Be Strong and Do Not Give Up

2 Chronicles 15:1-7 (NIV)

The Spirit of God came on Azariah son of Oded. He went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach and without the law. But in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them. In those days it was not safe to travel about, for all the inhabitants of the lands were in great turmoil. One nation was being crushed by another and one city by another, because God was troubling them with every kind of distress. But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”

In the prior chapter, there is an account of Asa cleaning up Judah by removing the foreign alters and  high places, smashing up the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles.  Asa prayed to God before battle and God gave him success against the vast Cushite army.  With all that Asa was doing for God, was it necessary for Azariah to come out to meet Asa and speak to him about being strong and not giving up.  It didn’t appear that Asa was discouraged or feeling down after his victory over the Cushites.  This word of encouragement came to someone who was already fully committed to the Lord.

The nature of God is that he wanted to encourage Asa for what he was already doing, Asa was reminded that God’s people are fickle and would often turn away from the true God time and time again until they would cry out for mercy and for God to rescue them.   In a sense, he was giving Asa a reality check about the people of God, but also not to stop what he was doing and not to give up.  God will reward him for the work that he is doing.

The weak and strong equally need encouragement.  Upon further investigation, when Asa heard these words, he took courage.  So perhaps, he was facing the temptation of losing some faith and giving up.  Perhaps, there was some opposition and grumbling from his people who wanted the Asherah poles to be put back up and the foreign gods to come back.  In any event, he was encouraged to continue to do what is right in the eyes of God.  God wants us to not give up either and not get tired of doing what is right.

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