2 Chronicles 14

2 Chronicles 14
by Pastor Mark Hudson

Asa, son of Abijah, follows in the footsteps of his father.  Asa “did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God” in v. 2.  Asa, unlike his father, enjoyed peace following his father’s rout of the northern tribe called Israel.  His 10 years of peace allowed Asa to busy himself with other projects.  He took away the foreign altars and the high places and broke down the pillars . . . and commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, and to keep the law and the commandments as we read in vs. 3-4.  This religious focus and cleaning bodes well for Asa and Judah.

Even as we follow Judah’s history, we keep running into places and objects of worship that are not allowed.  Kings either add to these heterodox places and objects or the remove them.  Both the nations of Israel and Judah are enticed by these “other” gods that are manifestly not God.  The leaders and people of both tribes (Israel is worse than Judah) hedge their bets by combining the worship of Yahweh with the worship of whatever pagan gods promise crops or peace or fertility.

But the true God is never willing to share His glory.  God knows that He alone is the Giver of life, the reason crops grow, and He alone gives peace.  No one can compare with God who made heaven and earth.

So, this is a mini revival.  This is a spiritual renewal  for the nation of Judah.  While Asa brings back a Biblical spiritual focus, he then turns his attention to defense.  In verse 5, after the author completes his summary of Asa’s spiritual renewal, he writes, “And the kingdom had rest under him.”  So, he “built fortified cities in Judah”  the repetition of rest twice and no war and peace is a blessing from God.  In verse 7, he motivates the people and reminds them that God “has given us peace on every side.”  But Asa also reminds them that “the land is still ours, because we have sought him.”

The narrative is interrupted by the insertion of the number of his army “300,000 from Judah” and “280,000 men from Benjamin” and “all these were mighty men of valor.”  And no sooner has the author relayed the summary of renewal and military preparedness, then Zerah comes along.  Zerah, the Ethiopian, attacks Asa with double the manpower.  Now, Asa had prepared, but when he sees the overwhelming odds, what does Asa do?  Asa prays first.  And his prayer is outstanding.

“O Lord, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak.  Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on You, and in Your name, we have come against this multitude.  O Lord, You are our God; let not man prevail against You.” With such humble,  God-honoring and Biblically correct prayers, we might anticipate God to respond positively.

Sure enough.  Judah routs the numerically superior forces from Zerah “for they were broken before the Lord and His army” in v. 13.  God showed up and Zerah fled.  The army of Asa also plunders a border city, Gerar, “that served as an Egyptian outpost at the time” (Richard L. Pratt – 1 and 2 Chronicles – A mentor Commentary).

The Chronicler wants us to understand who is responsible for this victory.  Look at verses 12-14.  In v. 12, “So the Lord defeated the Ethiopians” and v. 13, “for they were broken before the Lord and His army” and v. 14, “for the fear of the Lord was upon them.”   So, it was not Asa who gained the victory but God.

Is this plundering another indication that the wealth of the nations would come to Israel or that God, when called upon, can do miraculous things for His people, or that their lives are always in God’s hand?  Or all these and hundreds of reasons more?  God is getting the glory, His people are blessed, the nations subdued, and believers all over the world have been encouraged by this chapter in the Bible.

Dear Lord, You know how little we understand of your ways, but we know that if we seek You, You love to respond and rescue Your people.  You are a Giver and Lover of Your own.  Forgive us for how little we ask for Your help deciding we should do it on our own. But You are all we need and all we could ever hope to know.  We pray what Asa prayed, “Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on You.”  We pray this for the sake of the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.