King Asa had some godly influences in his family line, and he started off good. King Asa was actually one of the best kings in the Bible, and he prayed one of the greatest prayers found in the whole Old Testament (see 2 Chronicles 14:11).
When he became king, he tore down idols and destroyed Baals that his father and grandfather had brought into Judah. He was courageous and brought reformation, preached God’s Word to the people and strategically built up the cities. Thirty-six years into his reign, though, he made this deal with Syria and won a battle.
While everyone was high-fiving, a prophet approached the king with a message of judgment. “Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him, ‘Because you relied on the king of Syria, and did not rely on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped you…. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars.’ Then Asa was angry with the seer and put him in the stocks in prison, for he was in a rage with him because of this. And Asa inflicted cruelties upon some of the people at the same time” (2 Chronicles 16:7-10, ESV).
This army invaded, and King Asa wasn’t praying. He wasn’t trusting God. He got smart in the last couple years, and in getting ‘smart,’ he became a fool. No prayer, no humbling himself, no God in the decisions. The man who once believed “They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31), that wasn’t Asa anymore. He was ‘advanced’ now; he was going to figure out a really hot marketing plan, and guess what? It worked.
The things that work for us away from God, though, often don’t work out in the long run, not really. Asa’s smart strategy paid off, but he was the loser in the end.
Sometimes, we’ll trust God with big things, but otherwise, we try to figure it out ourselves. Those medium sized problems are what often indicate where we really are with the Lord. We depend on money, strategies or formulas. We just try to keep people happy, and it can work…for a little while, and then we’re left with nothing.
The truth of our trust in God will always come out in the end.
Jim Cymbala began the Brooklyn Tabernacle with less than twenty members in a small, rundown building in a difficult part of the city. A native of Brooklyn, he is a longtime friend of both David and Gary Wilkerson.