Azariah the Prophet

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Azariah the prophet encouraged King Asa of Judah to enact a series of religious reforms, tearing down idols and rebuilding the altar in the temple. Azariah’s encouragement was shockingly simple: just a reminder of God’s history of preserving Israel. He says, “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.”

He recounts Israel’s history: when the nation turned to God and relied on him, they had peace and prosperity. When they turned away, the country failed and fell to its enemies. And when they returned, God rescued them.

Azariah finishes by saying, “Take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.” Asa listens, and the nation has peace. (Spoiler: Asa’s faith doesn’t last, and neither does Israel’s prosperity. But that’s the story of Hanani.)