2 Chronicles 16:7 (NIV) 7 At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him: “Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the LORD your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand.”
On verses 1-9: King Asa and his land of Judah are attacked by Baasha king of Israel. Baasha sets up a stronghold at Ramah near the border of Israel and Judah, preventing any more Israelites from flocking to Judah (see 2 Chronicles 15:9). Instead of placing his hope in God, Asa places his hope in King Ben-Hadad of Aram to save him. With silver and gold from the temple as well as from his own palace, Asa bribes King Ben-Hadad of Aram to break his treaty with Baasha and attack Baasha. King Ben-Hadad of Aram accepts the bribe and helps Asa to fend off Baasha. However, God sends the prophet Hanani to rebuke Asa, saying that “[b]ecause you relied on the king of Aram and not on the LORD your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand” (v7). In other words, God’s original intent was not for Asa to trust in shifty Aram, but to conquer Aram. But because Asa decided to partner with Aram, this opened the door for Aram later to turn around and do much damage to Judah over the next several decades (see 22:5-6; 24:23; 28:5). It also would result in Judah being at war for the rest of Asa’s reign as king. While rebuking Asa for unwisely trusting in Aram, Hanani the prophet speaks these powerful words, “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” (v9)
What can we learn from this?
Sometimes enemy attacks will come. When attacks come, put your hope in God, not in people or circumstances. As Psalm 20:7-8 says “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.” When we trust in ourselves instead of trusting in the Lord, this may bring short-term gain, but even more, long term pain. In contrast, trusting in God might bring short-term inconvenience or discomfort, but always results in peace and blessing for the long term.
Avoid partnering with someone who has no problems breaking their commitments to others. For if they are willing to betray others so that they can be with you, don’t be surprised if one day they betray you so that they can be with someone else.
2 Chronicles 16:10 (NIV) 10 Asa was angry with the seer because of this; he was so enraged that he put him in prison. At the same time Asa brutally oppressed some of the people.
On verse 10: Asa pridefully rejects God’s Word and places the prophet Hanani in prison. At the same time, Asa is also found brutally oppressing some of the people in his land. What can we learn from this? When your relationship with God is not healthy, your relationships with people will not be healthy either. When you are not in a good place with God, your relationships with other people suffer too. There is a direct correlation between the health of your relationship with God and the health of your relationships with people.
2 Chronicles 16:12 (NIV) 12 In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was afflicted with a disease in his feet. Though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did not seek help from theLORD, but only from the physicians.
On verses 11-14: Here we see Asa in his final years battling a disease. But instead of seeking God for help and placing his hope in Him like he did as a young king, Asa seeks help only from physicians, who could not help him. Asa dies and is buried.
What can we learn from this? Age does not guarantee wisdom. As Asa grew older, Asa seemingly lost his hunger for God. He became less God-centered and more human-centered. This caused Asa to make foolish decisions, trusting in people who ultimately did not help him. As you get older and more experienced, never lose your dependence on God. Stay humble, hungry and desperate for God, for apart from Him we can do nothing.
Heavenly Father, no matter how old or experienced I get, may I always stay humble, hungry and desperate for You, knowing that apart from You I can do nothing. Thank You that Your eyes range throughout the earth to strengthen those who hearts are fully committed to You. Please strengthen me today. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!