In the thirty-sixth year of his reign, Baasha who was now the king of Israel started to fortify the city of Ramah, north of Jerusalem, in order that he might cut off all of the trade that is coming into Judah or all of the trade that would go out ( 2 Chronicles 16:1 ).
He was going to cut off their supplies. And so he"s going to build this fortified city so that he could begin to cut off the supplies from Judah.
And Asa ( 2 Chronicles 16:2 )
He had had now a very prosperous reign. For twenty-five years they had had rest after the great victory and commitment to God. But now he had become rich. He had become strong and he took money out of the treasury of the house of the Lord.
took gold and silver out of the treasures of the house of the LORD, and he sent it off to the king of Syria ( 2 Chronicles 16:2 ),
And he said to Benhadad, "Your father and my father had a mutual defense pact. And I"m sending you this money in order that you might honor this mutual defense pact, and I want you to attack Israel from the north because they"re building this fortified city. They"re preparing an invasion and all. And so I want you to attack them from the north." And so Benhadad began to attack Israel from the north.
Well, because Baasha had deployed the troops down toward the south in the building of this fortified city and all, Benhadad began to move through the north part. They conquered the city of Dan in the upper part of the Galilee, the Hula Valley there. They began to move down. They took the area around the Sea of Galilee, the cities of Naphtali and all, and so Baasha, when the Syrians began to invade and take the northern part, left off the building of the fortified city, moved his army up to defend their northern borders from this attack of Syria. And when they did, of course, Asa moved out and they took all of the materials that they had brought to build the fortified city and they built several little cities for their own defense with the materials that they had captured from that which Baasha had brought down.
So his plan was successful. He had used his own military alliances and his own wealth and all to buy himself out of his problems. And it was successful. It was a very successful move. They were able to deploy the troops and they were able to take the materials, and it was a successful move. However, the prophet of God came to him, Hanani.
And he said, Because you have relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on Jehovah your God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of your hand. Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen? yet, because you relied on the LORD, he delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. But herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from now on you"re going to have wars ( 2 Chronicles 16:7-9 ).
Now he had just had, he was just, no doubt, gloating in his wisdom, in his diplomacy, in his success, and a prophet comes and rebukes him. And the rebuke is this: "You have relied upon Syria, the arm of man. You"re not resting in the Lord anymore. You"re not going out in the name of the Lord anymore. You"re not calling unto the Lord for the help that you need any longer. You see, you don"t feel that need for the help of God. "God, I can manage this one myself." And because you"ve relied on the king of Syria, and not on the Lord your God, don"t you remember... that now the king of Syria is delivered out of your hand, but don"t you remember that in the past when you were invaded by this huge army of Ethiopians and Lubims with their chariots and all, how that at that time you cried unto the Lord, the Lord delivered them into your hand."
"For," and this is the truth of God, burn it in your heart tonight, "the eyes of the Lord go to and fro throughout the entire earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are completely towards Him." What is God saying? Just this. God wants to use your life. God wants to bless your life. God wants to pour out upon you His glorious resources. God is just looking for people that He can use, that He can funnel His resources through, because God is wanting to reach this world around us. God needs men to reach this world. God is looking for men whose hearts are completely towards Him that He might show Himself strong on behalf of that person; that God might funnel His resources through their lives.
Oh God, cause our hearts to be turned completely towards Thee. Take our hearts away from the issues of the world. From our own desires and purposes. From our own goals and ambitions. Oh God, let my heart be completely towards Thee. Don"t let my heart be turned aside by my own desires and my own wishes. God, let my heart be completely towards You. For the eyes of the Lord are looking through the whole world to find such men that God might show Himself strong on behalf of those people.
In other words, as we were talking earlier, God is looking for the man whose life is in line with the purposes and the will of God. And when He finds that man, and when that man asks God for those things of the kingdom that he sees are necessary, then God is already determined to give to him those things that he is asking. Because he"s not asking to consume it on his own flesh, on his own desires. James said, "You ask, and receive not, that you might consume it on your own lust" ( James 4:3 ).
And so many of our petitions that we bring before God are really our own will, our own desires that we are offering to God and wanting Him to help us fulfill our desires. But God"s looking for men whose desire is totally towards the Lord and the things of God, because God needs men in this world today. The world is in a desperate condition. God needs men. God is looking for men and the eyes of the Lord go to and fro throughout the entire earth in order that He might show Himself strong in behalf of those whose hearts are completely towards Him.
Oh God, I want to be that man. Oh God, I want my desires to be fully in line with Your will, with what You want. God, I want to be usable. And this is my continual prayer: God, keep me usable. I know it is so easy to get sidetracked, to get caught up in something other than God"s purpose or plan and end up on the shelf. I don"t want to end up on the shelf. I want to remain usable by God. That"s the only reason for being in this rotten place.
Living in this corrupted society, there"s only one purpose, and that"s to be used of God for His purposes. And when I start living for my own purposes, then I pray God takes me instantly, because I"m wasting my life on that which really doesn"t matter. There"s only one real purpose now and that"s to be what God wants me to be. To be that servant of God, doing His will in order that God might work. Show His power and His strength through my life. God"s looking for such men. I want to be that kind of man. I"m not completely. I desire to be. And God knows the desire of my heart. From the time when I committed my life fully to Jesus Christ, to be that man that God could use.
Now Asa was angry with the prophet ( 2 Chronicles 16:10 ),
The truth oftentimes creates anger, resentment.
he put him in a prison; for he was in a rage with him because of this thing ( 2 Chronicles 16:10 ).
Here is the king who at the beginning offered this prayer of God, who created this great spiritual reform among the people. "We"re going to serve the Lord." He"s going to be... and now he"s in a rage because the prophet has brought to him the truth of God. Throws the prophet into prison.
And Asa in the thirty-ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, it was an exceeding great disease: yet in his disease he sought not the LORD, but the aid of physicians ( 2 Chronicles 16:12 ).
And he died. Now the intimation in the text is, had he sought the Lord, the Lord would have healed his diseased feet. But you see, he began a pattern of relying upon man and upon the arm of flesh. We sing that song, "The arm of flesh will fail you. You dare not trust your own." It"s vain to put your trust in man. "Better to put your trust in the Lord than your confidence in princes" ( Psalm 118:9 ). And he started out putting his trust in God. It"s a sad, tragic story. A man who started out putting his trust in God, knew the power of God, the great victories of God, great spiritual revival, but whose life he ended up trusting in the arm of flesh, in the arm of man. And he died trusting in man. "
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 16". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany