II CHRONICLES 16:9-10: “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars.” 10 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.” (ESV)
OBSERVATIONS: When you face a problem, and right before you is an “open door” (solution) to solve that problem, it must be from the Lord – right? Not necessarily. This account of Asa is a sobering reminder of this fact. As we read this account we love to remember the first part of I Chronicles 16:9, but we tend to forget the rest of the verse and its’ context.
Asa had been a godly king in Judah. He had restored the true worship of Jaweh, removed the high places and idols, and sought the Lord’s guidance throughout his reign. As a result of this the Lord gave Asa and Judah peace – “…He had no war in those years, for the LORD gave him peace.” (II Chronicles 14:7, ESV) Now, in the latter years of his reign, Asa faced a challenge with Baasha, King of Israel. Baasha began to build and fortify the city of Ramah. His intent was to establish a blockade against Judah, and no doubt make them subservient to Israel. What would Asa do?
Asa went to the first “open door” (solution) he found. He sent gold and silver from the Lord’s treasury to Benhadad, King of Syria, to form an alliance and to enlist their help in opposing Israel. Syria received this gift and attacked Israel. Israel fled and lost several cities, including Ramah. The crisis had been averted. Surely God had provided this “open door” and victory – right? The prophet Hanani would come to Asa with the answer. The answer is found in this familiar verse that we know so well – but forget the last phrase.
Hanani, speaking the Word of the Lord, confronts Asa – “…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. Were not the Ethiopians and the Libyans a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on the LORD, he gave them into your hand.” (II Chronicles 16:7-8). Then Hanani reminds Asa of the heart of the Lord – “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him…” Yet, the sobering truth of the matter is in the end of this statement – “…You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars.” (II Chronicles 16:9a, 9b, ESV)
Asa had previously sought the Lord’s guidance (when threatened by Ethiopia and Libya). This time Asa acted foolishly. He simply grabbed the first “open door” he could find, – without seeking the Lord. The result – Asa was on his own. His actions would result in the one thing he was trying to avoid – continual war and strife. The peace that he and Judah had enjoyed was coming to an end. Would not the Lord have given Asa a second chance? I think He most likely would have, but Asa did not repent. Asa simply got angry, hardened his heart, and put Hanani into prison. Asa rejected the correction of the Lord and punished the Lord’s messenger.
How many times have I done the same thing? I have made presumptuous decisions, without really seeking the Lord and waiting for His open door. The results have been dismal to say the least. When I reaped what I had sown, instead of repenting, I got angry and blamed God. I am not proud to admit this, but I have done this in my life. Yet, I am not willing to allow the story to end there. I have turned my heart around. I have responded to the Grace of God. I have humbly repented of my presumptuous sins. I have cried out to the Lord, and He has heard me, forgiven me, and restored me. My desire now is that in every situation I will sincerely seek the Lord. The commitment of my heart is to wait upon the Lord until I hear the Holy Spirit say – “This is the way, walk ye in it.”
Lord, I know You delight in giving support and aid to those whose hearts are blameless before You. This morning, forgive me for the times I have plunged ahead of Your timing. Forgive me for the times I have stubbornly broken down doors that You have closed. Give me a tender, sensitive, and moldable heart to hear Your voice, and grace to do Your will. Show Yourself mighty on my behalf so that I might bring glory to Your Name! In Jesus Name!