King Asa was a righteous king
who had enjoyed God’s strong protection throughout the first
35 years of his rule. He tore down most of the high places
erected by Judah to pagan gods, and he exhorted God’s people
to earnestly seek the Lord.
In the middle years of his reign, this king faced a huge
trial! Over 1 million Ethiopian soldiers with 300
charioteers were arrayed against Judah to swallow up God’s
people. But King Asa cried out to the Lord for His help. 2
Chron 14:11 records the King’s fervent prayer:
“Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, ‘Lord, there
is no one besides You to help in the battle between the
powerful and those who have no strength; so help us, O Lord
our God, for we trust in You, and in Your name have come
against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; let not man
prevail against You.’”
The Lord heard Asa’s cries. He crushed this immense enemy.
God then used King Asa to bring about a great and long
lasting revival in Judah. Judah sought the Lord with all
their hearts and souls in large part because of King Asa’s
unusually God-centered leadership.
Because of the Lord’s blessings in Judah, many of the godly
remnant within the northern kingdom of Israel moved south.
They relocated in Judah “when they saw that the Lord his [Asa’s]
God was with him”, 2 Chron 15:9. This upset King Baasha the
ruler of the northern kingdom of Israel.
In the 36th year of Asa’s reign, King Baasha built a large,
fortified wall blocking access between the north and the
south. Apparently, with this wall, Baasha wanted to ensure
that no additional Jews from the tribes of the North
re-settled permanently within Judah. He also blocked access
into the northern kingdom from the south.
Baasha’s barrier wall greatly distressed King Asa. However,
this trial was relatively minor for Asa given the immense
Ethiopian army that previously threatened to destroy Judah,
and especially given God’s powerful support which He
provided Judah in response to Asa’s prayers. But King Asa’s
heart was filled with fear and unbelief.
Instead of trusting in the Lord,
Asa turned to the pagan king of Aram [modern day Syria] for
help. Asa actually bribed this king with treasures taken out
of the Lord’s own house. Thus God sent one of His prophets
to rebuke Asa. The prophet’s rebuke is set forth in 2 Chron
“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.”
Asa lost the loving and faithful protection of His God.
Instead of humbly repenting upon hearing the Word of the
Lord, Asa hardened his heart. Enraged, he threw into prison
the prophet of God.
In 2 Chron 16:9, the prophet uses a vivid metaphor
describing the intensity of our Lord’s longing to provide
strong support for us in every situation. His eyes are said
to be traveling around the globe intently searching as if
for treasure. He longs to discover the one who is willing to
surrender his life fully into God’s protective care. The
omnipotent hand of God follows His roaming eyes. When the
Lord finds one of His own yielding entirely to Him, He
instantly undergirds that beloved child of faith with power.
The most dangerous trials in our lives are not always the
most severe. When our problems are relatively huge, we often
are quick to surrender to the Lord. The severity of the
trial drives us to the Lord in fervent prayer. Then God
responds to our cries, even as He had for King Asa when the
Lord crushed the immense Ethiopian army.
God always responds to our faith filled cries for help. He
ushers in a fresh and reviving supply of His own strength.
We exult in our Lord who again and again supports us
strongly in every difficulty. Nevertheless, when relatively
minor trials confront us, and we do not depend upon Him, we
become spiritual paupers in that situation. This is why
Jesus tells us, “for apart from me you can do nothing.” John
This New Year, praise God for the many times in which He has
rescued you in your physical and spiritual difficulties –
both the huge and relatively tiny trials. Recognize that it
is in the small matters of life that we often foolishly take
things into our own hands. The results are fruitless.
Moreover, the spiritual loss to us is enormous.
This New Year, let us not forget the lesson of King Asa!
God’s eyes are gazing intently on everyone. He is searching.
He is weighing our motives. Whenever we are surrendered to
Him, it is His earnest delight to infuse His own strong
support in our hearts and lives.