Sunday, February 17, 2013

Kings: Asa of Judah

1. HOOK: Whom do you seek? Or related icebreaker
  • Create two cubes/lists:
    • possible decisions that kids have to make (e.g. school work, recreation, choosing friends etc)
    • possible people or things they seek help from (e.g. parents, friends, doctors, teachers etc)  
  • Have kids roll the two dice together and discuss the way people might seek the help for the decision. 
  • God puts wise people in our midst, and we should get help from these people, especially our parents. But our parents are also human. They don’t have all the answers or know what’s going to happen. The One person who knows everything and whom we can depend on is Jesus. So whenever we have issues or problems or have to make big decisions, talk to Jesus first, and He will show us the way. 

2. LESSON: King Asa of Judah (1 Kings 15, 2 Chronicles 14-16)
  •  King Asa 
    • Today we meet King Asa. He was the son of King Abijah and ruled over Judah for 41 years.
    • Unlike his father Abijah and grandfather Rehoboam, the Bible records for us that “Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God” (2 Chron 14:2) and that he had a whole heart like David (Asa’s heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life.” 2 Chron 15:17)
    •  What did Asa do? He:
      • Stopped worship to the false gods: Removed the foreign altars and high places; smashed the sacred stones; and cut down the Asherah poles (He even removed his grandmother Maakah from her position as queen mother because she made an idol for the worship of the false goddess Asherah)
      • Commanded Judah to seek God and obey Him
      • Built up and prospered the cities of Judah in times of rest/peace
  •  Asa & his 2 Battles: Where do you place your trust?
  • During Asa’s reign, Judah had peace for many years. But there were 2 instances where he faced some external threats.
  • #1: Zerah and the Cushites (1 Chron 14)
    • There was a man called Zerah, who was a Cushite. He had a large and powerful army — 1 million men and 300 chariots — from Egypt.
    • One day, Zerah decided to come and attack King Asa at the Valley of Zephathah. 
    • King Asa had about 580,000 fighting men, but Zerah’s army was greater — 1 million men and 300 chariots. The odds were heavily stacked against King Asa. 
    • What did Asa do? He called to God. “Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, “Lord, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. Lord, you are our God; do not let mere mortals prevail against you.” (1 Chron 14:11)
    • Asa trusted and relied on God. And God struck down the Cushites before Asa and Judah. The Cushite armies fled, and Asa and his men chased them and destroyed them.
    • King Asa and his men also carried away a large amount of plunder from the fallen Cushites. God gave them a great victory indeed!
  •  #2: Baasha King of Israel (1 Chron 16) 
    • In the 36th year of Asa’s reign, there was another threat against Judah. 
    • King Baasha of Israel went against King Asa. He fortified the town of Ramah to prevent anyone from leaving or entering Judah.
    • What did Asa do? Call to God?
    • Unfortunately this time, he didn’t. 
    • Asa decided to rely on his own cleverness this time. Asa decided to make a treaty with Ben-Hadad king of Aram, from Damascus. 
    • Ben-Haded had a treaty with Baasha already. But King Asa gave Ben-Hadad gold and silver from the treasuries of the temple and palace and asked him to break his treaty with Baasha. 
    • Ben-Hadad agreed. He broke off his treaty with Baasha of Israel and began conquering the towns of Israel — Ijon, Dan, Abel Maim, Naphtali etc. 
    • When Baasha heard about it, he abandoned his work at Ramah. So the men of Judah went to carry away all the stones and timber that Baasha had been using in Ramah, and they used it to build up the towns of Geba and Mizpah.
    • That seemed like a smart move on King Asa’s part, right?
    • But God didn’t think so. Asa had trusted in his own cleverness and in another man (King Ben-Hadad) instead of in God to deliver him … even though God had delivered him from Zerah and the Cushites before. 
    • He sent Hanani the prophet to speak to Asa:“Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand. Were not the Cushites and Libyans a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horsemen? Yet when you relied on the Lord, he delivered them into your hand. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.”
    • Asa didn’t listen to the prophet. He was angry with him and put him in prison. 
    • Even when Asa was old and sick, he only trusted the doctors and did not seek help from the Lord. (1 Chron 16:12)
  • Asa was a good king who followed God and kept His commandments. He didn’t worship idols. But He forgot to trust God fully. He thought that he was smarter than God. He put his trust in other men. In the end, he missed out the big victory God had in store for him.
  • We can be good and follow God’s commandments. We can choose not to worship idols. But when we rely on our own goodness and smartness and abilities, we lose out on something greater. Jesus is our goodness. Jesus is our wisdom. Jesus is our ability.
  • So children, do we trust men or trust Jesus? Trust our own selves? Or trust Jesus? When we are faced with issues and decisions in life, call upon Jesus, and He will answer us and show us the best way!
  • Memory Verse Activity: (play game or activity to get kids to memorise)
    Proverbs 3:5-6
      Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

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