Read 1 Chronicles, chapters 14 – 16
Then Asa called on the Lord his God and said, “Lord, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. (14:11)
“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.” (16:9)
In the thirty-ninth year of Asa’s reign, he was afflicted with a disease in his feet. Those his disease was severe, he did not seek help from the Lord, but only from the physicians. (16:12)
King Asa of Judah began his rule in the best possible way, doing what was “right and good in the eyes of the Lord his God.” He turned his people back to the Lord, wiped out the places idols were worshiped, and reinforced the fortifications throughout the country. Peace reigned in these early years, and the people prospered.
Then disaster loomed in the form of a Cushite incursion. Asa’s army was dwarfed by the manpower and equipment of the advancing forces. He turned in faith to God. The Lord intervened, and the vastly superior Cushite army was crushed.
As if to underline the significance of what had happened, God’s Spirit spoke through Azariah: “The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.” (15:2) God wanted the message to be very clear: “You did the right thing, Asa, when you appealed to the Lord and put your trust in Him. Keep doing that, and you’ll find Him right by your side. But if you turn your back on Him, He won’t be waiting around in case you decide you could make use of Him.”
Asa took this to heart, and continued to honor God for 35 years. But gradually, perhaps imperceptibly, there was a change of heart and of posture. By the time Baasha King of Israel made an aggressive move against Judah, Asa no longer stood with his face toward God. His back was turned to the point that instead of seeking the Sovereign God, Asa went directly to another king for help.
There was no help from God this time, but there was another message. The seer Hanani confronted Asa to tell him how foolish he had been to depend on a mere mortal instead of the living God. As a result, Asa would be at war for the rest of his reign.
Asa didn’t take this well. In a rage, he threw Hanani into prison, and lashed out brutally against some of his own people. His mood didn’t improve when his feet became severely diseased. By that time, he’d been walking away from God for at least four years; for the last two years of his life his stubborn refusal to seek God meant he wasn’t walking anywhere at all.
Asa’s history is a story of odds and ends. When in humility he trusted in God, Asa was victorious against all odds. His country was blessed with peace during most of his long reign. Perhaps He began to feel that this tranquil prosperity was all due to his skills as a monarch. Possibly others flattered him to gain favor, and he began to believe his own press. Maybe with no frequent threats over the years to focus his thinking, Asa simply got too lazy to bother seeking God. Whatever the cause, the result was constant warfare. His end was resentful, bitter, and devoid of God’s comfort, strength and love.
What odds am I facing? No matter how astronomical the army coming against me, the odds are more than met by the Lord my God.
How will I live out the end of my years on earth? It’s my fervent prayer that I will never be unmindful of my God, never be complacent about what Jesus has done in my life and will do in eternity, and never be desensitized to His Spirit as my constant strength and guide. I pray that even I will end by knowing victory in Christ – against all odds.