Scripture reading – 1 Kings 15
A personal note: Though vitally important, do not be overwhelmed by the names of kings and queens in Judah and Israel. I would rather you be reminded that the same God who was sovereign in the lives of Israel’s kings and queens is also at work in our lives today.
Though the world around us may be in chaos, we can be confident our God is sovereign!
Why is that important? Because the will of God and His purpose will be accomplished. Understanding the providences of God in history emboldens us to trust Him, knowing He is ever at work in our lives. The LORD is not like man, who ever-changes with the times and seasons. God is immutable. He is Almighty, and unchangeable (Malachi 3:6a). He is perfect in all His ways, and what He says, He will do (Numbers 23:19). James wrote, there is “no variableness, neither shadow of turning” in the LORD (James 1:17). The author of Hebrews avowed, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8).
Look beyond the personalities in today’s Scripture reading (1 Kings 15), and see the hand of God.
1 Kings 15 records a succession of kings that reigned over Israel and Judah. Rehoboam, the king of Judah, died and his son Abijam was crowned king, though he reigned only three years (15:1-2). Abijam [his name is stated as “Abijah” in 2 Chronicles] continued in the sins of Solomon and Rehoboam (15:3-8). His life was cut short, and his son Asa ascended to the throne of Judah (15:8) and reigned forty-one years in Jerusalem (15:10).
The Reign of Asa (15:9-24)
The reign of Asa was a glorious time in Judah, and the young king began leading the nation back to the LORD (15:11). The sodomites (homosexual prostitutes) had found refuge in Judah during Rehoboam’s reign (15:12), however, Asa drove them out of Judah (15:12). Even Maachah, Asa’s grandmother and the widow of Rehoboam, who was the mother of Abijam, was not spared the reforms of Asa. Maachah “had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and deposed her as queen mother (15:13). While he was not a perfect man, he had a heart that “was perfect with the LORD all his days” (15:14).
Unholy Alliance (15:16-24)
A contemporary of king Asa was Baasha, who became the king of the northern ten Tribes known as Israel (15:16). Baasha was determined to make war against Judah, and he built the fortress of Ramah to trouble Jerusalem (located only some five miles north of Jerusalem, 15:17).
Regrettably, Asa addressed the troubles he had with Baasha, by seeking a treaty with Benhadad king of Syria. Asa emptied the treasuries of the Temple, and his own treasury to pay for a league with Syria (15:18-21). As we will learn in 2 Chronicles 16, Asa’s decision to align himself with the king of Syria was not the will of the LORD (2 Chronicles 16:7-10). Though his alliance with Benhadad and Syria worked in the immediate, God did not bless Judah’s union and dependence on the heathen. The consequences of that compromise will be observed in our next devotional.
Troubles in Israel: The northern ten Tribes (15:25-34)
A succession of kings followed Jeroboam’s death, who reigned over Israel. Nadab, the son of Jeroboam reigned only three years, and continued in the sins of his father (15:25-26). He was assassinated in the third year of his reign by a man named Baasha, who was of the tribe of Issachar (15:27-28). Fulfilling the prophecy that the lineage of Jeroboam would be cut off for his wickedness, Baasha “smote all the house of Jeroboam (15:29-30). A summary of the kings that ruled in Israel is given in the closing verses of 1 Kings 15, as well as the observation that the pattern of idolatry and wickedness established by Jeroboam, continued (15:34).
Closing thoughts – Asa’s reign had been a glorious one, but like too many older leaders, his compromise in the last years of his life had lasting consequences for Judah. In the 39th year of Asa’s reign, God allowed him to be afflicted with a disease in his feet (15:23; 2 Chronicles 16:12). While I cannot be certain, the affliction might have turned gangrenous, for “in his [Asa’s] disease he sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians” (2 Chronicles 16:12). King Asa failed to turn his heart to the LORD.
Where do you turn in times of trial, disappointment, and affliction?
Copyright © 2021 – Travis D. Smith