For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars (2Chronicles 16:9 NASB).
This passage of Scripture is part of the chronicles of King Asa of Judah. I am not sure why, but I have always been drawn to these few chapters, and to King Asa. Over the years, I find myself reading them again to garner more wisdom.
Today, I found myself there again.
Asa did right in the sight of the Lord his God. This is taken from the 14th chapter of 2 Chronicles. He was a zealot for removing the foreign altars and high places of idol worship. During the years of peace, he was not idle, he built up and fortified the cities of Judah. He also built his army to an impressive half million men.
There came a time when the Ethiopian army came against Judah. Asa and Judah were prepared, but they did not rest on their own ingenuity and strength. Asa sought God! He called on the Lord God declaring there is no one besides you to help us, and no one we trust but you.
Despite the Ethiopian’s million plus army Judah and King Asa prevailed. The enemy was routed! They were running scared despite having a much larger army.
I love this history of a humble king seeking God’s help in battle. This is the God we serve in our everyday battles against the enemy. He is able to defeat the enemy breathing down our necks!
Also, during the good, and peaceful times we need to build ourselves up by praying in the spirit, meditating on God’s powerful Word, and spending time with Holy Spirit. Lay out your innermost thoughts to our Father who truly cares for you, take time to worship him for who he is, think about his good character, and tell him, he is where your hope lies.
Now, I also know King Asa was warned not once, but twice by two different prophets sent by God. The first warning came after the defeat of the Ethiopians.
Listen to me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The Lord is with you when you are with him. And if you seek him, he will let you find him, but if you forsake him he will forsake you (2 Chronicles 15:2 NASB).
Asa took courage from these words. He continued to remove the idols from the land. He also restored the altar of the Lord. The people of Judah entered into covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart and soul.
You would think King Asa’s tenure as king would have ended in success, but it does not.
Sadly, he did not heed the second word, a corrective word by God sent to him by the prophet Hanani. In fact he had already made an unwise alliance with the king of Aram at the time of receiving this word. Asa did not seek the Lord before making this agreement and it indeed led to his downfall. This is why God sent Hanani to speak with him, and yet King Asa did not repent.
King Asa contracted a deadly disease in his feet and even in his sickness he did not seek the Lord. He died in his forty-first year of his reign.
My heart has always hurt reading this passage. I do not know why he chose to not follow God’s counsel as he had for so many years before. Maybe, initially it was fear of Judah’s physical enemy, perhaps it was deception, but there is also an element of pride.
There is so much to be learned from this portion of Scripture. Let us heed the warnings!
My prayer has been and will continue to be, Lord help us finish strong. Keep us on the straight and narrow way. Keep us humble before you listening and receptive to people who speak your wisdom and truth. Let us draw near to God through reading his Word, for this is where we find truth.
This Christian walk is not a sprint, but a marathon. We must pace ourselves lest we burn out and become weary in our doing well.