2 CHRONICLES 16:1-13
“ 1 In the thirty-sixth year of the reign of Asa, Baasha king of Israel came up against Judah and built Ramah, that he might let none go out or come in the Asa king of Judah. 2 Then Asa brought silver and gold from the treasuries of the house of the Lord and of the king’s house, and sent to Ben-Hadad king of Syria, who dwelt in Damascas, saying, 3 ” Let there be a treaty between you and me, as there was between you and me… See, I have sent you silver and gold; come, break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel, so that he will withdraw from me.” 4 So Ben-Hadad heeded King Asa, and sent the captains of his armies against the cities of Israel. They attacked Ijon, Dan, Abel Maim, and all the storage cities of Naphtali. 5 Now it happened, when Baasha heard it, that he stopped building Ramah and ceased his work. 6 Then King Asa took all Judah, and they carried away the stones and timber of Ramah, which Baasha had used for building; and with them he built Geba and Mizpah. 7 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. 8 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. 9 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. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars.” 10 Then Asa was angry with the seer, and put him in prison, for he was enraged at him because of this. And Asa opressed some of the people at that time. 12 And in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa became diseased in his feet, and his malady was severe; yet in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but the physicians. 13 So Asa rested with his fathers; he died in the forty-first year of his reign.
This is the first of a two-part series comparing two kings – Asa and his son Jehoshaphat. Both reigned over the people of Judah. Hopefully we can look into their respective ‘terms in office’ and learn more about God, and His way of dealing with people. We will see what pleases Him and what doesn’t! Please note the following points from the above passage:
1) YOUR LOYALTY TO GOD WILL BE TESTED
Just before the beginning of this passage, we see in 1 Chronicles 15:18,19, that there had been no war in Asa’s reign for the first 35 years, and that he even brought items into the house of God. However we see that Asa’s loyalty to God was tested by the prospect of war – with Israel. Note in verse 2 that the very same items he gladly brought to God were the same ones he sent to the king of Syria.
When problems or crises come, do you turn from depending on the Lord, and seek help elsewhere like Asa did? It is good to have support from friends/family, but to turn to them first, and then use God as a ‘last resort’ isn’t right. Don’t be like Asa and take things once dedicated to God (time, talent, money) and give to someone else when in trouble.
2) DON’T BE FOOLED BY SHORT-TERM SUCCESS
From verse 5 we see that Asa’s plan seemed to work, in that Baasha withdrew his plans. Asa must have been relieved! However, although he gained short-term success, he missed out on a long-term blessing that he would have received from God.
3) IF YOU OBEY GOD, HE WILL BLESS YOU
Through Hanani the seer (verse 7), God let Asa know that He wasn’t pleased by what he did. Note in verse 7 that God would have caused Asa to conquer the king of Syria (the same king he sought help from), if he had asked God to help him when Baasha threatened. In the same way, if we only wait on God, He will bless us and put us in an even better position than the very people we would have otherwise sought out for help. This verse also shows the love of God. God could have easily punished Asa for not relying on Him. However He chose to send Hanani to correct Asa and give Asa the chance to repent.
4) GOD OF THE PAST IS GOD OF THE PRESENT AND THE FUTURE
In verse 8, the Lord reminded Asa of how He helped him before – when the Ethiopians attacked Judah. We must not forget how the Lord has worked things out for us in times past. This will help us when we face current/future problems.
5) GOD WANTS TO USE OUR PROBLEMS FOR HIS GLORY
God actually says in verse 9 that He searches the whole earth to show His strength to those who put their trust in Him! He shows His strength by helping us through the many testing circumstances of life. He can make a way for us when there seems to be no way at all…whether it be in sickness, emotional distress, financial burdens, family life etc. What God says here should really encourage us to bring every problem, concern, circumstance to Him – He delights in showing Himself strong on our behalf. For those of you who do not know God through His Son Jesus who died for you, then I encourage you to accept Jesus as your Lord and Personal Saviour. It is only then that you will get to know God as He really is.
6) WE MUST LEARN THE LESSONS THAT GOD WANTS TO TEACH US
Verse 10 shows us that Asa did not accept God’s correction, that came throught the words of Hanani. Instead of humbly acknowledging his wrong and changing His ways, he got angry and put Hanani in prison. Not only this, but he started to oppress some of the people of Judah. These actions show pride. The Bible in Hebrews 12:6 says “..whom the Lord loves He chastens”. Therefore it is out of love that God corrects us. Let us accept it, for it is for our own good.
7) DISOBEDIENCE AND SIN ALWAYS HAVE CONSEQUENCES
Asa soon became very ill, and even in his illness did not look to the Lord for help. This shows us that sin can harden our heart to the point of not looking to God. Instead of turning to the Lord, Asa relied on physicians. For those of you who have not yet accepted Jesus into your lives, I urge you to be careful. If you continue to say ‘no’ to Him, there will come a point when you will no longer be sensitive to His calling you. That’s why the Bible says in Isaiah 55:6,7 “…seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”
Asa started his reign of Judah well – for 35 years. Things only started to turn in the 36th year of his reign. This teaches us that no matter how long you have been serving the Lord, you can fall. In Ezekiel 33:13 we are warned that our righteous works sill not be remembered if we turn from the Lord. Also, Ecclesiastes tells us tht “the race is not for the swift, nor the battle for the strong…”