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15 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! Listen, armies of Judah and Benjamin!” he shouted. “The Lord will stay with you as long as you stay with him! Whenever you look for him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will forsake you. For a long time now, over in Israel, the people haven’t worshiped the true God and have not had a true priest to teach them. They have lived without God’s laws. But whenever they have turned again to the Lord God of Israel in their distress and searched for him he has helped them. In their times of rebellion against God there was no peace. Problems troubled the nation on every hand. Crime was on the increase everywhere. There were external wars and internal fighting of city against city, for God was plaguing them with all sorts of trouble. But you men of Judah, keep up the good work and don’t get discouraged, for you will be rewarded.”

When King Asa heard this message from God, he took courage and destroyed all the idols in the land of Judah and Benjamin and in the cities he had captured in the hill country of Ephraim, and he rebuilt the altar of the Lord in front of the Temple.

Then he summoned all the people of Judah and Benjamin and the immigrants from Israel (for many had come from the territories of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon in Israel when they saw that the Lord God was with King Asa). 10 They all came to Jerusalem in June of the fifteenth year of King Asa’s reign 11 and sacrificed to the Lord seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep—it was part of the plunder they had captured in the battle. 12 Then they entered into a contract to worship only the Lord God of their fathers 13 and agreed that anyone who refused to do this must die—whether old or young, man or woman. 14 They shouted out their oath of loyalty to God with trumpets blaring and horns sounding. 15 All were happy for this covenant with God, for they had entered into it with all their hearts and wills and wanted him above everything else, and they found him! And he gave them peace throughout the nation.

16 King Asa even removed his mother Maacah from being the queen mother because she made an Asherah idol; he cut down the idol and crushed and burned it at Kidron Brook. 17 Over in Israel the idol-temples were not removed. But here in Judah and Benjamin the heart of King Asa was perfect before God throughout his lifetime. 18 He brought back into the Temple the silver and gold bowls that he and his father had dedicated to the Lord. 19 So there was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of King Asa’s reign.

Living Bible (TLB)

The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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