Posted November 8, 2005
And when Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Obed the prophet, he took courage... 2 Chronicles 15:8
I was reading through 2 Chronicles 15 not long ago and although I've read that passage many times concerning Asa, it really stuck me that he "took courage" only "when" he heard the words of Azariah, and Obed the prophet. It made me want to look back over what was actually said to Asa in order to see what made him "take courage".
As I read and reread those verses it occurred to me that what was said to Asa is such a good pattern for us as we deal with people that are discouraged and down in their Christian life.
Not only can we encourage others but also we can encourage ourselves with these things that Azariah, the son of Obed reminded Asa of in this passage.
1 First, Asa was Reminded of God's Presence.
And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD is with you... 2 Chronicles 15:2a
What a great reminder for all of us that, Hey! God is with us. It's so fitting that Azariah starts out with such a powerful thought such as the reminder of God's presence.
When I'm discouraged I always enjoy meditating on Psalm 91. Those verses are full of little reminders that God is with us. It's a great encouragement to me.
2 Second, Asa was Reminded to Seek the Lord.
The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you. 2 Chronicles 15:2b
What great advice. We all know we need to seek the Lord but sometimes we need a gentle reminder to do just that.
3 Next, Asa was Reminded of God's Power.
Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law.
But when they in their trouble did turn unto the LORD God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them.
And in those times there was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in, but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the countries.
And nation was destroyed of nation, and city of city: for God did vex them with all adversity. 2 Chronicles 15:3-6
In these verses Asa is reminded of what God can do. When I'm discouraged I know that is one of the things that seems to really help me, is just to think back on all that God has done for me personally and the ways that He's moved in my life. It is such a spirit lifter and motivator.
Azariah reminded Aza and all the people that were there with him of how God worked in the past with power concerning Israel.
4 Lastly, Asa was Reminded to be Strong.
Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded. 2 Chronicles 15:7
Wow! That was such a great way to top things off. It was like whip cream on top of a piece of pie. Azariah was telling Asa to just be strong. Just hang in there. Those are such motivating words in verse 7 of that chapter.
One of the verses that comes to my mind when things get rough is Ephesians 6:10
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
That verse always inspires me to just keep on keeping on.
Azariah not only excited Asa to "take courage" but his words of reminder also spurred Asa into action. In 2 Chronicles 15:8, it says that Asa "removed the idols" and also that he "renewed the altar of the LORD". As the passage goes on it talks about what the people did when they saw what Asa had done.
And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon: for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the LORD his God was with him.
So they gathered themselves together at Jerusalem in the third month, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa.
And they offered unto the LORD the same time, of the spoil which they had brought, seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep.
And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul;
That whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.
And they sware unto the LORD with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with cornets.
And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire; and he was found of them: and the LORD gave them rest round about. 2 Chronicles 15:9-15
We see in the above verses that not only did Asa take action but his actions motivated others to action as well. Its says in verse 11 that when the people saw that God was with Asa, the people offered an offering to the Lord of their spoil and in verse 12 that they entered into a covenant with the Lord.
You'll notice that it wasn't halfway actions either, but the covenant they entered into was with all their heart and with all their soul. In verse 15, it says that they sought him [the LORD] with their whole desire.
Sometimes all it takes to lift up another brother or sister in Christ is just some encouraging words. I wonder how many people I encourage with my words? How many people do I build up and energize into action in their service to the Lord by what I say?
I think that the reminders that were given to Asa are some good things to use to encourage others and ourselves as well.
So, are your words encouraging?
Copyright ©2005 Julia Bettencourt
Scripture References are from the King James Version.
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