We know that after Solomon died the nation of Israel fragmented due to the folly of his son. Events move on, and after two disastrous reigns, Solomon’s great grandson Asa becomes king. In 2 Chronicles 14 we read how he prospered, and in chapter 15 how God’s spirit came on Azariah, a prophet, who “went out to meet Asa and said to him, ‘Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and all Benjamin (the two southern tribes over which he reigned): The LORD is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you’” (verses 2,3).

Today, as then, the nations around Jerusalem are in disarray. The prophet went on to observe, “there was no peace … for great disturbances afflicted all the inhabitants of the lands … Nation was crushed by nation and city by city, for God troubled them with every sort of distress. But you (Asa), take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded” (verses 5-7).

These words are so appropriate today, believers in Israel, although probably few in number (God knows), would find them especially appropriate as they observe the ongoing troubles in Syria, Egypt, Iran and Lebanon. One day the nation of Israel will have its eyes fully opened to the reality of their Saviour and his father, their God of old.

Many say they believe there is a God, but do they really rely on Him and take to heart the prophet’s words, “The LORD is with you while you are with him”? Let us make sure we are with him, Jesus puts our situation wonderfully well in his words to his disciples which we read today, “Whoever abides in me and I in him, he (or she) it is who bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Is your fruit tree flourishing?