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 16:9.

“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 15:5.

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.

Pastor Blain

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Community Church of the Santa Ynez Valley
240 E. Highway 246
Buellton, CA 93427