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Last time, we were introduced to a lesser known king in Israel’s history known as Asa. He was the first great reformer after the kingdom split, and Scripture is not silent about his legacy. But despite how much good he did for the kingdom and his desire to see his nation wholeheartedly follow the Lord, he was not a perfect man. He was a sinner just like all the other kings of Israel that came before the ultimate King, Jesus Christ, who would be none other than the true Son that was promised to David in 2 Samuel 7. So, what lessons can we learn from the life of King Asa? Today, I will present to you four points of application that I observed as I was meditating on 2 Chronicles 16.

1) Trust in the Lord even in the midst of trials. Wars and diseases are very difficult trials to live through. We are blessed to live in a day and age when our society is, by and large, relatively safe from these kinds of trials. There were so many more incurable diseases in ancient times, and this continued essentially unabated right up into the beginning of the 20th century! We also don’t experience outside nations militarily invading our nation on a regular basis. Rather than relying upon the Lord all the more in such difficult circumstances, Asa trusted in his own strength and ability as an earthly king and in earthly physicians for his foot ailment. But as Scripture reminds us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6). In our flesh, our tendency is towards anxiety and impulsive decision-making when faced with trials. Prayer and time in the Word are often neglected or made less of a priority in our lives. Christian, it is my prayer that you can take comfort with these encouraging words: “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe” (Proverbs 18:10). “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4). No matter what our situation might be in life, the Lord is indeed a strong tower that we can run to, and He desires to use the trials in our life to grow us in our relationship with Him. May we learn from King Asa’s error and never stray away from trusting in the Lord.

2) Be willing to listen to and accept rebuke from a brother or sister in the Lord. This one is tough, and for some this may sound like a rebuke in and of itself! When King Asa was confronted about his sin, he was enraged at the seer and sought to silence him. The Bible has a word to describe this action: stupid. “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid” (Proverbs 12:1). We often hear the word “stupid” as a derogatory term meant to be an insult to one's intelligence, but that is not the writer’s intention with that word. The term simply means “lacking common sense” or “foolish”. Ignoring, despising, or rejecting correction is a foolish endeavor, even if the one doing the correcting is perhaps rude or ill-mannered in the way he or she comes across. Isn’t it interesting how we often find ourselves criticizing a brother for his poor communication and presentation when he corrects us, but we don’t do that when he speaks joyous or encouraging words to us? Now of course we do need to be thoughtful about our words if we do find ourselves correcting another brother or sister, but that’s not what today’s passage is about. How do you tend to respond when someone in the church body calls you out on a particular sin? Keep in mind how King Asa’s erroneous response blemished his otherwise solid track record. Would you want others to say the same thing about you after you die?

3) We can never do anything to forfeit our righteous standing before God. This is something to take comfort in, brothers and sisters! There is comfort in knowing that even though Asa had sinned greatly at times, God still regarded him as a man whose heart was “wholly devoted” to Him, and there was nothing Asa could ever do to change that. We have no righteousness of our own, and the righteousness we do have has been imputed to us because of Christ’s work on the cross. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Asa was a righteous king in God’s sight, not because he performed righteous deeds, but because God clothed him with the very righteousness of Christ Himself. And, my friends, that is the only way any of us can ever enter Heaven. On that day, when God asks us why He should let us into His kingdom, our response can only be “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling .”

4) Don’t grow weary in doing good and keep fighting the good fight. King Asa had an excellent start to his reign and brought great reform across the land of Judah, but by the time he grew old, he became complacent in his spiritual journey and grew weary in his devotion to the Lord. Sadly, he did not finish strong. He faltered and stumbled and never recovered from his season of sin before he died. His life serves as a warning to those of us who have perhaps been walking with the Lord for many years. It can be an entanglement  for us to let up on our spiritual throttles, to think to ourselves, “I should be fine…I never gave into that temptation after all these years; it could never happen to me this late in life.” May this serve as a wake-up call, because, as Scripture reminds us, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling” (Proverbs 16:18). As Christians, we are to hate our sin, but the focus cannot be on the sin itself, or even on our hatred of sin for that matter. Rather, looking unto Christ is the key to success in our war against sin. “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…” (Hebrews 12:1-2). When it is time for God to finally call us home, whenever that might be, may we be able to echo the words of the apostle Paul during his last days on earth when he said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).

It is my prayer that the life of King Asa can serve as a great lesson for you, Christian. The reason why the Bible includes the details that it does concerning his life is because the Spirit wants us to learn from Asa’s errors as well as his triumphs. While we can confidently say that Asa never lost his salvation, that doesn’t mean that his errors later in life didn’t cause him to lose out on heavenly blessings. Let us keep in mind that there is a real race of faith that we are running. “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable” (1 Corinthians 9:24-25). We are blessed beyond measure, brethren, and unlike the saints of old, we have the permanently indwelling Holy Spirit, something that Asa could have only dreamed of possessing. While you indeed run the race, it is the Spirit who gives you the perseverance and strength to guarantee that you will cross the finish line. We have God’s promise that “…He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).