A tale of two kings
Faith & Inspiration
by Andrée Seu Peterson
Posted on Wednesday, November 26, 2014, at 1:04 pm
Manasseh was a very bad king and Asa was a very good king, but there is more to the story.
Asa, the king of Judah (the southern tribe ruled by the descendents of David after the split of Israel into two acrimonious kingdoms back in the day after Solomon), “did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God” (2 Chronicles 14:2, ESV). He demolished the altars of foreign gods and he commanded his subjects to keep the laws of God. His godly speech matched his godly deeds:
“… The land is still ours, because we have sought the LORD our God. We have sought him, and he has given us peace on every side” (2 Chronicles 14:7, ESV).
A prophet named Azariah went out to meet Asa and said to him:
“… The LORD is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you” (2 Chronicles 15:2, ESV).
These words encouraged Asa, and he called a great convocation of all his people and entered into a covenant with them to serve the Lord. His faith was so excellent that it expelled nepotism, and he deposed his own mother as queen because she worshipped an obscene image of Asherah.
But in the course of time (for no one ever lives today on yesterday’s righteousness), Asa got cold feet and sought pagan assistance in war rather than relying on God. A prophet named Hanani came around with a message of rebuke from God and reminded Asa of past times when he had relied on God and God had delivered him. Asa was enraged at that prophet and locked him up. Then, in the 39th year of his reign, he developed an excruciating disease in his feet, and yet in all his pain, did not seek the Lord, but only physicians.
Manasseh, a later monarch, was the worst king Judah ever had (2 Chronicles 33). He committed all the abominations of the nations around him, erecting worship centers to foreign gods, placing his personal idol in the house of God, practicing witchcraft, and performing child sacrifice on his sons. God spoke to Manasseh but he wouldn’t listen. Then God sent the Assyrian army after him, and they bound him in chains and deported him. When he was in affliction he implored God and humbled himself—and God heard him. And Manasseh came back to Jerusalem and removed the foreign gods.
So after all the good Asa did, he ended badly. And after all the evil Manasseh did, he ended well. And here is what the prophet Ezekiel said about that:
“… Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? When a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it. … [W]hen a wicked person turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he shall save his life. Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions that he had committed, he shall surely live …” (Ezekiel 18:25–29, ESV).
Everything written in Scripture is written for our instruction (Romans 15:4). Everything. This tale of two kings is for you and me, a strong exhortation to finish well, starting today. Life is not about a walk down the aisle you took in 1975, it is about obeying the present voice of faith. Only the devil tells us otherwise.
Andrée Seu Peterson’s Won’t Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, regularly $12.95, is now available from WORLD for only $5.95.
Andrée Seu Peterson
Andrée is a senior writer for WORLD Magazine. Her commentary has been compiled into three books including Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me. Andrée resides in Philadelphia, Penn.