2 Chron. 16:1-13
Blake Dodd, pastor
Young’s Grove Baptist Church, Cedartown
From time to time, you’ll be reading through your Old Testament and encounter passages that seem to begin with Abraham and recount the entire history of Israel. The calling of Abraham, wrestling with God, surviving in Egypt, wandering in the wilderness, or entering the promised land. You might ask yourself, “why is this being recorded again when we already know it?”
The people of Israel, like the New Testament believer, needed to be reminded again and again of all that God had done for them.
One of my favorite songs we sing in Sunday worship says “we will remember the works of your hands. We will stop and give you praise for great is your faithfulness.” How true! We go through periods of spiritual memory lapse. We forget how faithful God is and how faithful He has been. We even forget that He has promised us He will be faithful to the very end.
2 Chronicles 16 is a sad chapter that shows just what can happen when God’s children forget God’s faithfulness. King Asa of Judah had lived his entire life seeing God work in impossible circumstances. Yet, when he became overwhelmed by what he saw, he could not resist the temptation to fight in his own strength. He serves as a warning to us: remember God’s faithfulness.
They are three things that can cloud our judgment and cause us to forget this truth.
Clouded by human wisdom
2 Chron. 16:1-6
In the first six verses of this passage, we see Asa thinking through things in a manner that focuses solely on human reason. His line of thought is not off, humanly speaking. He is fighting an enemy and Asa reasons that if he has more manpower than the enemy, he stands a better chance of winning. That’s not totally unreasonable until you realize that the whole purpose of Israel’s calling was to be a display of the glory of God. How many times have I been clouded by the desire to have human victory and it cost me my purpose?
In order to win, Asa seeks out the help of a worldly king, Ben Hadad of Syria. They join forces to fight against Baasha, the king of Israel. Imagine that. Once these two were united but now they desire to kill one another. Human wisdom can take you far from God’s plans. King Asa convinces Ben Hadad of Syria to break his treaty with Baasha of Israel. Asa wins, but at what cost? Is victory worth your testimony? Is it worth the absence of God’s glory? Human wisdom always leads astray.
Clouded by human weakness
2 Chron. 16:7-9
Not only was Asa clouded by human wisdom, but he also failed to understand his weaknesses. There is something in all humans that calls us to rely on our strength and will to win. The same was true of Asa. He had seen God do miraculous things time and time again for His people, but when the rubber met the road Asa could not believe God.
Unbelief is perhaps the greatest destroyer of Christian lives. James reminds us that if a man lacks wisdom then he should ask God to give it to him, but no one should ask in doubt. I believe that principle is true for all of our prayers. We must pray and ask God, but we also must believe that He can.
We base this belief on his millennia of faithfulness. God’s track record is spotless. His people have never been without His blessing. He has always been faithful. He has shown time and time again that He is able when no one else can. He is the God who snatches victory from the jaws of defeat. He leads through the wilderness and feeds during famine. He destroys enemies by the thousands.
Yet, Asa forgets all of this at the most important time. I read this story and ask aloud, “Asa! How could you forget?” Then, conviction comes. How many times have I myself forgotten the good hand of God upon my life?
Clouded by human wickedness
2 Chron. 16:10-13
In verses 10-13, the wickedness of Asa’s heart began to materialize. First, he became angry. What made him angry, you ask? The truth. Asa was so angry that the prophet had told him the truth that he put this man in jail. It wasn’t long before this that Asa heeded the warning of Azariah, was it? Yet, he forgot that God’s messenger must always be heard. Asa’s mind had become so clouded and his heart so wicked that he again made the same mistake over.
He was ill, physically. He was severely diseased. I scream, “Cry out to God, Asa! Ask him to heal you,” as I read. Asa sought the advice and expertise of his trusted doctors but never his faithful God. Asa died a diseased man. If only he could have remembered how faithful God had been, perhaps then in his darkest moment he would’ve cried out for help. If Azariah’s words were true, God would have heard his cry.
Live it out
Have you forgotten God’s faithfulness in your own life? Remember now the works of his hands. Look at your own life and remind yourself of how God has worked, and if you find yourself in a desperate situation then cry out to Him today. He is the God who hears.