Holding my hand out beside me, I ran my fingers across the night-chilled stones that made up a huge wall beside our path as my new friends and I walked the half-mile from our pastor’s modest apartment to our usual bus stop in the heart of Salzburg, Austria. The conversation was full, recapping the night’s Bible study and discussing our respective schedules until we all saw each other again.
Although our friendship was just budding, none of us could imagine life any other way in that moment. We were steeped in community with brothers and sisters in Christ and couldn’t help but see Him in everything - our relationships, our school, our new temporary home.
That night was one of thousands of times that year that I truly felt satisfied in Christ.
My faith since that beautiful year has rolled up and down like ocean waves. At times, I have lost my sense of wonder of my almighty God, forgetting what it’s like to be satisfied in Him.
It feels like I must learn the same lesson over and over again.
Trust God, not man. Trust God, not myself. Trust God, not the things of this world.
Trust Him. Trust Him. Trust Him.
7 At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him, “Because you relied on the king of Syria, and did not rely on the LORD your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped you.
8 Were not the Ethiopians and the Libyans a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on the LORD, he gave them into your hand.
9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars.”
2 Chronicles 16:7-9
It was the same message that Hanani gave to King Asa after he faced a difficult decision and foolishly turned away from God to find help in something else. What can we learn from Asa’s story of disobedience?
1) God had previously worked in Asa’s life.
Starting in 2 Chronicles 14, we see that Asa previously looked to God for provision. Asa had responded to God’s goodness by destroying idols, ruling the kingdom well, and glorifying God. When tough times came, Asa looked to God and He saved them (2 Chronicles 14:9-15).
In times of trouble and doubt, we should remember when God has moved in our lives.
2) Asa sinfully turned from God in a difficult season, and then things got worse.
Just as I do over and over again, Asa forgot God’s goodness and thought he knew better. However, in his own power, Asa made a mess of things.
It’s by God’s grace that He allows us to fail when we are not relying on Him.
3) God sent someone to call Asa back to Him.
Because Asa was a believer, he would have been surrounded by counsel who loved God as well. Hanani obeyed God’s call to love and support his brother in the faith by calling him out of his sin and into repentance.
God uses people, His Word, books, blogs, etc. to point us back to Him.
4) Asa rejected God’s call.
Asa’s story ends with his death- he was diseased, and his heart was hardened against God (2 Chronicles 16:10-14). He refused to pursue God, and instead trusted in human wisdom. Disobediently, he refused to trust God, even when it ultimately meant his demise.
We must identify our sin, lean not on our own understanding, and walk by faith instead of sight (Proverbs 3:5, 2 Corinthians 5:7). Without this repentance, our hearts will become hard against God and we will miss the gracious love He has for His people.
Are you doubting God’s goodness today? When trials and despair come, where do you turn? Do you reject the reminders that God has sent your way?
Repent, my dear friend. Repent for having a heart that wants to ignore God’s call. Christ died so that you may be forgiven in Him. Cling to His promises. Cling to His Word. Even in your pain, He says “I will not leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
See You In The Round,
“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."