2 Chronicles 14:2-5, 7 (AMP) Asa did what was good and right in the sight of the Lord his God. He removed the foreign altars and high places and tore down the [pagan] pillars (obelisks, memorial stones), and cut to pieces the Asherim [the symbols of the goddess Asherah]. And he commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers [to inquire of and for Him and seek Him as a vital necessity], and to observe the law [given to Moses] and the commandment. Asa also removed the [idolatrous] high places and the incense altars from all the cities of Judah. The kingdom was at rest and undisturbed under his reign. So he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and surround them with walls, towers, gates and bars [to secure the doors]. The land is still ours because we have sought the Lord our God; we have sought Him [longing for Him with all our heart] and He has given us peace on every side.” So they built and prospered.
When I read the Bible I do not pick and choose just my favorite verses, I read it in context of what was going on during the time it was written. Chronicles is separated into two books and goes along with first and second Samuel, first and second Kings, the books of the prophets, the writing of Psalms, Proverbs, Lamentations and Song of Solomon. King Asa (found in 1 Kings 15 and 2 Chronicles 14-16) reigned after the death of this father Abijah. In the first verse of 2 Chronicles 14, it states that the land was quiet for ten years. Why was that important? Because after Solomon died, the kingdom was split and warring against each other. There are now two kingdoms and two kings. Does that not sound confusing?
King Asa ruled 36 years. He was known to be a man of character and brought reforms to the nation. In verse five it states, “The kingdom was at rest and undisturbed under his reign.” Yet reformation happened and building happened. Actually, a few verses down we read that Zerah, an Ethiopian Cushate, came out against them. What? I thought they were at rest? The total number in King Asa’s army totaled 580,000 (army of Judah 300,000 and from Benjamin 280,000). The men from Ethiopian came out against them with one million men and three hundred chariots. Talk about out numbered! Asa went out to engage and arranged for battle.
2 Chronicles 14:11 (AMP) Asa called out to the Lord his God, saying, “O Lord, there is no one besides You to help in the battle between the powerful and the weak; so help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in and rely on You, and in Your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; let not man prevail against You.”
What happens next? God strikes down the enemy before King Asa and Judah. What does God striking down look like? Is it like He sends down lightning? How about He empowers us so that it happens like we put a knife in a stick of butter that has been softened.
Rest comes in His presence, not the absence of opposition. Not the absence of action. Rest and peace is seeking God with all of your heart, soul and mind. It is making Him your vital necessity. This is where rest come from. When opposition comes, you have no fear and no worry. He has made a way before you and you follow along fully armed in the full armor of God. Ready, have done all and then stand firm (Ephesians 6:13). This is why Jesus was able to sleep during the storm (Matthew 8:24).
King David, wrote Psalms 23 (AMP) towards the end of his life. We know his life did not go without opposition:
The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, to guide and to shield me], I shall not want. He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still and quiet waters. He refreshes and restores my soul (life); He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the [sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort and console me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You have anointed and refreshed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, And I shall dwell forever [throughout all my days] in the house and in the presence of the Lord.
There is so much I can speak more on what His presence truly brings. Presence is my word for this year. In His presence is peace and rest, even when your enemy (the devil) wages war against you. Seek His as your most vital need today. There is nothing greater.
Father, I thank you for being the God who goes out before me. I seek you as my most vital need today. There is nothing else that I would rather have than be in Your presence. I know I will not really be at rest without You. You have proven Yourself time and again. Your guide me and I am comforted in that. You have prepared a way for me and I will not lack because of You. Let me be a light and example of what it is like to be at peace in this world, not to say that I do not have a care, because You care deeply for us. Peace is one of the gifts You sent when you sent Your Son. I am empowered with peace because of the Holy Spirit that now dwells in and around me. I pray for rest for the person reading this. May they grow to know you more this year. We desire more of You. In Jesus Name, Amen.
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