15 1THE SPIRIT of God came upon Azariah son of Oded. 2And he went out to meet Asa and said to him, Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: the Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him [inquiring for and of Him, craving Him as your soul’s first necessity], He will be found by you; but if you [become indifferent and] forsake Him, He will forsake you. 3Now for a long time Israel was without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law. 4But when they in their trouble turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and [in desperation earnestly] sought Him, He was found by them. 5And in those times there was no peace to him who went out nor to him who came in, but great and vexing afflictions and disturbances were upon all the inhabitants of the countries. 6Nation was broke in pieces against nation, and city against city, for God vexed and troubled them with all sorts of adversity. 7Be strong, therefore, and let not your hands be weak and slack, for your work shall be rewarded. 8And when Asa heard these words, the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage and put away the abominable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities which he had taken in the hill country of Ephraim; and he repaired the altar [of burnt offering] of the Lord which was in front of the porch or vestibule [of the house] of the Lord. 9And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin and the strangers with them out of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon, for they came over to Asa out of Israel in large numbers when they saw that the Lord his God was with him. 10So they gathered at Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa. 11And they sacrificed to the Lord on that day from the spoil which they had brought--700 oxen and 7,000 sheep. 12And they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, and to yearn for Him with all their heart’s desire and with all their soul; 13And that whoever would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, should be put to death, whether young or old, man or woman. 14They took an oath to the Lord with a loud voice, with shouting, with trumpets, and with cornets. 15And all Judah rejoiced at the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and sought Him [yearning for Him] with their whole desire, and He was found by them. And the Lord gave them rest and peace round about. 16Also Maacah, King Asa’s mother, he removed from being queen mother, because she had made an abominable image for [the goddess] Asherah. Asa cut down her idol, crushed it, and burned it at the brook Kidron. 17But the high places were not taken out of Israel. Nevertheless, the heart of Asa was blameless all his days. 18And he brought into the house of God the things that his father [Abijah] had dedicated and those he himself had dedicated--silver and gold and vessels. 19And there was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of the reign of Asa.
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