Reflections on Old Testament...reform and revivals

by Diane Eaton (WordAlone board member)

January 2, 2004

Dear Friends,

I have been studying Asa’s reform of Judah in 2 Chronicles 14-16. The Old Testament’s multi-layered plots of Samuel, David, Solomon, Rehoboam, Abijah and Asa are truly the best historical biography available on any bookshelf! God’s truth shines through and my faith has been deepened by many personal applications from the lives of these ancient people. One is the revival of faith in God’s people in Asa’s time. We can learn about the aspects of revival from this text.

For those of you that haven’t read Chronicles and Kings since you took the Bethel Bible series (or for those of you like me that have never studied this scripture), Asa was the grandson of Solomon and great-grandson of King David. When King Asa came to power the kingdom had been split between Israel to the north and Judah in the south because the king’s father and grandfather had not obeyed God’s commands. The kingdoms of Israel and Judah were at war (500,000 men slain in Israel in 2 Chronicles 13:17) and suffered from political intrigue and immoral practices. The people were compromised because they had mixed the worship of God with worship practices in the religions of the surrounding people.

Life was tough and even though they seemed doomed, God brought revival to Judah. Judah had a remnant of faithful followers and received blessings because of God’s mercy. Here’s what happened.

First, Asa relied on the Lord. His prayer is a prayer that all of us can use in our everyday life. From 2 Chronicles 14:11, “Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, ‘Lord there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. O Lord, you are our God; do not let man prevail against you.’”

Next, The Spirit of God came upon Azariah. 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.”

Then, there was true repentance. King Asa became courageous and removed idols everywhere in his land. He brought together all of the people to repent. Even faithful Israelites joined when they saw that the Lord was with Asa and Judah. The people then sacrificed and gave back to God what was His. They “entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul.” If you are so inclined you may at this point go to the text to see what else they did (some pretty rough stuff). But the result was, “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. (2 Chronicles 15:15)

I hope you are encouraged by this text as I have been. God brings revival where He chooses. Asa’s prayer can be prayed for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and for our personal struggles. If we earnestly are seeking God we will find Him and His direction for our work. If we have the opportunity for leadership in the church we can ask for courage to lead as Asa did. God bless you all!