1 So Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the City of David; and Asa his son reigned in his stead. In his days the land was at rest for ten years.
2 And Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God.
3 He took away the foreign altars and high places and broke down the idol pillars or obelisks and cut down the Asherim [symbols of the goddess Asherah]
4 And commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers [to inquire of and for Him and crave Him as a vital necessity], and to obey the law and the commandment.
5 Also Asa took out of all the cities of Judah the idolatrous high places and the incense altars. And the kingdom had rest under his reign.
6 And he built fortified cities in Judah, for the land had rest. He had no war in those years, for the Lord gave him peace.
7 Therefore he said to Judah, Let us build these cities and surround them with walls, towers, gates, and bars. The land is still ours, because we sought the Lord our God; we have sought Him [yearning for Him with all our desire] and He has given us rest and peace on every side. So they built and prospered.
8 Asa had an army of 300,000 men out of Judah, who bore bucklers and spears, and 280,000 out of Benjamin, who bore shields and drew bows, all mighty men of courage.
9 There came out against Judah Zerah the Ethiopian with a host of a million [that is, too many to be numbered] and 300 chariots, and came as far as Mareshah.
10 Then Asa went out against him, and they set up their lines of battle in the Valley of Zephathah at Mareshah.
11 Asa cried to the Lord his God, O Lord, there is none besides You to help, and it makes no difference to You whether the one You help is mighty or powerless. Help us, O Lord our God! For we rely on You, and we go against this multitude in Your name. O Lord, You are our God; let no man prevail against You!
12 So the Lord smote the Ethiopians before Asa and Judah, and the Ethiopians fled.
13 Asa and the people with him pursued them to Gerar; and the Ethiopians were overthrown, so that none remained alive; for they were destroyed before the Lord and His host, who carried away very much booty.
14 And they smote all the cities round about Gerar, for the fear of the Lord came upon them. They plundered all the cities, for there was much plunder in them.
15 They smote also the cattle encampments and carried away sheep in abundance and camels; and they returned to Jerusalem.
-2 Chronicles 14:9-11, AMPC
Here in this scripture, we read that Asa had rest in his land for 10 years. The word rest here means tranquility, undisturbed, quiet, and at peace. Asa violently went up against all that was contrary to God, so his kingdom had rest during his reign. This rest came from:
- doing what is good and right in the eyes of God
- taking away foreign altars and high places
- tearing down idols
- destroying idolatrous high places and altars
It states that Judah sought and obeyed the Lord, and the Lord gave them rest. They had no war – rest and peace on every side – and they were able to build and prosper.
Yet, during this time of rest, an enemy rose up out of Ethiopia, Zerah. Interestingly enough, Zerah means “rising”.
Then Asa went out against him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah.” -2 Chron. 14:10
Verse 10 reads that Asa went out against them, he faced them and went before them in the courage of the Lord. He had confidence in the rest and peace of the Lord. When Asa and his men faced Zerah and his army, Asa set the battle in array. He set forth a legal case in preparation for the battle, which was his cry to the Lord. This was done in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. Let’s break this down a bit…
- Valley- sheepfolds were generally built in a valley to be a shelter from the winter winds. A shelter for sheep during cold and stormy nights was a shelter from the winds. The high walls of protection in a valley represent “lifting strength,” being elevated to a higher position, with the idea of majesty and excellence.
- Zephathah- means watch-tower
- Mareshah – means crest of a hill, the highest part of a hill or mountain range. The head, top, or crown of something.
Asa went out and faced the rising one, Zerah, and set forth a legal case before the Lord in preparation for battle at the elevated position, at the advantage point of the lifting strength of the watch tower, which was at the crest of the mountain, at the head, the crown.
What was the legal case that was set forth?
“Asa cried to the Lord his God, O Lord, there is none besides You to help, and it makes no difference to You whether the one You help is mighty or powerless. Help us, O Lord our God! For we rely on You, and we go against this multitude in Your name. O Lord, You are our God; let no man prevail against You!” -2 Chronicles 14:11, AMPC
Asa cried out to the Lord for help. He acknowledged that there was no one else to call upon, and it didn’t matter who it was calling on Him (God is not a respecter of persons) – mighty or powerless – if they relied solely on Him. Asa acknowledged that The Lord was their God. and they were made one by stating By referring to his enemies as God’s enemies, “Let no man prevail against You!” Asa made it plain that he was one with God.
What was God’s response to Asa’s cry?
“So the Lord smote the Ethiopians before Asa and Judah, and the Ethiopians fled.” -2 Chronicles 14:12, AMPC.
The Lord took out Asa’s rising enemy. God made a promise to His people in Exodus:
““See, I am sending an angel before you to protect you on your journey and lead you safely to the place I have prepared for you.…But if you are careful to obey him, following all my instructions, then I will be an enemy to your enemies, and I will oppose those who oppose you. For my angel will go before you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites, and Jebusites, so you may live there. And I will destroy them completely.” -Exodus 23:20,22-23, NLT
Who was this angel? the Lord Jesus Christ. The promise was to be an enemy to his enemies and to oppose those who oppose them. However, the promise came with a condition: the people must be careful to obey and follow instructions given by the angel- Jesus. We read in 2 Chronicles that Asa was careful to obey the Lord and follow His instructions. This released the promise of God, to be an enemy to Asa’s enemies, and to oppose those who opposed Asa. He laid out his case to Judge Abba before the courts of heaven, and God moved mightily.
This Scripture helps us to understand the importance of obedience and strong faith in God’s power. When we seek God’s direction, adhere to His instructions, and fearlessly lay our worries before Him, He will be an enemy to our enemies, and oppose those who oppose us, giving us much needed rest and peace.