King Asa of Judah set an excellent example for us. As soon as he became king he quickly got busy doing what was pleasing to God by destroying idolatry in Judah and some interesting things happened:
“And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God: …
And commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment.
Also he took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the images: and the kingdom was quiet before him.
And he built fenced cities in Judah: for the land had rest, and he had no war in those years; because the LORD had given him rest.
Therefore he said unto Judah, Let us build these cities, and make about them walls, and towers, gates, and bars, while the land is yet before us; because we have sought the LORD our God, we have sought him, and he hath given us rest on every side. So they built and prospered.
And Asa had an army of men that bare targets and spears, out of Judah three hundred thousand; and out of Benjamin, that bare shields and drew bows, two hundred and fourscore thousand: all these were mighty men of valour.” (2 Chronicles 14:2, 4-8)
In this scripture, we see that while destroying the idolatry he commanded Judah to follow God’s laws (who says morality can’t be legislated?). As a reward for his diligence, the Lord blessed him with a period of rest. But during that peaceful period, Asa refused to rest on his laurels and devoted time and resources to make Judah strong and prosperous. It was a good thing he took advantage of this opportunity because not too long afterwards, a mighty enemy came against Judah.
If we are consistently faithful in doing what pleases God, such as casting down imaginations in our environment that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God and bringing our fleshly nature under subjection, he will sometimes bless us with periods of ease where we have virtually no major problems. During those times, we must not become lazy but use restful periods to build ourselves up in the Lord with his armor of light (Rom. 13:12) dwelling in the shelter of Jehovah, our fortress (Ps 18:2). In the same way Asa strengthened his kingdom, we must strengthen our spirit man by doing things like meditating on the word, staying instant in prayer, fasting, and being of service to others, especially to our brothers and sisters in Christ.
One reason God allows us such periods of rest is because he knows somewhere down the road we will face a situation that is tougher than our previous situations and he wants us to have some preparation time before we are thrust into it. Asa was wise in fortifying his kingdom in godliness because when the enemy came to destroy him, his faith in the Lord was strong. He knew he could just call on God for help–which he did–and God would supply the victory. Our times of peace, when used with that same wisdom and urgency, supply us with such strong faith that no matter how powerful the enemy or situation opposing us may seem, we know without a doubt that the Lord will give us victory when we call on him.
But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God… Jude 20-21
(Originally posted as Fortify yourself in the Lord on Feb. 12, 2007.)