In reading 2 Chronicles 16, one reads the story of King Baasha of Israel attacking Judah. King Asa of Judah turns to King Ben-Hadad of Aram for help, offering a treaty, silver, and gold for said help.
That’s nice, Faye. Great story. What’s the big deal?
Hold on, will you? There are some deep lessons in this chapter of scripture!
If we look back at chapter 14, we see God defeated Zerah of Ethiopia for Judah. Even though Zerah had a million in his army and Asa only 300,000, God sacked Zerah because of Asa’s prayer, “Then Asa cried out to the Lord his God, “O Lord, no one but you can help the powerless against the mighty! Help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in you alone. It is in your name that we have come against this vast horde. O Lord, you are our God; do not let mere men prevail against you!””
At the end of chapter 19, we see ominous words — I’m telling you, so much of the Old Testament reads like an amazing novel or movie script — words that propel us to flip the page to read more. “So there was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of Asa’s reign.”
That means that something shifted.
We read how Asa put his full trust in God. Apparently, in the 35th year of his reign as king, something happened that caused God’s blessing of peace on Judah to be lifted. What was that?
Chapter 16 opens with the attack of King Baasha of Israel against King Asa of Judah. He marched right in, took over a city and fortified it isolating Asa and his people. Remember, thirty-five years prior, Asa saw God whup the daylights out of the Ethiopians, defeating an army over three times the size of his. It would make sense for him to trust that same God to do the same against Israel, right?
Make sense, yes. Happen? No.
Asa did what we so often do. He looked at the situation, evaluated what was happening, then looked around for a solution. He looked around. As he looked around, he remembered a pact between his father and King Ben-Hadad of Aram so that Ben would stop his assault on Judah. Logic. He saw the situation and came up with a logical solution.
Yes! Aram could beat Israel! They would be saved! It would be great! Asa sent silver and gold to Ben-Hadad, asking him to recognize the treaty between Aram and Judah, and asking him to break his treaty with Baasha. With the treasures of the Temple in hand, Ben-Hadad agreed and attacked Israel. Yay! Judah is saved!
Or was it? God sent a prophet to Asa to call him out. Hanani told Asa that he had forgotten all God had done for him and chose to have faith in the king of Aram instead of God. Asa was so angry he had the prophet thrown in prison and placed in stocks.
From there, Asa’s choice manifested further in his oppression of his own people. He developed a foot disease, but he refused to seek the Lord, instead only believing in his doctors.
Still a nice story, Faye. What’s in this for me? My goodness, you’re impatient today!
Think about that time you saw God move in your life. Maybe it was a rescue from addiction or trauma. Maybe it was healing of a disease. Maybe He pulled you out of the pit of depression. Whatever it was, think about that. Recall how you felt when you were living under the threat, then how you felt when you were free of it.
Now, fast forward to today. What attacks are you living with today? Bad back? Arthritis? Financial issues? Domestic violence? Depression? Whatever it is, how have you defended against it? Have you looked around or have you looked up? Wherever we look, whether to God, doctors, government, friends, or family, that is where we are putting our trust.
We are called to trust God.
To place our faith fully in Him.
Trouble is, that defies all logic.
Mind you, I am not saying that trusting doctors is wrong. I believe God has shown them the ways the human body works, and has given them solutions to alleviate pain and disease. They have helped me beat cancer three times.
I’m talking about the faith of the patient. Each battle with cancer, I sought God, then went to the doctor. I believed God would handle the cancer, using the doctor. Before I had any surgery, I asked God if I should. My faith was in God. I utilized His tools called physicians.
It is becoming more and more crucial that we stop looking around for the logical solutions and seek the God-solutions. Let us be the young Asa, declaring our full allegiance and trust in the Holy One, moving forward as He instructs, and only then. Let us examine ourselves and see if we’ve become like the older Asa, depending on other humans instead of the Creator of them.