Text: 1 Kings 15:16-24
16 And there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days.
17 And Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah, and built Ramah, that he might not suffer any to go out or come in to Asa king of Judah.
18 Then Asa took all the silver and the gold that were left in the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king’s house, and delivered them into the hand of his servants: and king Asa sent them to Benhadad, the son of Tabrimon, the son of Hezion, king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying,
19 There is a league between me and thee, and between my father and thy father: behold, I have sent unto thee a present of silver and gold; come and break thy league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me.
20 So Benhadad hearkened unto king Asa, and sent the captains of the hosts which he had against the cities of Israel, and smote Ijon, and Dan, and Abelbethmaachah, and all Cinneroth, with all the land of Naphtali.
21 And it came to pass, when Baasha heard thereof, that he left off building of Ramah, and dwelt in Tirzah.
22 Then king Asa made a proclamation throughout all Judah; none was exempted: and they took away the stones of Ramah, and the timber thereof, wherewith Baasha had builded; and king Asa built with them Geba of Benjamin, and Mizpah.
23 The rest of all the acts of Asa, and all his might, and all that he did, and the cities which he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? Nevertheless in the time of his old age he was diseased in his feet.
24 And Asa slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father: and Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his stead.
Key Verse: “There is a league between me and thee, and between my father and thy father: behold, I have sent unto thee a present of silver and gold; come and break thy league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me” (1 Kings 15:19).
Men always seek shortcuts to success in life. Rather than live by God’s righteous standards, they seek to achieve success by any means possible. They justify their actions by arguing that the end does indeed justify the means. This is despite their moral failings and character flaws, all of which contravene God’s expectations from His children.
Such was the beginning of the end for King Asa, who had begun well to rule Judah and had introduced great reforms in the land. He brought back true worship of God, took away altars erected for strange gods by his fathers, destroyed all objects of idolatry in Judah, strengthened the kingdom by building fenced cities and generally lived and ruled righteously. In return, God gave the land rest and peace, and prospered his reign. Although he built a strong army, he did not have to fight many wars.
In one particular instance, he faced an onslaught from Baasha, the king of Israel, and instead of turning to God as he did in the past and got great victory, he sought help from Benhadad, the king of Syria. When challenged by a prophet of God to the effect that he had gone astray, he arrested and imprisoned him and oppressed anyone else who raised his voice against his excesses. He was soon struck by God with a disease in his feet. Yet, in that condition, he failed to humble himself and turn to God but sought treatment from physicians. Eventually, he died from that sickness.
Besides it being disobedience, choosing the easy but wrong way is sin in the sight of God. You may get the reprieve you seek but in the process incur the anger of the Lord. Never withdraw your trust from God because of present suffering, nor seek solution to your problems from other sources. This is the surest way to avoid a life of regret and eternal separation from God.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: The life that pleases God is a marathon, not a quick and easy dash.
THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR: Genesis 48–50