Asa felt like he was walking on air. His army, on a wing and a prayer, had brought those invading Ethiopians to their knees. Against all odds, his army had decimated them! The high and mighty weren’t so high and mighty after all.
Oh, the euphoria of victory! This must be the same feeling his great-great grandfather had when he returned from winning battles. He wished David could see him now. He would have been so proud of him. His beloved Jerusalem was still safe.
Coming out to meet Asa, Azariah punctured the king’s musings. The prophet offered neither a congratulatory handshake nor the glimmer of a satisfied smile. All business, he got right to his point for being there: ‘“The Lord is with you when you are with Him. And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you’” (2 Chronicles 15:2 NASB).
The warning hit Asa’s heart. He had been made to face his failure.
From the moment he inherited his reign, Asa had zealously worked to purge the nation of idol worship and the downward depravity it induced. But his zeal had stopped short of cleansing the throne room.
Now, ten years later, Yahweh’s spokesman made clear the dire consequences if he did not restore worship of the true God as the national religion. That meant the utter obliteration of paganism. No exceptions! The most influential woman in the royal court and his chief counselor—the queen mother—should be dethroned. The status quo would not do. He must sever this family tie.
At the outset of his reign, Asa had thought it would be too hard to depose her. Today nothing could keep him from doing the right thing. So he “removed Maacah . . . from the position of queen mother, because she had made a horrid image as an Asherah, and Asa cut down her horrid image, crushed it and burned it at the brook Kidron” (2 Chronicles 15:16 NASB).
Where there are divisions in families when a moral choice is at stake, God claims the supreme affection. Jesus made that clear, saying, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37 ESV).