King Asa of Judah

A brief personal perspective on 1 Kings 15.9-15

King Asa of Judah was clearly a breath of fresh air. That what he accomplished was largely pleasing in the eyes of the Lord (and probably had the support of the majority of his subjects) is born out by the fact that he reigned for 41 years1. This is in stark contrast to the shorter reigns of the bad Kings of Israel.

He evidently took decisive and dramatic action, expelling male and female prostitutes from the pagan places of worship and removing all idols2. Would that people today were so publicly condemnatory of profane doings and objects! Asa's bold assertion of his faith did not even prevent him removing, because of her profanity, his own Grandmother, Maacah, from her position of Queen Mother3.

Does our own faith compare in strength and would it stand up to the very public test of such actions? Perhaps there is a message here to be much braver in our witness, sure in the stability afforded by the Lord.

It does appear, however, that Asa did not quite go the whole way, as he did not destroy all the pagan places4. What prevented him? Did he stay his hand because he wished to appease some sects in society? Did he have niggling doubts that he might be bringing down upon himself wrath from the pagan gods? Or did he simply not have the time or the resources to conduct a complete purge? Perhaps we are faced with similar difficulties: the task required might appear too complex or overly time consuming, it might lead to embarrassment when facing others, it might mean totally burning our bridges with no way back. Nevertheless, if this is what we are called by God to do, can we really stop short of His command? Possibly we deceive ourselves that we have done the best we can, when really we could do more.

The actions mentioned in the text5 are interesting in that they imply a disbursement of the treasury which should really have been under God's custody in the temple. Certainly Asa seemed to recognise the importance of gathering together these objects and putting them in their rightful place; the temple. This, in turn, re-emphasises the temple as the focus for worshipping God, something worth considering today by those people who say that they can be Christians without going to church.

Even though Asa did what pleased the Lord6 it did not prevent him in his old age being crippled7, a stark reminder that we should not necessarily expect rewards or exemptions from illness in this life for our faith in God and service of Him.

1 1 Kings 15.10

2 1 Kings 15.12

3 1 Kings 15.13

4 1 Kings 15.14

5 1 Kings 15.15

6 1 Kings 15.11

7 1 Kings 15.24

Richard Farquharson, Maulden, Bedfordshire April 2016