Asa - Ask First, Act Later
In our walk with God we always need to look to Him for guidance and help. Even when things seem to be going well and you have everything all figured out, rely on God for direction. Seek God first, in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God (Phil. 4:6). It is more common for us to seek God in times of trouble than when all is well. However, we need to be always mindful of Him, praising Him and giving Him the glory and looking toward Him for guidance and inspiration.
Let us take some time and set this time period here in I Kings 15 and II Chronicles 16. After Rehoboam's reign Abijam (Abijah) reigns a little over two years and then Asa king of Judah reigns in the 20th year of Jeroboam king if Israel. Jeroboam only lasts about two years after that and Nadab begins to reign but for only two years. Baasha shows up in the third year of Asa (I Kings 15:25-27). Here is a timeline that may help you visualize it:
Rehoboam 17 years_|Asa 40 years_______________________x____|
Israel (yr 36)
Jeroboam 22 years____|*|Baasha 24 years________|
*Nadab 2 years
Now II Chronicles 16:1 throws us a curve:
II Chronicles 16
:1 In the six and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa
Baasha king of Israel came up against Judah,
and built Ramah,
to the intent that he might let none go out or come in to Asa king of Judah.
If Baasha begins his reign in the third year of Asa and only lasts for 24 years Baasha is gone by the 27th year of Asa. That puts this event 9 years after Baasha's death. This is when the tools around us become critical. There has been much study on the Word of God by E.W. Bullinger and Dr. V.P. Wierwille to name a few and the information they have written is priceless. Bullinger states that the word 'reign' in verse 1 is the Hebrew word malkuwth which means kingdom and not mahlach which is reign. Asa reigns over the kingdom of Judah which has been in existence 36 years at this time. Since Asa began his reign in the 20th year of the kingdom of Judah. Consequently this event occurred 16 years into the reign of Asa and 13 years into the reign of Baasha in the 36th year of the Kingdom of Judah.
OK, back to Baasha building Ramah to keep the people of Israel from leaving to go worship the one true God.
I Kings 15
:18 Then Asa took all the silver and the gold
that were left in the treasures of the house of the LORD,
and the treasures of the king's house,
and delivered them into the hand of his servants:
and king Asa sent them to Benhadad,
the son of Tabrimon,
the son of Hezion,
king of Syria,
that dwelt at Damascus, saying,
:19 There is a league between me and thee,
and between my father and thy father:
behold, I have sent unto thee a present of silver and gold;
come and break thy league with Baasha king of Israel,
that he may depart from me.
:20 So Benhadad hearkened unto king Asa,
and sent the captains of the hosts
which he had against the cities of Israel,
and smote Ijon,
and all Cinneroth,
with all the land of Naphtali.
:21 And it came to pass,
when Baasha heard thereof,
that he left off building of Ramah,
and dwelt in Tirzah.
:22 Then king Asa made a proclamation throughout all Judah;
none was exempted:
and they took away the stones of Ramah,
and the timber thereof,
wherewith Baasha had builded;
and king Asa built with them Geba of Benjamin,
Asa takes all of the gold and silver from the temple and sends it to Benhadad king of Syria to make a league and have Syria attack Israel. The reason: so that Baasha would stop building Ramah that kept people from entering Judah and to strengthen Israel against Judah. It worked!! Baasha stopped building and the people of Judah had free materials to build two cities of their own: Geba and Mizpah. Things look great!! That really looks like a profitable campaign!!
Now let us look at it from God's point of view. In II Chronicles 16:1-6 the record recounts the league with Benhadad and Syria's attack on Israel as well as Baasha's decision to stop building Ramah and the carrying away of the stones and timber.
II Chronicles 16
:7 And at that time
Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said unto him,
Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria,
and not relied on the LORD thy God,
therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand.
:8 Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host,
with very many chariots and horsemen?
yet, because thou didst rely on the LORD ,
he delivered them into thine hand .
:9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth,
to shew himself strong
in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.
Herein thou hast done foolishly:
therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.
:10 Then Asa was wroth with the seer,
and put him in a prison house;
for he was in a rage with him because of this thing.
And Asa oppressed some of the people the same time.
:11 And, behold, the acts of Asa, first and last,
lo, they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel.
:12 And Asa
in the thirty and ninth year of his reign [23 years after his league with Benhadad]
was diseased in his feet,
until his disease was exceeding great :
yet in his disease he sought not to the LORD,
but to the physicians.
:13 And Asa slept with his fathers,
and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign.
:14 And they buried him in his own sepulchres,
which he had made for himself in the city of David,
and laid him in the bed which was filled with sweet odours
and divers kinds of spices
prepared by the apothecaries' art:
and they made a very great burning for him.
Asa acted without asking God what he should do. Why he didn't seek God first before devising this plan to have the king of Syria attack Israel--God's chosen people--the Word of God doesn't tell us. He should have gone to God and asked Him what to do about Baasha King of Israel building Ramah. God would have given him the solution. It is possible that because he had rest from his enemies except for Ethiopia's attack he became self-confident and didn't feel he needed to go to God. This is a very noteworthy principle to recognize. Seek God always--ask first then act.
:14 For this cause I bow my knees
unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
:15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
:16 That he would grant you,
according to the riches of his glory, [a very high standard]
to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; [because you believe]
that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, [the love of God]
:18 May be able to comprehend with all saints
what is the breadth,
and height; [this must be available]
:19 And to know the love of Christ,
which passeth knowledge,
that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. [this must be available]
:20 Now unto him
that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think,
[exceeding abundantly above, not just more than we ask or think]
according to the power that worketh in us,
:21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus
throughout all ages,
world without end.
When we are in need and ask He will go beyond what our little two bit brains can figure out. God's deliverance in our lives is not what we devise, it is God's solution. When we pray it is not up to us to pray for a certain kind of result but simply ask God for help.
By the way, when God said, "exceeding abundantly above," those are the Greek words huper ek perissos huper literally translated, "above out from beyond (measure) above." Definitely exceeding abundantly above.
Let us remember to praise God, give Him the glory and don't refrain from asking.
:5 If any of you lack wisdom,
let him ask of God,
that giveth to all men liberally,
and upbraideth not;
and it shall be given him.
:6 But let him ask in faith, [en pistis - a fixed position in belief]
nothing wavering. [doubting, opposite of asking in faith]
For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea
driven with the wind and tossed.
God exhorts us to ask for wisdom being firmly convinced that He will give it to us without a shadow of a doubt.
Praise Him Thank Him and Ask Him