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ASA GOES TO THE WORLD FOR HELP
Baasha, king of Israel, had become alarmed at the thought of some from Israel defecting to Judah, Therefore he came and built Ramah as a buffer between the two companies (v.1). What a picture of the fact that those who have departed from the Lord's centre will do all they can to keep their followers from returning to the Lord's place for them! This was not a direct attack upon Judah, but Asa considered it an offence. Why did he not then appeal to God as he did in the case of the attack of the Ethiopians? But instead he sadly sought the help of those who were enemies of the Lord, the Syrians. It seems most strange that a king whose godliness and faith had been so commendable should sink so low as to take silver and gold from the house of the Lord by which to enlist the help of Syria against his brother Israelites (v.2).
Ben Hadad, king of Syria, moved only by his love for silver and gold, agreed to break a treaty he had with Israel and take sides with Judah (v-v.3-4). He attacked some of the cities of Israel including the storage cities of Naphtali. This had the effect that Asa had desired, and Asa would no doubt feet himself justified, as many do who consider that the end justifies the means (vv.5-6). Asa was able thus to attack Ramah and reduce it to nothing. He gained his object through friendship with the world! If instead of this he had sought the grace and guidance of the Lord in an effort to be relieved from the threatened opposition of the ten tribes, certainly God would have intervened in the best way possible. But we too, after we have found great blessing through depending on the Lord, may find ourselves in great danger of then depending on our own ability to gain our ends.
GOD'S MESSAGE TO ASA
Though Asa had gained his ends in hiring Syria to help him, God did not congratulate Asa! Rather, He sent Hanani the prophet to him to strongly reprove him for having relied on the king of Syria instead of on the Lord ¾ " Therefore, he tells him, "the army of the king of Syria has escaped from your hand" (v.7). He reminded Asa that the army of the Ethiopians and Lubims had been huge (far greater than that of Israel), with many chariots and horsemen: yet because Asa had then relied on the Lord, God gave him a decisive victory. " For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him" (v.9). Thus, Hanani sought to persuade Asa that God was deeply desirous of doing the very best for those who had their full confidence in Him. The prophet faithfully told the king he had done foolishly and because of this he would be troubled by wars from that time onwards. How badly does our lack of faith affect our normal life!
However, instead of seriously taking to heart the message as from God, Asa became angry with Hanani and put him in prison (v.10). Being a believer, why did he not recognise that Hanani did nor speak his own thoughts, but had been God's mouthpiece? Thus Asa in his later years spoiled a testimony that had been bright and commendable. In fact, when faith becomes weak, we shall show this in our treatment of others also, and Asa was guilty of oppressing some of the people.
ASA'S ILLNESS AND DEATH
The Lord gave Asa three years, following his bad treatment of the prophet, to consider and change his ways, before he allowed Asa to become diseased in his feet (v.12). It is sad that he did not turn back to the Lord in that time. But also, when his feet were so diseased, why did he not then at least seek the Lord's mercy? Rather, he sought to physicians. There is nothing wrong in going to a physician, but Asa sought not only a physician, but "physicians." More that that, if in going to a physician we pray for the Lord's intervention, this is good, but Asa did not seek the Lord at all, but only physicians. The Lord gave him two years following the attack of his ailment before He took him away in death, but that additional two years did not turn him back to the Lord. His diseased feet symbolised a bad walk, but Asa evidently did not discern this. Thus he died in the 41 st year of his reign. There was much in his reign that the people had cause to appreciate, and they laid him in a bed filled with spices and ointments, and made a very great burning for him. The people would not be as concerned about Asa's relationship with God as about his outward success in reigning.
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Grant, L. M. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 16". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29