SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Asa was the king, so it might have been understandable for him to not feel like he has to listen to Azariah (verse 1). But Asa is humble, and Azariah had a godly message to share with him (verses 2-7). Listening to the message encouraged Asa to take next steps in his spiritual leadership (verse 8).
- In previous chapters we saw that the nation of Israel had divided in two, a southern kingdom and a northern kingdom. Here, in verse 9, we find out that people who wanted to be faithful to God had moved from the northern kingdom to the southern, because the northern had completely abandoned God.
- Seeking to please God, the people offer a huge sacrifice (verse 22).
- The people commit to "seek the Lord" "with all their heart and soul" (verse 12).
- In their enthusiasm they decide to kill off people who refused to seek God (verse 13), probably not the best decision, but it seems to have come from a sincere desire to please God.
- Azariah encouraged the people to "be strong and courageous" and continue in their good work, "for your work will be rewarded" (verse 7). God gives us almost the same exact message in the New Testament, "So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up" (Galatians 6:9).
- When you dedicate yourself to doing good, it can at times start to feel like a burden. When it does, we need to be strong and not get tired.
- What can encourage us is knowing that we will get a reward. It may be in this life that we will "reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up." But even if, for some reason, we don't receive our reward in this life, we can know that we will be rewarded by God when this life is over, when He will say to us, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter the rest and joy of your Master" (see Matthew 25:21 and 23)
- What can cause you to feel tired of doing good? And what "doing good" are you prone to grow tired of (resisting temptation, serving others, etc.)? When you grow tired, do you talk to God about it? He wants to be your strength when you're weary! Do you have any friends you can tell, so they can pray for you and encourage you? If not, you need some!