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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

PUNISH THE MESSENGER

II Chronicles 16:10 Then Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in a prison house; for he was in a rage with him because of the thing. And Asa oppressed some of the people the same time.

During the period of the divided kingdoms of Israel, Asa was king of Judah and the tribes that allied with them. Baasha was king of rest of the nation of Israel. Baasha feared some of the people over whom he ruled might desert and join the Judah division of Israel. II Chronicles 16:1 says that Baasha ...built Ramah, that he might let none go out or come in to Asa king of Judah.

Ramah seems to be a fortress built on the main thoroughfare going from northern Israel into Jerusalem. It was designed to limit travel into and out of Jerusalem. Sort of a "check point" that has been common among some nations in recent years and even exists in many countries today.

This action by Baasha irritated Asa to the extent that he sent money to, and formed a pact with, Ben-hadad, king of Syria to make war against Baasha. This, Ben-hadad did, and a number of cities of Israel were defeated. Baasha then left the building of Ramah in order to defend his nation. With it now vacated, Asa took the men of Judah into Ramah and dismantled it, carrying the building stones and timbers away and built the cities of Geba and Mizpah.

It was at this time that Hanani, a seer or prophet, came to Asa with a message from God. The message was that Asa had relied on the Ben-hadad and the Syrians instead of God. God, evidently, condoned the destruction of Ramah. It was something necessary in God's eyes. However, God wanted Asa to seek his advice and guidance in carrying out this task. Instead, Asa sought the aid of Ben-hadad and the Syrians. Asa was told by Hanani, the messenger, herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore, from henceforth thou shalt have wars.

It was at this point, as noted in the text of this lesson, Asa punished Hanani with imprisonment, not because of who he was, but because of what he said. No doubt Asa realizes that what Hanani said was right. But instead of humbling himself, admitting his mistake and making atonement for it, he persecuted the messenger.

It is "second nature" for people, both now and throughout the years past, to seek those that will agree with them and condone their actions. We all want the approval of others. However, as noted in the story relating to the text, this is not always best for physical and spiritual well-being. When wrong, we need to correct our actions. Many times, others may have a better insight in such matters. We need to weigh their advice, compare it to God's word, and then make up our minds as to what is right.

If we are wrong in God's eyes, we need to know it and make the necessary changes in our lives. What if our beliefs and actions are wrong! If we do not have an open mind to the opinions of others, the error that we are in may never be corrected. The worse thing we can do is to seek only the advice of those that agree with us. In 2 Timothy 4:3-4, Paul teaches Timothy, For the time will come when they (hearers) will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."

The worse thing we can do is to punish the messenger when they disagree with us! They may be right!