return to Him. God sent a prophet with a clear message but stubbo-rnness controlled the King’s heart. Asa’s pride prevented his repentance. The King had invested heavily in the compromise – money, reputation and position. This stubbornness led Asa to react harshly to others who would try to bring him back to God.
God tried one final manoeuvre to bring the compromising King back to faithfulness – physical distress (2 Chro. 16:12). The King’s stubbornness resisted God’s help and trusted upon self help. Once again, as it is evidenced throughout Scripture, the effect of selfishness ruins a soul. But in the time of his old age he was diseased in his feet: (2 Chro. 16:12) gives us the more complete analysis: his malady was severe; yet in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but the physicians. This happened after he refused to hear God’s word of correction through Hanani the seer.
We gain insight into Satan’s strategy of warfare – He seeks to get us to make a heavy investment in our decision to compromise and then pumps us full of pride so we do not repent. However, God tells us there is always time to back out of a wrong choice (Rev. 18:4; 2 Cor. 6:17, 18). It may not be easy. It may not be comfortable; it may not be what we want to do.
King Asa died bound to his compromise. Every day that he postponed compromise it was harder for him to admit his wrongs. Every day he allowed selfish-ness to control him; he became more bitter and bitter. Eventually he was so embi-ttered and so proud that he would not return to God and he died a foolish King even when he knew what to do – just to repent and come back home! The life of King Asa tells us that the true test of Christians’ devotion is commitment to God when situations arise that tempt us to compromise. When you are faced with uncomfortable choices in religious, social, career or family issues, do you seek the Lord’s way or do you seek “common ground”? This study also tells us that those who choose the temptation of compromise are acting “foolishly” and will not receive God’s support (2 Chro. 16:9). If those who compromise do not receive God’s support, whose support do they receive? (2 Thess. 2:9-11).
- Considering Asa’s background, is it always true that an evil parent will give birth to an evil child?
- What were the exploits of Asa during his reign?
- What compromise did Asa make?
- How will you describe Asa’s character in terms of his consistency in following the Lord?
- Are there any high places we have to remove in our lives today?