The High Priest Hebrews Chapter 5

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Every high priest is a man chosen to represent other people in their dealings with God. He presents their gifts to God and offers sacrifices for their sins. And he is able to deal gently with ignorant and wayward people because he himself is subject to the same weaknesses. That is why he must offer sacrifices for his own sins as well as theirs. And no one can become a high priest simply because he wants such an honor. He must be called by God for this work, just as Aaron was. (Hebrews 5:1-4 NLTse).

After the author introduced Jesus as High Priest, he has no choice but to provide some sort of evidence. Who is on trial here, sinners or Jesus? On earth, the world placed Jesus on trial. Not everyone agreed with the death sentence Jesus received, but in one form or another, people placed Jesus on trial. The Gospels proved that point. Everyone had doubts to one degree or another. Peter, who thought he was without doubt, proved he fell short when he denied Jesus three times. We all fall short in our own ways.

A new symbol is introduced, Aaron as the high priest. To deal with that symbol, what do we need to do? We could look back at Aaron’s life. We could look at how he was dressed, the services he conducted, and the most important factor, how God trained Aaron. Having studied this extensively, the scriptures showed me how the plagues in Egypt were also lessons designed to teach Israel about the priesthood God would later offer the entire nation. God first battled the magicians, gods, and Pharaoh in Egypt. Notice how Jesus had a series of battles against religion and government powers. To take the role of King and High Priest, Jesus had to battle human leaders in both areas at the same time. Jesus also faced the priests and Roman governor during His trial.

When we look at Aaron’s life, we can use what is referred to as the rule of first mention, which brings us to a lesson creating an important impact on related stories recorded later in scripture. That is another type of signature God used in His Word. When the Tabernacle was dedicated, we can refer to it as its grand opening, what did Aaron sacrifice?

“Bring the young bull to the entrance of the Tabernacle, where Aaron and his sons will lay their hands on its head. Then slaughter the bull in the LORD’s presence at the entrance of the Tabernacle. Put some of its blood on the horns of the altar with your finger, and pour out the rest at the base of the altar. (Exodus 29:10-12 NLTse).

Aaron and his sons were supposed to lay their hands on the bull’s head and confess their sins. Why do you think God used a bull? What was that supposed to remind Aaron about?

When Jesus was up on His mountain giving all those instructions to Moses, his brother Aaron was building an idol for Israel to follow, a golden calf. Right under Jesus’ nose, Aaron used what he learned in Egypt to create a new religion. What does that tell us about today? For one thing, Israel couldn’t help but notice God’s presence on that mountain. Lightening flashed, thunder crashed, and smoke rose from the mountain top. Jesus even spoke to Israel from that mountain top, and everyone heard His voice. That didn’t stop Aaron and Israel from going their own way, inventing their own religion, and relying on what they learned from this world. As Moses stood on that mountain meeting with, and receiving instructions directly from God’s throne, Aaron and Israel went about doing what they thought was best.

When we look at the Book of Hebrews, we should understand how it was arranged to send us back to particular stories that help explain what was presented. When Hebrews introduced Jesus as High Priest, Aaron’s life was given as a piece of evidence. Do we investigate that piece of evidence like our lives depend on it, or do we choose to go the way of the world, depending on what the world teaches on the subject? Israel needed a god and religion to follow. Aaron relied on what he learned in Egypt to create a new religion at the very moment his brother Moses received direct instructions from God, including the construction of the Tabernacle, how Aaron was to be dressed, and of course, extreme details on what Aaron was to sacrifice. That bull that reminded Aaron about the golden calf he made a god. Evidence like this is what the world needs to not only believe there is a living God, but that He sees everything. It is the sort of evidence the author of Hebrews presented when he introduced Jesus as High Priest. This is the type of evidence we need to deliver to the world, then let them choose between worldly religion, and approaching God’s throne.

Hebrews gave us two chapters to study. The first is a quote from David. Do we follow the ways of the world, convincing ourselves, we already know what the Spirit is trying to show us, or do we roll up our sleeves, sharpen our pencils, put on our thinking caps, and follow the path the Spirit carved out for us at this moment? We look at the chapter the Spirit directed us to.

Why are the nations so angry? Why do they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the LORD and against his anointed one. “Let us break their chains,” they cry, “and free ourselves from slavery to God.” But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them. Then in anger he rebukes them, terrifying them with his fierce fury. For the Lord declares, “I have placed my chosen king on the throne in Jerusalem, on my holy mountain.” The king proclaims the LORD’s decree: “The LORD said to me, ‘You are my son. Today I have become your Father. Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession. You will break them with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots.'” Now then, you kings, act wisely! Be warned, you rulers of the earth! Serve the LORD with reverent fear, and rejoice with trembling. Submit to God’s royal son, or he will become angry, and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities– for his anger flares up in an instant. But what joy for all who take refuge in him! (Psalms 2:1-12 NLTse).

By Godly design, the author pointed us to another chapter that pretty much gives us an overview of the world on Bible Study. Man made preparation and plans are nothing compared to God’s. We can plan all we want, follow leaders, and mark out our own courses. All of those are contrary to God.

We can’t help but notice how Psalms 2 is related to Aaron’s story, and the stories about Israel leaving Egypt mentioned earlier in Hebrews. We should be able to see how the Book of Hebrews was written by divine inspiration.

We’re faced with a lot of decisions to make every time we open the Bible. Do we let the Spirit guide us? How do we allow the Spirit to guide us? How close will we follow the Spirit’s directions? How do we find those directions in scripture in ways we can explain them to others? Will we allow the Spirit to make us the teachers He wants to make us, or do we shun the responsibility? Do we rely on ourselves, and what the world taught us to teach about the divine word, or do we learn at Jesus’ feet? The Book of Hebrews used plans from kings and leaders as a contrast to teach a lesson. Influences from this world can be contrary to God’s teaching methods.

Some people like to use and teach simple Bible Study methods. Where did they learn those methods? Just pray, open up a page in the Bible, and run with the first thing that pops into your mind. Hebrews tells us to approach God’s throne when we have a question. Hebrews showed us how God decided to insert evidence into His Word long before we decided to open that Bible. Hebrews showed us how God’s Word, and His Spirit actually direct us to additional information, as well as the evidence we need. In short, Hebrews showed us some rather reliable methods we can use to study scripture in every book of the Bible.

The author sent us to another story to look at. We owe it to ourselves to look at that story in the context presented in Hebrews chapter 5.

When Abram heard that his nephew Lot had been captured, he mobilized the 318 trained men who had been born into his household. Then he pursued Kedorlaomer’s army until he caught up with them at Dan. There he divided his men and attacked during the night. Kedorlaomer’s army fled, but Abram chased them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. Abram recovered all the goods that had been taken, and he brought back his nephew Lot with his possessions and all the women and other captives. After Abram returned from his victory over Kedorlaomer and all his allies, the king of Sodom went out to meet him in the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). And Melchizedek, the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High, brought Abram some bread and wine. Melchizedek blessed Abram with this blessing: “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who has defeated your enemies for you.” Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the goods he had recovered. The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give back my people who were captured. But you may keep for yourself all the goods you have recovered.” Abram replied to the king of Sodom, “I solemnly swear to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, that I will not take so much as a single thread or sandal thong from what belongs to you. Otherwise you might say, ‘I am the one who made Abram rich.’ I will accept only what my young warriors have already eaten, and I request that you give a fair share of the goods to my allies–Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre.” (Genesis 14:14-24 NLTse).

Here we are faced with the choice to place ourselves in the scene described, or examine this shred of evidence from what we’ve been taught. I prefer to place myself in the middle of the scene.

Abram lead 318 of his closest friends into battle against the largest army ever assembled on earth at that time. That army wiped out a number of nations without any problems. Vastly out numbered, Abram approached the enemy camp spread out over a large valley. Do the math. What would it take for you to follow Abram into that battle? What does that tell us about Abram and the people who followed him? To gather the amount of courage required to join that battle, each and every soldier had to receive personal assurance from God, they would live to see victory. If we could see Satan’s angels around us, we’d see the same odds stacked against us when we decide to turn to God and break the chains that bind us to this world.

Something told Melchizedek to go out and meet Abram. Something told Melchizedek, God was on Abram’s side, and he would return with all the people, cattle, and goods. Melchizedek also had to listen to God to be in the position described in the story.

Abram was so thankful for the victory, the goods meant nothing compared to that experience with God. Abram’s adrenaline was at an all time high when they advanced to battle the enemy. Abram was on an all time spiritual high when he marched home from that battle. And who does he meet, a man the scriptures compared to Jesus, Melchizedek, the high priest with no beginning or end, a fitting symbol of Jesus placed in scripture long before Jesus was born.

Melchizedek blessed Abram in a way, it appeared as if he saw the battle, or knew about its end long before it began. Melchizedek knew more about the circumstances than what was on the surface. Abram gave a tenth of what he captured. Not from his own funds, but from what the Lord handed Abram that day.

The author compared the battle Abram fought to the one Jesus faced. While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God. Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him. (Hebrews 5:7-9 NLTse). This served another purpose. We face the same battles. Now we know how Jesus can relate to the temptations and trials we face.

There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong. (Hebrews 5:11-14 NLTse).

Why would the author say this when his main focus is on introducing Jesus as High Priest? It stands to reason, Jews had a difficult time judging between God’s plan of salvation and tales created to cover up that plan. Today people, like the Jews, people like to think they know that plan, and see little reason to study it any further. Like those so called, “simplified methods of Bible Study,” people have used those man made methods of study to create simple explanations for a very important subject. A subject the author of Hebrews says, we should know well enough to teach. So far, the author here has written five chapters to explain Jesus’ role as High Priest, and continues to explain that role in a number of other chapters. Men have taken this book and condensed it down to a twenty minute sermon, five minute explanation, one paragraph definition, and a series of other simple, man made explanations. The Book of Hebrews shows how the information presented in this book expands. Some people have chosen to ignore that expansion in exchange for a condensed version. When we follow the tide of that expansion, we see evidence presented in such a way, we know God saw that was going to happen, and placed warnings inside this message. Warnings that are not at all hidden, but take your time and dedicate yourself to study. Like a road map, the Spirit highlighted the road to travel through this book. That stands for all the books and stories in the Bible.

When a group was gathered to form what we know as the King James Bible, they collected every piece of writing that stood a chance of being added to the Bible. Those men were smart enough, prayed enough, and listened to God’s Spirit enough to see patterns God used to write every piece of the Bible. The books in the Bible were written by a number of men spanning generations. Each used God’s unique style of writing, which reveals itself in links established between one book and others.

Some books were not included in the King James Bible, and some people disagree with those decisions. Those books can be examined to see if they contain the same patterns God used in the sixty six books included in the Bible. Learning those links and patterns is moving from milk to meat. Seeing those patterns is seeing and experiencing a part of God’s personality.

Hezekiah Received Threats

TTS Book 11 2Chronicles

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2 Chronicles 32:9-16 NLTse (9) While King Sennacherib of Assyria was still besieging the town of Lachish, he sent his officers to Jerusalem with this message for Hezekiah and all the people in the city: (10) “This is what King Sennacherib of Assyria says: What are you trusting in that makes you think you can survive my siege of Jerusalem? (11) Hezekiah has said, ‘The LORD our God will rescue us from the king of Assyria.’ Surely Hezekiah is misleading you, sentencing you to death by famine and thirst! (12) Don’t you realize that Hezekiah is the very person who destroyed all the LORD’s shrines and altars? He commanded Judah and Jerusalem to worship only at the altar at the Temple and to offer sacrifices on it alone. (13) “Surely you must realize what I and the other kings of Assyria before me have done to all the people of the earth! Were any of the gods of those nations able to rescue their people from my power? (14) Which of their gods was able to rescue its people from the destructive power of my predecessors? What makes you think your God can rescue you from me? (15) Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you! Don’t let him fool you like this! I say it again–no god of any nation or kingdom has ever yet been able to rescue his people from me or my ancestors. How much less will your God rescue you from my power!” (16) And Sennacherib’s officers further mocked the LORD God and his servant Hezekiah, heaping insult upon insult.

This seems like a rather basic story most Christians are familiar with. Sennacherib wrote a letter to Hezekiah and the people inside Jerusalem. In that letter, Sennacherib claimed his god was stronger than all the other gods in the world.

Sennacherib tried to perform a degree of hocus pocus with words by accusing Hezekiah of destroying all the idols and temples in Judah, and forcing people to worship one God. That was supposed to make people think they were left with only one god to protect them, while Sennacherib carried around and worshiped a number of gods.

There’s no doubt Sennacherib wanted to wage a war of words before he showed up with the bulk of his army. At least he showed some concern for his soldiers.

Imagine for a moment a modern world leader with the same attitude as Sennacherib. Someone who spends the majority of his money on his army. And a leader who for the most part, doesn’t believe in any other god, but those that seem to serve him. The world today has a number of such leaders. North Korea is one of them. They don’t believe in any god outside of their own strength and power. North Korea wants to conquer the world, but not as much as other leaders or nations. Other nations or leaders wage holy wars claiming they are fighting at the direction of their gods. In most cases, they do not tolerate any religion beyond their own beliefs.

When we look at the timing of this story, we know this is the beginning of Jerusalem’s fall. First it was Assyria, followed by Egypt, then Babylon. Talk about a series of symbols Jerusalem had to face. If Jerusalem’s fall is in fact a timeline, or prophetic vision of the last days on earth, this is what we could term, the beginning of the end. When we look at how the first threat Jerusalem faced was self funded, or in a sense, self induced, this gives us something to dwell on.

Ahaz thought he could buy his way out of trouble. Ahaz thought he could buy protection. It worked for a time, but failed in the end. Funding Assyria actually brought the first of a series of threats to Jerusalem’s gates. In basic terms, an over indulgence of self reliance was the first step in Jerusalem’s fall. Of course there were those pagan shrines and idols. Those were one detail to be aware of, but not the end of the story.

If we only concentrate on the physical idols, we miss the entire spiritual message, as well as a number of emotional, and personal lessons. Hezekiah was successful to a degree. His success was enough to grab God’s attention and provide protection. But this event should have been an eye opener. Hezekiah and his consultants should have examined the steps they took, and instead of patting themselves on the back, asked God, or at least themselves, what they missed. You can take only so much out of a person’s life before they rebel. Sennacherib thought Jerusalem reached that point. Once people rebel, you loose control. When something is taken out of their lives, you’d better have something much better to replace it.

People like Hezekiah think they offered something better. Sure they did. They offered Judah the One Living God to worship. But how do you worship Him? Where is He? What does He look like? What are His likes and dislike? That goes way beyond the law. If all you can say is, “keep the law and have faith,” those type of answers get old really fast. It takes a long, lasting relationship with God to teach about it. If all you have is the law and a so called, “faith,” you can’t explain a thing. You’re not serving God, nor do you know Him.

God had to send a message, an easy message by showing how He is capable of saving people against insurmountable odds. That is supposed to kick in what we refer to as the brain. God has to make physical contact before He can establish spirit contact. People have to learn to use their eyes, ears, and mind before their heart will kick in and follow. Jerusalem had to see a physical manifestation of God before they were ready to take their worship to the next level. The first lesson was to know beyond any shadow of doubt, God was there, He was watching, and listening.

The Levites Cleansed the Temple

TTS Book 11 2Chronicles

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2 Chronicles 29:12-17 NLTse (12) Then these Levites got right to work: From the clan of Kohath: Mahath son of Amasai and Joel son of Azariah. From the clan of Merari: Kish son of Abdi and Azariah son of Jehallelel. From the clan of Gershon: Joah son of Zimmah and Eden son of Joah. (13) From the family of Elizaphan: Shimri and Jeiel. From the family of Asaph: Zechariah and Mattaniah. (14) From the family of Heman: Jehiel and Shimei. From the family of Jeduthun: Shemaiah and Uzziel. (15) These men called together their fellow Levites, and they all purified themselves. Then they began to cleanse the Temple of the LORD, just as the king had commanded. They were careful to follow all the LORD’s instructions in their work. (16) The priests went into the sanctuary of the Temple of the LORD to cleanse it, and they took out to the Temple courtyard all the defiled things they found. From there the Levites carted it all out to the Kidron Valley. (17) They began the work in early spring, on the first day of the new year, and in eight days they had reached the entry room of the LORD’s Temple. Then they purified the Temple of the LORD itself, which took another eight days. So the entire task was completed in sixteen days.

Two questions here. What does it mean to purify yourself? What did they do to purify the temple? People may think purifying the temple consisted of clearing out the pagan elements, scrubbing the walls and floors from top to bottom, and offering up a few burnt offerings. What did Jesus say about cleaning the outside of the bowl, and not the inside. It may seem like they concentrated on the inside of the temple. But is that what Jesus meant by cleaning the inside? Where do we find that spiritual inside?

Now we can look at how Levites purified themselves. I wish we had details telling us exactly how they accomplished that task. We are left with nothing to do but speculate. Did they begin by bathing the outside? When we look at the physical picture those few words painted, we can see a group of Levites cleaning out Pagan articles from the temple. Think of what kind of attitude that could create.

Cleaning up someone’s mess can create a certain attitude. You can quickly find yourself looking at how low other people have fallen to sort of make it appear like your on a higher, more holy level. That is a dangerous game to play, but people play it all the time.

What does comparing yourself to other people do to clean up your own life? Those Levites cleaning out the temple could have looked at all that useless garbage the Pagans dragged in there, and walked away thinking they are where they needed to be on a spiritual level. They could have convinced themselves, they really accomplished something. But did that physical cleansing get them to where God wanted them to be? Where did God want them to be?

After a few generations, God sent someone to explain what He wanted all along. One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:35-40 NLTse).

Each of the Gospels explains what God wants us to learn in a few different ways. Some of those stories will reach some people, other stories were designed to reach other classes of people. And some people just don’t want to pay attention long enough to learn anything.

What does it mean to love God and your neighbor? Can you love one without the other? Doesn’t it take more than a physical effort? Is helping someone across the street, opening a door for them, giving them money, or helping them move, enough to display the type of love Jesus referred to? What was the type of love towards God Jesus was looking for? Is that the type of cleansing God was looking for from those Levites? Was God looking for more than cleaning out the temple and a few burnt offerings?

A Prophet is Called

TTS Book 11 2Chronicles

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2 Chronicles 18:9-13 NLTse (9) King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah, dressed in their royal robes, were sitting on thrones at the threshing floor near the gate of Samaria. All of Ahab’s prophets were prophesying there in front of them. (10) One of them, Zedekiah son of Kenaanah, made some iron horns and proclaimed, “This is what the LORD says: With these horns you will gore the Arameans to death!” (11) All the other prophets agreed. “Yes,” they said, “go up to Ramoth-gilead and be victorious, for the LORD will give the king victory!” (12) Meanwhile, the messenger who went to get Micaiah said to him, “Look, all the prophets are promising victory for the king. Be sure that you agree with them and promise success.” (13) But Micaiah replied, “As surely as the LORD lives, I will say only what my God says.”

Why did Ahab listen to the other prophets inside the palace, but move the thrones outside to meet Micaiah at the city gate? Was Ahab afraid of Micaiah, or was he afraid to meet God, and let God into his home?

The fact Ahab changed the scene should tell us something about people, at least the way Ahab thought, and how he viewed God. Ahab didn’t want God to see how he was living. Ahab didn’t want God to see how his wife decorated the palace with all kinds of idols. Ahab had such a low view of God, he thought if he kept Micaiah out of the palace, God would never see what he was trying to hide. This is evidence showing how Ahab thought he could hid from God. But it didn’t work. Ahab should have known God as well as Jehoshaphat did. God saved Ahab the same way Jehoshaphat was saved. That showed how two people can receive the same answer, but look at it two different ways.

But Ahab’s provincial commanders and the entire army had now come out to fight. Each Israelite soldier killed his Aramean opponent, and suddenly the entire Aramean army panicked and fled. The Israelites chased them, but King Ben-hadad and a few of his charioteers escaped on horses. However, the king of Israel destroyed the other horses and chariots and slaughtered the Arameans. Afterward the prophet said to King Ahab, “Get ready for another attack. Begin making plans now, for the king of Aram will come back next spring.” (1 Kings 20:19-22 NLTse).

It was okay for Ahab to listen to God when he needed help, and receive that help when it benefited him, but Ahab seemed to have little use for God when the problems were solved. If Ahab had Jehoshaphat’s help, why would he need God again?

We also see how self made prophets create their own symbols, and interpretations to go along with them. Do we see the same problems with prophets today? We can see how the symbol was designed to represent the answer Ahab wanted to hear. In other words, the prophet had one answer in mind, then looked for a symbol that agreed with his answer.

We also see how the king’s guard tried to tell Micaiah how to answer for God. But Micaiah wouldn’t stand for that type of approach. Micaiah’s answer may not be popular, and may not agree with what others were saying, or thinking, but it was an answer directly from God, if and when God chose to provide an answer.

Asa’s End

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2 Chronicles 16:11-14 NLTse (11) The rest of the events of Asa’s reign, from beginning to end, are recorded in The Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. (12) In the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa developed a serious foot disease. Yet even with the severity of his disease, he did not seek the LORD’s help but turned only to his physicians. (13) So he died in the forty-first year of his reign. (14) He was buried in the tomb he had carved out for himself in the City of David. He was laid on a bed perfumed with sweet spices and fragrant ointments, and the people built a huge funeral fire in his honor.

Was that foot disease a test? Was that disease a way of God calling Asa back? Based on the context, that pain was a constant reminder to Asa. If God could defeat an army of a million men in one day to protect Asa, what would it take God to heal a foot?

The scriptures mention a diseased foot and oppression in the same story for a reason. A foot is often used in scripture as a symbol of oppression. We still refer to oppression as being under foot. The depression Asa caused was a form of disease. People could have easily prayed for relief. Asa could have prayed for relief. Often we are too stubborn to take the easy way out. We want God to work under our terms, to solve problems our way, and afraid to admit our mistakes.

David had a friend killed so he could sleep with his wife. Well David had a friend killed after he slept with his wife, and she became pregnant. David tried to cover it up. David didn’t want to admit he made a major mistake. Finally God had to send in a prophet to tell a story to David. It was a good thing David caught onto the symbolism in that story and saw how the evil man represented himself. A baby had to pay the price for David’s mistake. But David did turn back to God.

How much does it take for us to admit mistakes, and return to God? For some people it is easy. For other people God has to go that extra mile to catch their attention. And some people never seem to catch on.

King Asa 2 Chronicles 15

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2 Chronicles 15:1-4 NLTse (1) Then the Spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded, (2) and he went out to meet King Asa as he was returning from the battle. “Listen to me, Asa!” he shouted. “Listen, all you people of Judah and Benjamin! The LORD will stay with you as long as you stay with him! Whenever you seek him, you will find him. But if you abandon him, he will abandon you. (3) For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach them, and without the Law to instruct them. (4) But whenever they were in trouble and turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him out, they found him.

Because this book centers on activity in and around the temple, which includes the history of the temple, we have to constantly look back at how previous kings looked at and treated the temple. That is a basic rule of Bible Study. If we skip that step, we will miss the spiritual side of the stories recorded in scripture. The same is true for the people involved. In most cases those people are kings. God chose to record the life stories of kings for a reason. Many people think the Bible contains stories about kings because that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Everyone does it. Scribes write about the lives of kings. Mostly their conquests and victories. If you want to find out about a king’s set backs and defeats, you have to translate the records of the nation that defeated them. Right there is another spiritual lesson we have to pay attention to. The Bible is not a record book written by mortal men. The Bible is a book recorded at God’s inspired directions. That is why it is arbitrary at times. God doesn’t take sides. God cannot save this world by playing favorites. Although, not too many people teach about a fair, loving God who looks at mistakes with both eyes, from aspects and details we would never consider on our own. God looks back at what people were taught, who influenced them, what tools, knowledge, and wisdom they have to work with, which includes information pumped into them from both sides, the good and evil influences working in the background of this world.

To get to the core of the spiritual lessons involved, we have to look at the personalities involved in the stories. How did they interact with the temple, its services, the people responsible for conducting those services, and the people God was trying to draw close to Himself? Kings were responsible for more than the nation they led. Those kings along David’s family line were responsible for preparing this world for the King God told David would come after many generations. How do you prepare this world to receive God’s Son? I doubt if many people could write an essay on that subject if you asked them to. Most people have been taught simple one line answers to explain Jesus’ return. Have you ever thought about that? The King of the Universe is coming back to the planet that to a large degree rejected Him, and most people can’t explain that grand event in more than a hand full of words. Whenever an important human dignitary visits a country, volumes are written about them. News crews and hundreds of security officials jump into action. Months are spent planning meals, speeches, events, and other matters. Everything has to be made perfect when an important earthly figure makes an appearance. But who has made any such preparations for God’s Son?

Like all the kings recorded in scripture, there is an interesting story behind king Asa. To understand how and why he reacted with the temple the way he did, we have to look back to learn what the Bible teaches us about Asa. In other words, we have to study what God wants us to know about Asa.

God had reasons to use stories about kings in scripture. Back in the days, kings demanded and received respect. God knew it would take generations before that respect was hidden by the enemy. People talk about signs of the times. Most of those people couldn’t tell you many details about Jesus’ return, or His role as King of the Universe. Not many of those people could look at this world and tell you how a vast majority lost respect for authority, including former kings of this world, and how that is a sign of the times.

In former days, people had a natural respect for kings. People know how to apply the role of an earthly king to God’s Son, and what that transfer of authority in Heaven meant. People saw it in parables and stories scattered throughout scripture. But today, those stories are ignored. It went out the window with respect for authority. How do we regain that respect when we live in a world that prides itself on disrespect, placing themselves on a higher level then offices that demanded and received respect in past ages?

When the image of a king called for respect, people levitated towards those stories in scripture with a sense of awe, knowing those stories also told us how nations tilted one way or the other based on the king’s beliefs, and dedication to God. But today, that respect is gone, along with the insight those stories contain. Why bother learning anything from the King of the Universe or from another, earthly king? People have been trained and influenced to look to themselves for answers. Who needs dead kings to teach lessons when more advanced, modern preachers have all the answers flowing out of them? If we were smart, we’d call that concept by its proper name, modern spiritualism.

Look around the world today. Check the news over the past week or month. How many protests and riots are going on throughout this world against its leaders? People have been programmed on a world wide level to shun authority. National pride is out the window. Disrespect for authority has spread to the scriptures, and has reached into Heaven itself. We can’t deny the fact, there has never been a more important time to approach God’s throne than today. But people in this world reject the concept of a King as their Savior. Jesus talked about that image just before He was slain, offered up as a sacrifice for the sins of this world, but the enemy has blocked that concept from the minds of the people Jesus gave up His life to save. What a victory for Satan, and a lack of insight for the people who claim to serve Jesus. People today have been programmed to place themselves at the center of authority, and protest any figure that disagrees with any of their concepts of what is fair and acceptable. Who do you think is behind that worldwide movement?

Since I am in the business of writing and marketing books, I do receive news about this world’s best sellers. For the most part, self help, looking out for number one books have been topping the list for a long time. That is followed by books on demons and wizards, the black arts. If that isn’t enough of a warning for you, add to that, books about what our previous generation would have labeled as sorted, or distorted love affairs brings up the rear. Many of those novels involve multiple partners, what is termed, free love, and some linger on the introduction, and experimentation with homosexuality. I never thought I’d find myself in a society that believes it is disrespectful to shed a negative light on a homosexual life style but perfectly acceptable to publicly protest and disrespect this nation’s leader.

To learn about Asa, we have to go back a few chapters. This is easily done by searching Asa, and looking at where he was first mentioned. When Abijah died, he was buried in the City of David. Then his son Asa became the next king. There was peace in the land for ten years. Asa did what was pleasing and good in the sight of the LORD his God. He removed the foreign altars and the pagan shrines. He smashed the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah poles. He commanded the people of Judah to seek the LORD, the God of their ancestors, and to obey his law and his commands. Asa also removed the pagan shrines, as well as the incense altars from every one of Judah’s towns. So Asa’s kingdom enjoyed a period of peace. During those peaceful years, he was able to build up the fortified towns throughout Judah. No one tried to make war against him at this time, for the LORD was giving him rest from his enemies. Asa told the people of Judah, “Let us build towns and fortify them with walls, towers, gates, and bars. The land is still ours because we sought the LORD our God, and he has given us peace on every side.” So they went ahead with these projects and brought them to completion. (2 Chronicles 14:1-7 NLTse). Because we are studying in the Book of 2 Chronicles, we will skip over the Book of Kings. To gather more information, you can look at details the author of Kings added.

We now know, Asa was one of the good kings Judah experienced. But we also want to know what type of influences Asa had in his life. That means we will have to look at how his father was described. Abijah and his army inflicted heavy losses on them; 500,000 of Israel’s select troops were killed that day. So Judah defeated Israel on that occasion because they trusted in the LORD, the God of their ancestors. Abijah and his army pursued Jeroboam’s troops and captured some of his towns, including Bethel, Jeshanah, and Ephron, along with their surrounding villages. So Jeroboam of Israel never regained his power during Abijah’s lifetime, and finally the LORD struck him down and he died. Meanwhile, Abijah of Judah grew more and more powerful. He married fourteen wives and had twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters. The rest of the events of Abijah’s reign, including his words and deeds, are recorded in The Commentary of Iddo the Prophet. (2 Chronicles 13:17-22 NLTse).

Very little was recorded about Abijah. We don’t find the usual conclusion written in either the introduction or summation of the king’s life telling if he was a good, or evil king. We do know Abijah led an a successful military campaign against Jeroboam’s troops because God was with him. What does that tell us about the influence Abijah had on his son?

It seems we have to rely more on what was recorded about Asa then what was recorded about his father. Since we have little information about Asa’s father, we have no choice but to pay closer attention to details about Asa.

Asa believed in God, wanted to follow God, but still built fortified cities. Does that show a form of self reliance, or was that a basic requirement in those days? Is a strong military presence still a necessity today?

The Bible is filled with stories about wars, and the need to protect one’s self. Abraham was sent to face one of the largest armies of that period with only 318 men. Other stories told about victories over insurmountable odds. Samson killed a thousand Philistines in one day. To answer the question about how much military power we need, and how to use it, we have to carefully consider different aspects of that question. On one hand, we see dozens of stories telling how God directed armies. God guided Joshua to victory after victory in the promised land. In the previous chapter, we saw how God directed Egypt’s army. God has control over the world’s armies. On the other hand, Jesus never gathered an army, nor did He stand up against Rome, which eventually fell. So what does that tell us about our need to protect ourselves?

Asa had a personal experience with God’s power, and how He controls armies. Once an Ethiopian named Zerah attacked Judah with an army of 1,000,000 men and 300 chariots. They advanced to the town of Mareshah, so Asa deployed his armies for battle in the valley north of Mareshah. Then Asa cried out to the LORD his God, “O LORD, no one but you can help the powerless against the mighty! Help us, O LORD our God, for we trust in you alone. It is in your name that we have come against this vast horde. O LORD, you are our God; do not let mere men prevail against you!” So the LORD defeated the Ethiopians in the presence of Asa and the army of Judah, and the enemy fled. (2 Chronicles 14:9-12 NLTse).

Imagine seeing a million men marching on you, then seeing God come to the rescue, That would be an event of a lifetime. An event no one in their right mind would forget. To make sure Asa understand the message, God sent a prophet. Then the Spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded, and he went out to meet King Asa as he was returning from the battle. “Listen to me, Asa!” he shouted. “Listen, all you people of Judah and Benjamin! The LORD will stay with you as long as you stay with him! Whenever you seek him, you will find him. But if you abandon him, he will abandon you. For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach them, and without the Law to instruct them. But whenever they were in trouble and turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him out, they found him. (2 Chronicles 15:1-4 NLTse).