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  The Great Bible Story #65
Asa rules in Judah

Jacob Ninan
Asa was one of the good kings in Judah. When he became king, he removed all the foreign high places from the kingdom and encouraged the people to follow the Lord God. He even removed his mother from being queen because she had made a heathen image of worship.

One day Zerah the Cushite came to attack Judah with an innumerably huge army. Asa cried out to God for help, declaring his faith in God being able to deliver them. Then God defeated the Cushites till they fled. God sent Azariah to prophesy to Asa and tell him that as long as Judah stayed with Him and sought for Him He would be with them, but if they forsook Him He would also forsake them. Asa was very much encouraged when he heard this, and he went on to remove all the idols from the land of Judah and Benjamin. When the people from the other tribes in Israel saw that God was with Asa many of them came over to his side. Asa gathered all of them together at Jerusalem, made sacrifices to God and made a covenant with Him to follow Him.

In the thirty sixth year of the reign of Asa, Basha the king of Israel came up against him. Instead of seeking God as he had done earlier, he resorted to taking out gold and silver from the temple of God and giving it to Ben-Hadad the king of Aram to break his covenant with Israel. Ben-Hadad therefore went with Asa to attack certain parts of Israel. When Basha heard about this he returned to his place.

But what Asa did was displeasing to God. God sent Hanani the prophet to Asa to remind him about how He had delivered Judah from the mighty army of Zerah when he depended on Him. He asked him why he chose to rely on Aram instead of Him. Asa could have also defeated the army of Aram if he had depended on Him. He was disappointed with Asa because He was always on the look out for those whose hearts were wholly devoted to Him in order to strengthen them.

Somehow the earlier humility and the reverence for God which Asa had shown earlier seemed to be missing. Perhaps his success and many years as king made him feel strong in himself. Anyway Asa was angry with Hanani for speaking to him like this and put him in prison! Following this Asa also started oppressing some of the people. One day he became very ill, but even then he did not return to seeking God.

This is an example of a man who began well with God but who let his resulting success, power and position go to his head. It also teaches us to be open to listen to correction always.

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Comfort & Counsel