“Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David. And Asa his son reigned in his place. In his days the land had rest for ten years. And Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God. He took away the foreign altars and the high places and broke down the pillars and cut down the Asherim and commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, and to keep the law and the commandment. He also took out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the incense altars. And the kingdom had rest under him. He built fortified cities in Judah, for the land had rest. He had no war in those years, for the Lord gave him peace. And he said to Judah, ‘Let us build these cities and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the Lord our God. We have sought him, and he has given us peace on every side.’ So they built and prospered. And Asa had an army of 300,000 from Judah, armed with large shields and spears, and 280,000 men from Benjamin that carried shields and drew bows…
“Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and 300 chariots, and came as far as Mareshah. And Asa went out to meet him, and they drew up their lines of battle in the Valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. And Asa cried to the Lord his God, ‘O Lord, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.’” 2 Chronicles 14:1-11
Asa’s aim was not peace, but purity, and with his thorough cleansing and redirecting of Judah to the LORD, they were blessed with peace. He stood as their leader in removing false gods and shrines, and in prudent building of defenses. He reinstituted proper worship as he secured their land from enemy attack. Peace is always a by-product of doing the right thing and being in a right relationship with God. But peace does not mean the absence of conflict. An army of a million is formidable indeed, but a stilled soul cries out and trusts even then. (2 Chronicles 15:2; Isaiah 9:6)
Peace is what we carry inside when the Lord is Lord of our souls. Peace is what we know when we humbly trust him to deliver, protect, convict, cleanse, and forgive. Peace comes in knowing whose we are and who goes before us. It is a gift like none other from Jesus, a flood and fortress when we turn our cares to Him. In Jesus alone can we sleep, no matter what we face, in heavenly peace. (John 14:27;16:33; Philippians 4:6-7)
“Silent night, holy night!
All is calm, all is bright
‘Round yon virgin mother and child.
Holy Infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.” ~Joseph Moore
What cleansing should I implement, what loves and priorities need adjusting, so Christ’s peace has sole sway?
LORD, keep my soul silent before You, marveling at Your incarnation and alert to Your doings from Your holy dwelling in this world. May Your peace rule me, fill me, and be the fruit of my days. (Zechariah 2:13; Galatians 5:22; Colossians 3:15)