A Word for Today | 2 Chronicles 16:9
One of the great statements made in 2nd Chronicles was delivered to Israel’s King Asa. Late in his life, Asa was faced by a threat from the northern kingdom of Israel, who’s wicked king Baasha had sought to blockade the way into Judah. God responded with a promise of His omniscient care for His troubled people: “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose hearts is blameless toward him” (2 Chron. 16:9). The Lord meant that the threat to His people had not arisen without His knowing, and that the Lord was both willing and able to give strength to believers in need. What a comfort this truth is to us in what has become a fairly long pandemic crisis. Wherever we are and whatever need we have, God’s eye has been watching the whole earth and He knows our every need.
Sadly, this inspiring verse was given to Asa as a rebuke. The verse that follows says: “You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars” (2 Chron. 16:10). What did Asa do foolishly? The answer is seen earlier in the chapter. For in response to the threat, Asa had taken silver and gold out of the temple and used it to purchase the help of the king of Syria. In other words, if Asa was playing the game “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” he was going to hire Syria to be “paper” to Baasha’s “rock.” And it worked! Not only did Baasha leave off his roadblock into Judah, but he left the building materials for Asa to use. So what was wrong, if Asa’s plan worked so well?
One answer is that Asa sinned by seeking salvation in a way that would not honor God. We are reminded why we should always pray about our troubles and needs, so that God can answer and receive the glory He deserves. Another problem with Asa’s plan was that it was worldly. He showed a lack of regard for God’s house by taking out the silver and gold, finding a way to help himself at God’s expense, and the expense of the gospel. Moreover, Asa’s “enemies” were also God’s people (the old Davidic kingdom having split into northern and southern halves). Even though his Israelite neighbor was sinning, Asa should not have overcome them in a way that would hurt God’s people.
What good counsel this episode provides us as Christians in a troubled time. Let us rely first and foremost on prayer, seeking for God to show His power and love in helping us through our trial. Let us not abandon or neglect the work of the church, which is the primary institution of Christ’s kingdom in this world. And let us be willing to sacrifice our own good for the well-being of others – especially fellow believers. Can we live in this way, learning from Asa’s bad example? We can, because God’s message is still true: “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth,” and as our hearts are committed to Him, God will give us “strong support” that will meet our every need.
In Christ’s Love,