Faithfulness and Rest

King Asa on a 17th century painting by unknown...

King Asa on a 17th century painting by unknown artist in the choir of Sankta Maria kyrka in Åhus, Sweden. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are several things we can take away from the life of Asa. The first thing it says in Chronicles about Asa is: “In his days the land had rest for ten years.” (II Chronicles 14:1) This idea is repeated throughout chapters 14 and 15 so I think this is an important principle. But why did the land have rest? Actually, it tells us plainly:

And Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God. He took away the foreign altars and the high places and broke down the pillars and cut down the Asherim and commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, and to keep the law and the commandment. He also took out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the incense altars. And the kingdom had rest under him. II Chronicles 14:2-5

Now we have a king who did what was right in God’s eyes. He destroyed the altars used for idol worship (a big change) and commanded the people to seek God and obey his commands. This was a huge shift from the previous two kings of Judah. And because of Asa’s righteousness the kingdom had rest. It is interesting to note that the word rest or peace is mentioned in verses 14:1, 5, 6, 7, and 15:15. This is the first effect I see in the life of faithful Asa – that he brought peace and rest to Judah.

The second thing I notice about Asa is that he attributes the rest and peace to God. He says to the people of Judah, “Let us build these cities and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the Lord our God. We have sought him, and he has given us peace on every side.” (II Chronicles 14:7) Asa does not just give God the credit privately; he announces it publicly, instructing the people why they have peace. John Gill in his commentary says that Asa, “set up his pure worship, reformed abuses in it, and removed idolatry from it, and closely attended to the service of the sanctuary, which was well pleasing to God; the happy effect of which they experienced, rest from all their enemies round about them.”

If leaders would be humble enough to study the life of Asa, among others, they would come to find the amazing peace and rest that follows a faithful life. Faithfulness and rest are linked as Chronicles clearly tells us. It sounds simple enough, but the problem is we tend to view Asa’s life as just words on a page. But the fact is his life was real, and Asa ushered in this rest to an entire nation.  A leader can do that. Our own land hardly has any peace or rest. There is a reason for that. Just as a nation can find rest through faithfulness, so it will also find anything but rest if it is faithless.

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