Before we get into chapter 16, we should look at an overview of God working in a particular way that He mentions throughout the past two chapters.
2 Chronicles 14:1c “In his days the land was quiet ten years. 6And he built fenced cities in Judah: for the land had rest, and he had no war in those years; because the LORD had given him rest.”
God gives him and Israel peace 10 years. He wants to do right, and God gives him time and the blessing of peace to fix up some of the cities and the land. After ten years God allows/sends the battle I started this series with. Asa trusts the Lord and tells the people that God can save by many or by few. They win a great victory.
2 Chronicles 15:19 “And there was no more war unto the five and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa.”
They come back and are met by the prophet and given the challenge and promise to follow the Lord and as they seek God God gives them peace for another 25 years. Asa has now been king for 35 years, and we get to chapter 16.
2 Chronicles16:1 “In the six and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa Baasha king of Israel came up against Judah, and built Ramah, to the intent that he might let none go out or come in to Asa king of Judah. 2Then Asa brought out silver and gold out of the treasures of the house of the LORD and of the king’s house, and sent to Benhadad king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying, There is a league between me and thee, as there was between my father and thy father: behold, I have sent thee silver and gold; go, break thy league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me.”
If you don’t break it up, and if you are just reading Asa’s life through these three short chapters, you cannot help but ask yourself, “WHY?” Why would he do this? He called on the people to trust the first time. Now he is to go to war again afte 25 more years of peace and he calls on Syria. Why, why, why?!
Asa came up with his own plan, and you know what? It worked. Syria chased them away, and he got what he wanted. Sometimes our plans do work, but oh, how they show our hearts. We can come up with plans for our hard situations and sometimes God will let them work and we get out of the mess, but we have failed God’s test.
“7And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the LORD thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand. 8Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen? yet, because thou didst rely on the LORD, he delivered them into thine hand. 9For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.”
God sends the seer to tell him he has done foolishly, and that he will be punished for it. He did not trust God and so in the problem that he solved on his own, it will continue to come up in his life for the rest of his life. Wow. Can you think of something in your life that you have tried to solve on your own, and maybe did once or twice, but it just keeps coming back? Can you imagine the frustration with yourself if you realize that it keeps coming back because you didn’t trust the Lord with it. Maybe your car breaks down and you trust the Lord. And it breaks down again and you don’t, and God decides that because you didn’t trust Him but wanted to solve it yourself your car will continue to break down the rest of your life. Wow! How serious our sin is! We see that and it might be the response of the average Christian: “That is mean of God.” God forbid! How wicked are we to not trust Him!
What did Asa do? What should Asa do? He should repent! When Nathan came to David, David repented. Asa should repent. He should seek God’s face. Certainly there is emotion in this message. God’s man just condemned him. In self-righteousness Asa could have responded that he was protecting Israel and did what he thought was right. In humility Asa could have been angry with himself for his sin. Asa responds by being angry with the wrong person.
“10Then Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in a prison house; for he was in a rage with him because of this thing. And Asa oppressed some of the people the same time. 11And, behold, the acts of Asa, first and last, lo, they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. 12And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the LORD, but to the physicians.”
Asa gets angry at the seer as if somehow it is his fault. He can’t punish God, so he will punish God’s messenger. So often that is what happens today. Christians, who do right and speak the truth even when it is hard and the other person has power over them, suffer. The heart saddening fact is that it is from a man whose heart was perfect before the Lord in his early years of reign. This man of such a great spiritual stature fell to persecuting the man of God.
It gets worse. It always does. When we leave our Bible reading and prayer, it always gets worse. When we begin to rely on ourselves, everything starts to fall apart. He oppressed the people. We don’t know how, but God tells us that this sin was not just a one time thing. His life was characterized in his last years away from God and it was affecting everyone around him. So our sin will ruin our lives and those we care for.
He got sick and he refused to seek God’s help. He was proud and stubborn. He had done so much good. He really had. He did great things for the Lord and yet in his last few years he shunned the Lord. He ignored Him. We don’t know if his heart was resting on what he had done. We don’t know if He forgot how it had come to pass and if his pride had overcome him. We know he fell from his place of greatness.
“13And Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign.14And they buried him in his own sepulchres, which he had made for himself in the city of David, and laid him in the bed which was filled with sweet odours and divers kinds of spices prepared by the apothecaries’ art: and they made a very great burning for him.”
Asa died and he was remembered by the people for the good he had done. Thankfully there is some encouragement here. Asa’s memory is overall a good one. He did serve God for those 35 years. We don’t know when the sin started to creep in. It seems likely there was some complacency before he called on Syria, but we don’t know. But he served God most of his days.
I don’t want to do that. I want to serve God all of my days. There is no time in life, no victory so great, no amount of good works done, that can excuse our last days in sin. We must serve the Lord all of our days. When we begin to fall, we must in humility accept our punishment and return to the Lord. He is gracious and full of mercy, quick to pardon and forgive sins. Don’t be like Asa in his last years. Don’t refuse to seek the Lord. Don’t get angry at God for His justice in your life. Accept it, thank Him for it, and finish your course.