“And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said to him: ‘Because you have relied on the king of Syria, and have not relied on the Lord your God, therefore the army of the king of Syria has escaped from your hand. Were the Ethiopians and the Lubim not a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet, because you relied on the Lord, He delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him...’" (2 Chronicles 16:7-9).
King Asa was the great grandson of King Solomon. The beginning of his reign was marked by a 10 year period of peace during which he showed himself to be godly by removing much of the idol worship that had been conducted in the land of Judah (2 Chronicles 14:1-7). After this period of peace, Zerah the Ethiopian came out to fight against him with an army vastly outnumbering his own. When facing this challenge, King Asa relied on the Lord. “And Asa cried out to the Lord his God, and said, ‘Lord, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You!’" (2 Chronicles 14:11). God struck the Ethiopians and gave Asa and Judah a great victory (2 Chronicles 14:12-13). King Asa had showed great faith in relying on God’s strength to deliver him from the crisis he faced!
Following this great victory, God sends His servant Azariah to King Asa with a message from God: “"Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin. 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” (2 Chronicles 15:2). Following his receiving this message from God, King Asa continues for many years to faithfully serve God as God strengthens his hands (2 Chronicles 15:8-19).
However, in the 36th year of his reign King Asa faces a challenge as Baasha, the king of Israel, begins to threaten the kingdom of Judah by building the fortified city of Ramah which prevents traffic from flowing in and out of Judah (2 Chronicles 16:1). However, on this occasion how does King Asa react? Does he seek the Lord as his strength as he had done in days before? No! King Asa makes a treaty with Ben-Hadad, the king of Syria requesting him to attack Israel to relieve the pressure facing Judah. After Ben-Hadad receives from King Asa the treasuries of silver and gold from the house of the Lord and the king’s house, he fulfills his part of the treaty by attacking Israel on King Asa’s behalf (2 Chronicles 16:2-6). As the opening verses above indicate, God was very displeased with King Asa for doing this. He sends His prophet Hanani the seer to rebuke King Asa for his failure to rely on God during this crisis (2 Chronicles 16:7-9).
As I think about these events in the life of King Asa, I can’t help but think how often I am tempted to act like King Asa. Multiple times in my life God has delivered me from great trials I have faced. I am thankful and I praise God for this! Yet, often when I face a new trial, instead of trusting in God and remembering how he has carried me in the past, I get so wrapped up with worry about the new trial that I seem to forget how God can strengthen me as I face this new challenge. Instead of relying on God, I find myself trying to solve the challenges of the trial myself or foolishly attempting to get other people to help me solve it. Today, as God’s eyes search “to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those who heart is loyal to Him”, I will look to God to show Himself strong to me regarding the challenges I face as I focus on having my heart be loyal to Him!
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13)