King Asa made a big enough impact on the history of Israel that he takes up three chapters in 2 Chronicles. The story we read in today's chapters tells a sad story of a bad ending to a good king, one who did it right until the end of his reign.
I'm going to talk about three different ways Asa sought to solve his problems. One of them is an awesome promise. Another is a sad commentary. And the third? Well, what we can do help ourselves.
The promise: God will let himself be found. (2 Chronicles 15:1-2 MSG) When Asa paid attention to God--God promised to be available. No silent heavens. God communicated His will to Asa (even when he got into trouble.) No silent treatment.
The response? Asa helped himself. When he heard the prophecy, he "took a deep breath, then rolled up his sleeves, and went to work." (2 Chronicles 15:7-8 MSG). God didn't just give Asa the solution. He told him how to do it - and Asa went to work. The reward was amazing, "peace within and without." Peace with myself and with my fellow man? Isn't that what we all want?
And then. . . in the 36th year of a 41 year reign. . .he messed up. Early in his reign God had given him victory of the million-plus Ethiopian army. Now Baasha king of Israel attacks him--and he turns to the king at Damascus for help.
Had he forgotten that God invited--commanded--him to seek God first?
Did he, perhaps, wonder if God would play favorites between Israel and Judah?
Whatever his reason, the results were disastrous. You were foolish to go for human help when you could have had God's help. (2 Chronicles 16:9 MSG)
I don'ta think the problem was so much in asking for help. It was that he didn't ask God for battle plans first. From that point forward, he faced one military encounter after another.
There is a time and a place to ask others for help (consider the huge worship services in his reign, and the way he drew true Israelites to Judah.) But there is a wrong time, as well.
Whenever we face a decision - let's ask God first. Ask God whether He's going to do it for us, if there is something we should do--or if it's time to ask people for help.