King Asa of Judah – An Example of Someone Not Seeking God
By James Bruyn
Is seeking God important? James Bruyn uses the example of the Old Testament King Asa of Judah, who failed to seek God, and paid the consequences for his actions.
James Bruyn is a bi-vocational visionary leader, writer and speaker who enjoys helping individuals integrate their faith in God with their daily life. James leads a ministry to Christians in the marketplace in Calgary, provides leadership coaching, and consults for the rail industry. James produces Marketplace Ministry for our Christian internet radio station, HopeStreamRadio. Contact us if you would like to learn more about how God changes lives.
God Watches Over You
We live in a society of constant surveillance. Cameras are everywhere, recording everything people do.
Are the eyes of the Lord watching you, in the same sense that modern surveillance is watching you?
God’s eyes aren’t watching over you, so that God can advertise to you the latest gadget or gizmo. God doesn’t need to do that, for God knows exactly what will interest you because he is the one who uniquely created you. God’s eyes aren’t watching over you like a cosmic kill joy so he can punish you the moment you step out of line, or disobey a rule.
God watches over you, because he loves you. God watches over you with a heart of tender compassion so that he can strengthen you when you are tempted. God watches over you longing for you to know and experience his great love.
This morning, as you got out of bed, the eyes of the Lord were watching over you. As you are going about your work today, the eyes of the Lord are watching over you.
It had been 20 years since King Asa and his army returned triumphantly to Jerusalem after defeating the Cushites. The shouts of victory, the bleating of the goats and sheep that they brought back with them were all but a fading memory. The family reunions as the soldiers returned to their families were bedtime stories that grandparents shared with their grandchildren.
It had been twenty years since King Asa and the priests had led the people in a joyous celebration, praising the Lord for giving them the victory. Twenty years had passed since they had sacrificed not 7, not 70 but 700 cattle and 7,000 sheep and goats. Twenty years had gone by since King Asa and the people of Judah entered into a covenant to earnestly seek God with all their heart and soul. Twenty years since they sought God and found that God indeed was near. Twenty years since the last idols had been removed from the land. But that day was now a distant memory.
After their triumphal return from battle, the prophet Azaraih proclaimed these words – “The Lord will stay with you as long as you stay with him! Whenever you seek him, you will find him. But if you abandon him, he will abandon you”. (2 Chronicles 15:2) This promise hung on the doors of the palace. For a while King Asa read these words daily but as time passed he became complacent and most days he walked right past as he went to the throne room.
For the past twenty years, they had lived in peace. Year after year they experienced bountiful crops, and their livestock multiplied. With God’s hand of blessing upon them they had become wealthy. Life was good.
A Messenger for King Asa
Then one day as King Asa was sitting in his throne room visiting with the King of Damascus, a messenger came running in breathlessly. It had been many years, since a messenger ran breathlessly into the throne room, but nobody remembered that day anymore. King Asa, ordered wine to be brought for the messenger. “Young man”, he said “sit for a moment and catch your breath, it really can’t be that bad. We have money, we have friends, we can deal with anything.” After catching his breath, the messenger blurted out “Ramah has been invaded, and nobody can enter or leave Judah!” There was silence in the throne room, as all eyes turned to King Asa.
King Asa didn’t look worried. His friend King looked over at him and said “my army would be glad to take care of this for you.”
“Excellent”, said King Asa. Using the wealth God had blessed them with over the previous twenty years, Asa paid the King of Damascus to fight this battle.
King Asa didn’t seek God, why should he have? After all God had blessed him with the friendships of foreign Kings. God had blessed him with more wealth than he ever dreamed of. Why would he seek God when life was going well? Why did he need God when he had the means to the deal with the problem?
The answer to why King Asa should have sought God was simple. The answer was hanging on the door to the palace that King Asa walked past every day. The answer as to why King Asa should have sought God was God’s promise that: “The Lord will stay with you as long as you stay with him! Whenever you seek him, you will find him. But if you abandon him, he will abandon you”. (2 Chronicles 15:2)
When you seek God, you are trusting in the God who created this world. When you seek God you are seeking the one who has given you the intelligence and abilities to earn and enjoy all the blessings you have. When you don’t seek God, you are saying that you, with your intelligence and your hard work have enabled the blessed life that you are now enjoying, and that you don’t need God or his help.
When you seek God, you are acknowledging that God has laid out every moment of your life before you were born. You are acknowledging that God’s workmanship is marvelous. When you don’t seek God, you say that the God who created you is not able to deliver you. When you seek God you allow God to do things beyond what you can imagine. When you don’t seek God, you say that you know more than God knows. When you seek God, you will find Him. When you don’t seek God, God will abandon you.
The Reality of Not Trusting God
The reality of not trusting in God came ringing back into King Asa’s ears. The consequences of not seeking God were boldly proclaimed in the same throne room where King Asa relied on his own abilities and wealth to fight his battles. Several months later, when the war was over, the words ‘YOU FOOL’ could be heard loudly ringing throughout the palace. This was followed by absolute silence. You could have heard a pin drop. Who dared to call the King “a fool”?
Before the king stood a prophet reminding King Asa of how the Lord had conquered the Cushite army twenty years ago. There was silence as the prophet told Asa what the outcome could have been had he chosen to seek God first and actively trust in the Lord. There was silence as the prophet reminded Asa that the “eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chron 16:9)
With these words, God graciously gave King Asa a chance to repent, to seek the Lord. But no, Asa would not listen to the prophet. No, Asa would not listen to God. Mouths dropped open in horror, as King Asa ordered his soldiers to throw the prophet into prison.
In everything that happens to day, seek the Lord. In every interaction with the people around you seek the Lord. When you are tempted today to rely on your own resources and abilities, remember that God is watching over you, ready to do exceedingly more than you can imagine or ask or do on your own strength.
The “eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him”
If your faith starts to fail today, remember that God is watching over you so that he can strengthen you. God knows your weaknesses, God knows where you may stumble and fall. God knows that you live in a fallen world.
Wait in hope for the Lord. Call on Him! He is your help and shield. In your heart rejoice, as you trust in his holy name. For the eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. May the Lord’s unfailing love be with you as you put your hope in God. (Psalm 33 20-21; 2 Chron 16:9; Psalm 33:22)
James is passionate about connecting the rich promises of our loving Heavenly Father that we find in the Bible, with the joys and challenges of living out our faith in the workplace. James writes a weekly devotional at marketplace-ministry.ca/blog
Images Courtesy Of:
Reading the Bible – reenablack
Surveilllance Camera – ollis_picture
King Asa – Public Domain
Walk in Forest – TanteTati
Man – Unsplash
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