What does real worship look like in the Christian life? We have a wonderful example from King Asa of Judah, the third king after Solomon. Not long after a great and decisive victory over a 1,000,000-man strong Ethiopian army, Asa launches a reform movement in Judah. Read here the words of the prophet Azariah to Asa:
And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded: 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, 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. 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. Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded. (2 Chronicles 15:1-7)
We read some familiar things here:
- The covenant promises of blessings for heartfelt obedience and cursings for rebellious apostasy from Deuteronomy (ch. 28-30) are repeated in v.2.
- Azariah reminds Asa of the tumultuous days of the judges, when each man did what was right in his own eyes (v.3-6). Those inclined to think Azariah is being melodramatic should review Judges 19 and following.
- He closes by exhorting Asa to “be strong,” and persevere in faith.
Asa, already a proven reformer (2 Chron. 14:2-5), takes heart and re-doubles his efforts. He rids the land of abominable idols, both in his own borders and in territory recently captured from the Northern Kingdom of Israel (v.8). He repairs the altar at the temple in Jerusalem (v.8). The fact that this literal house of God on earth had been allowed to languish in disrepair says much about the spiritual state of Judah!
Asa also gathers all the Israelites and foreign converts to Judaism in the Kingdom together (v.9-10). Interestingly, this included a large number of Israelites who had defected from the Northern Kingdom; “for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the LORD his God was with him” (2 Chron. 15:9b). God’s light cannot be hidden, and these faithful men and women are a testimony to that light! They forsook family, home and comfort to make a new life in another land; they considered the comforts of the world as nothing compared to the true worship of God! Read more about Real Worship