Lesson 5

The Rise of the House of Asa

(1 Kings 15, 2 Chronicles 14, 15 & 16)
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Introduction: We are moving right along in the history of the Kings. Kings David and Solomon are dead. King Jeroboam rules the ten tribes in the North (Israel). King Rehoboam rules the one tribe in the South (Judah). Neither of them obey God and they have their problems, not the least of which is each other. Ultimately, Rehoboam dies. Then his son dies. Then Rehoboam's grandson, Asa, takes over as King of Judah. Let's find out about this new king!

  1. Asa at Peace

    1. Read 2 Chronicles 14:1,6. Is your life a struggle? Would you like more peace in your life?

      1. How did Asa have ten years of peace? (God gave it to him.)

    2. Read 1 Chronicles 14:7. During this ten years of peace, what did Asa do? (He prepared for war.)

      1. Is there a spiritual parallel here?

      2. How about you? When do you turn to God? When things are going well? Or, when they are going badly?

    3. Read 2 Chronicles 14:2-5. Why did God bless Asa with peace?

    4. Let's go back and see how this came to be. Read 2 Chronicles 15:1-2. Have you heard this offer before?

      1. Does God make this offer to you?

    5. Read 2 Chronicles 15:7-8. What gave Asa the courage to do the right thing? (The prophet not only laid out the two options Asa had in life, he encouraged Asa with God's words. That caused Asa to do the right thing.)

      1. Will this approach work with our children? Did it work with you?

    6. Read 1 Kings 15:9-10. Asa reigned a long time, longer than either David or Solomon. Why? (He reigned so long because God blessed him.)

      1. Would you like a long life and peace?

      2. Asa's grandmother was the daughter of Absalom, the son of David who rebelled. Why does the Bible mention this fact? (It shows that the House of David continues.)

    7. Read 1 Kings 15:12. Is homosexuality a new or old practice?

    8. Read 1 Kings 15:13. Is Asa some sort of extremist? What if this were your grandmother? (This shows that his allegiance to God was of more importance to him than his family relationships.)

    9. Read 1 Kings 15:14. How can Asa be fully committed to the Lord and yet fail to remove the "high places?"

      1. Does this mean we can be fully committed to God and be a compromiser at the same time?

        1. Let's go back to a text we looked at before. Read 1 Kings 3:2-4. Are Asa and Solomon involved in the same problem? (It seems that the problem is worshiping God in the same place as the pagan gods are worshiped. Asa got rid of the pagan gods, but he did not stop the practice of worshiping God at the "high places.")

        2. How would you characterize Asa's failure to remove these high places? (Look at 1 Kings 15:14 again - Asa's HEART is fully committed to God. This is what was said of King David in 1 Kings 11:4. God is looking for us to have the right attitude towards Him.)

  2. Asa at War

    1. Read 2 Chronicles 14:8. Which combination would you want? Big shields and spears? Or, small shields and bows? (Bows were an innovation. The "small shields and bows" fellows were probably like the cavalry - light and fast.)

    2. Read 2 Chronicles 14:9. The NIV does not reveal that the Hebrew text says that Zerah had "a thousand thousand" men. Zerah is likely representing Egypt in his attack on Judah. Most translations just say Zerah had a "million men." Asa and his men may not have been counting exactly, but it looked like a thousand times a thousand guys coming their way.

      1. What would worry you the most if you were King Asa? The fact that you are outnumbered almost 2 to 1 or something else about the enemy? (The chariots! This was a great step forward in technology. Imagine you are a foot soldier and coming at you is this big animal with big teeth pulling a chariot. In the chariot is a warrior that is faster and higher than you. That would be scary.)

      2. Where chariots unknown to the men of Judah? (No! 1 Kings 10:26 tells us that King Solomon had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horses. Wonder what happened to all of them?)

    3. Read 2 Chronicles 14:10-11. Asa gets his troops into position, and then he does what? (He prays.)

      1. Asa tells God that God helps the powerless. Is Asa powerless? Why did he create, arm and then deploy his vast army of almost 600,000? Why did he fortify his cities?

        1. Is it OK to work and pray? Or, does that show a lack of trust in God? (God does not tell us to go to sleep, He tells us to obey. We are co-laborers with God. Unless He tells us not to do something, it seems we should take the reasonable steps to accomplish the task. The "bottom line" for our attitude, however, is that the outcome is entirely in God's hands.)

    1. Read 2 Chronicles 14:12-13. Where does trust in God get Asa? (The victory.)

      1. Notice how the victors are described in v.13 - "the Lord and His forces." Would you like to be a part of the "Lord's forces?" How do you join?

    2. Read 2 Chronicles 16:1. Is Asa beginning to become an old man? (Yes.)

      1. Where is Jeroboam? Who is this Baasha fellow who is now the King of Israel? ( 2 Chronicles 13:20 tells us that God struck down Jeroboam. 1 Kings 15:25-30 tells us Jeroboam's son, Nadab, was his successor to the throne. Shortly thereafter, Baasha leads a revolt, kills Nadab, and then destroys all of Jeroboam's family. Baasha becomes king.)

    3. Read 2 Chronicles 16:2-3. What is the strategy of old, wise Asa to meet this new threat? (He makes a treaty with the King of Aram.)

      1. Whose stuff does Asa give the King of Aram to "seal the deal?" (God's!)

      2. What do you think about Asa's strategy? How does it compare with his strategy against the million man army of Zerah the Cushite? (Asa in his old age is trusting himself, and not God. He is showing disrespect for God by giving to this Syrian king the treasure of God's temple.)

      3. Have you ever had a financial problem and decided that you would take the tithe (God's treasure) and use it to pay your bills? Is that the same strategy Asa used here?

    4. Read 2 Chronicles 16:4-6. Did Asa's plan work? (Yes! He even got to fortify his own cities with what Baasha left behind.)

      1. What lesson does this teach us?

  1. Asa's Drift

    1. Read 2 Chronicles 16:7-8. Now what lesson do we learn?

      1. Why is it that the good kings turn from God in their old age?

        1. What is the lesson for us?

    2. Read 2 Chronicles 16:10. How does Asa take rebuke from the Lord? (Wycliffe says this is the first recorded persecution of a prophet. The Hebrew seems to indicate the prophet was put in stocks.)

      1. Who do you think was "brutally oppressed" by Asa? (Those who were faithful to God and objected to the treatment of the prophet.)

    3. Read 2 Chronicles 16:12. Why did Asa not seek help from God?

      1. Was it because he was offended by God's rebuke?

        1. His pride was injured? (The text confirms that normally when someone is in distress they are more likely to turn to God. Asa was apparently so upset with God that he stubbornly refused to seek God's help.)

        2. What would your judgment be on Asa's situation if you were God?

      2. Is it sin to go to a doctor when we get sick? (The NIV inserts the word "only" to suggest the problem is trusting only in doctors. It is not obvious to me that the Hebrew contains an "only," here, but the Keil and Delitzsch Commentary backs up the NIV by saying it was not visiting doctors that was the problem, but rather the "godless manner in which Asa trusted in the physicians.")

    4. Read 2 Chronicles 16:13-14. Two years later Asa is dead. Are you surprised? (No. It seems to be that Asa is getting further away from God.)

    5. Was Asa cremated? (The commentaries are mixed on this. Notice that verse 14 says he was "buried." However, a person can be both cremated and buried.)

    6. How can it be true that King Asa ( 2 Chronicles 15:17) had a heart "fully committed" to God "all of his life" when he ended on this note? (I only know that we serve a great God and a just God. This shows that deviations from the proper course, the failure to rely solely on God, are matters that He is willing in His mercy to overlook.)

    7. Friend, what is the direction of your life? Are you headed towards or away from God? Why not be sure the course of your life is right?

  2. Next Week: Apostasy in the North

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Lessons on Rebellion and Reformation: A History of the Divided Monarchy

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