Saturday, June 1, 2013

Asa- A Good King Who Made a Bad Choice

By Mary Vee
I Kings 15, II Chronicles 15

From Asa's Scrolls

I had reigned over the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and those from the tribes of Simeon, Manasseh, and Ephraim who joined with us for fifteen years. 

During this time my grandmother, Maacah, served as queen mother. She made a repulsive Asherah pole. Why she went against my wishes I don't understand. She knew my feelings on the subject. To prevent her from leading others astray I took away her title and cut the pole down, broke it up and burned it in the Kidron Valley.

The people living in Judah needed to know my serious commitment to God and his commandments.

I had reigned for thirty-five years before war came.

Baasha, king of the other tribes in Israel, continually stirred up battles between us. He became quite angry when men from the tribes he ruled left and came to live in Judah under my rule. Baasha sent an army to fortify Ramah to prevent anyone else from coming or going to Judah.

I knew we could not defeat him by ourselves. His army was so big.. 

I took all the silver and gold from the treasuries of the Lord's temple and from my own palace treasuries and sent it all with a few of my officials to Ben-Hadad who was ruling in Damascus.  I sent this message with my gift: "I have sent this great gift of silver and gold for you. Let's make a treaty between us. Break off your treaty with Baasha, king of Israel and join with Judah."

Ben-Hadad agreed and sent his armies to fight against the towns of Israel. He conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel Beth Maacah and all Kinnereth, in addition to Naphtali.

When Baasha heard the news, he stopped building his forces against Judah and retreated.

Once a messenger reported to me that Baasha had fled, I commanded everyone from Judah, no one would be exempt, to go the the site where Baasha set up a fortress and to knock down the structure. I ordered all the building supplies taken from the fortress to be used to build up the cities of Geba and Mizpah.

Everything seemed to go well. I thought I had done a good job as king of Judah. My plan stopped Baasha.

But....a visitor came to see me after the work had finished. Hanani the prophet asked to speak with me. I of course allowed him in to my court. Surely he came to congratulate me.

He said, "Because you relied on help from Ben-Hadad, king of Aram and not on the Lord your God, the army of Aram has escaped from your hands. Didn't you fight the mighty armies of Cushites and Libyans with the help of the Lord and win? The eyes of the Lord go throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war."

His message angered me. How dare he say I did wrong? How dare he blame me for future wars. I ordered my guards to throw him in prison. And I must admit, my anger continued to rage so that I put citizens in prison too. 

I had to, didn't I? If I didn't punish the people severely they would think the prophet was right.

author's note....no...he should not have punished the people for his wrong choice.

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1. All seemed to go well for Asa. He first took away the title of queen mother from __________ because she _________.
2. He welcomed men from these tribes who wanted to leave the rule of Israel: ______________, ________________, and ______________.
3. Baasha, king of Israel became angry and decided to __________.
4. Asa, king of Judah made a quick decision. He gathered all the ________ and ________ from the temple and his palace and sent it to _________.
5. King Asa wanted Hadad to help him _______________
6. Did Hadad agree? If so what did he do?
7. Who visited Asa after the battle? What message did he bring?

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