If you remember, the king of Israel besieged Judah, and instead of seeking God's help, Asa sent a note -- and lots of money -- to a Syrian king to help him out of the jam. Within a short time, the king of Israel left Asa alone and the Judean king thought all was right again with his world.
He was wrong. God sent a prophet to confront Asa with his sin. But instead of repenting, Asa threw the prophet into prison. And once more, Asa's attitude and actions, are instructive.
Scripture tells us of many of God's people who first walked with God, then turned from Him, and eventually killed or imprisoned those who challenged them to repentance. Saul, the first king of Israel is an example. We find his tragic story recorded in 1 Samuel chapters 9-31. In bulletized format, here's what happened:
- God chose Saul to be king over Israel.
- Saul became prideful.
- Saul disobeyed God.
- Saul tried to kill David, whom he knew would one day succeed to the throne.
- Saul had God's priests murdered.
- Saul sought guidance from a witch.
- Saul committed suicide.
Joash, another king of Judah, is further example. When his grandmother set out to murder all her children and grandchildren so she could ascend the throne as queen, the priest Jehoida saved Joash's life. The young king lived for years in the safety of the priest's family. But despite the godly influence of Jehoida on Joash, the king turned his back on God and eventually murdered the Jehoida's son.
Then, of course, there is Judas in the New Testament. He walked with Christ for three years. He listened to Him teach, saw His miracles, watched His life. But Judas' heart grew cold. And we know the rest of that story.
When the Holy Spirit calls us to repentance we run serious risk of hardening our hearts against Him -- and eventually doing something terrible to God's people -- if we refuse to make confession and follow up with a change in our direction. It seems like that's a rock-solid spiritual principle.
But there is another spiritual principle we ought not overlook: "He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper," Solomon wrote. "But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion (Proverbs 28:13).
Asa, Saul, Joash and Judas teach us what NOT to do. Solomon is one of many witnesses in Scripture who tell us what to do, instead.