Then the Spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded,
and he went out to meet King Asa as he was returning from the battle. "Listen to me, Asa!" he shouted. "Listen, all you people of Judah and Benjamin! The LORD will stay with you as long as you stay with him! Whenever you seek him, you will find him. But if you abandon him, he will abandon you.
For a long time, Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach them, and without God's law.
But whenever you were in distress and turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him out, you found him.
During those dark times, it was not safe to travel. Problems troubled the nation on every hand.
Nation fought against nation, and city against city, for God was troubling you with every kind of problem.
And now, you men of Judah, be strong and courageous, for your work will be rewarded."
When Asa heard this message from Azariah the prophet, a he took courage and removed all the idols in the land of Judah and Benjamin and in the towns he had captured in the hill country of Ephraim. And he repaired the altar of the LORD, which stood in front of the foyer of the LORD's Temple.
Then Asa called together all the people of Judah and Benjamin, along with the people of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon who had settled among them. Many had moved to Judah during Asa's reign when they saw that the LORD his God was with him.
The people gathered at Jerusalem in late spring, b during the fifteenth year of Asa's reign.
On that day they sacrificed to the LORD some of the animals they had taken as plunder in the battle -- seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep and goats.
Then they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and soul.
They agreed that anyone who refused to seek the LORD, the God of Israel, would be put to death -- whether young or old, man or woman.
They shouted out their oath of loyalty to the LORD with trumpets blaring and horns sounding.
All were happy about this covenant, for they had entered into it with all their hearts. Eagerly they sought after God, and they found him. And the LORD gave them rest from their enemies on every side.
King Asa even deposed his grandmother Maacah from her position as queen mother because she had made an obscene Asherah pole. He cut down the pole, broke it up, and burned it in the Kidron Valley.
Although the pagan shrines were not completely removed from Israel, Asa remained fully committed to the LORD throughout his life.
He brought into the Temple of God the silver and gold and the utensils that he and his father had dedicated.
So there was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of Asa's reign.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)