“For the eyes of the Lord go to and fro throughout the whole earth to find someone whose heart is fully devoted to Him so that He can display his great power by helping them.”
Who wouldn’t want to be one on whom God’s gaze rests, who receives help from God, and who helps display God’s glory? This verse appears in 2 Chronicles and is about someone who might have received God’s help, but who foolishly chose a different way.
Is it possible we too have made choices that keep us from receiving his help? I’d like to explore the story of King Asa and how his choices point out some mistakes we might be making today regarding our financial lives.
Asa’s story begins: 2 Chronicles 14 and 15
… “Abijah’s son, Asa succeeded him as king of Judah, and in his days the country was at peace for ten years. Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God.”
Asa followed God, removed idols from the land, repaired the altar, and eagerly sought God.
But in the tenth year, ”Zerah the Cushite marched out against Asa with an army of thousands upon thousands and three hundred chariots. (The Cushite’s territory would be the land to the west of modern Israel, today including southern Ethiopia and Northern Sudan). Asa went out to meet Zerah the Cushite, and they took up battle positions in the Valley of Zephathah near Mareshah in Judah. Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, “Lord, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. Lord, you are our God; do not let mere mortals prevail against you.”
The Lord struck down the Cushites before Asa and Judah. Asa’s kingdom experienced tremendous blessing, peace, and prosperity because he followed the Lord. It says in 2 Chronicles chapter 15 verse 17 that “Asa’s heart was fully committed to the Lord…” and then in verse 19 “there was no more war until the thirty fifth year of Asa’s reign.”
We might be like Asa
Think back with me to when you were in your twenties, just starting out. Maybe you, like my wife and me, lived in a tiny apartment and ate a lot of potatoes or noodles. We couldn’t afford much—our apartment was about 700 square feet (about twice the area of a parking space), and on hot evenings we would sit on the roof of the building drinking a glass of wine or a whiskey sour. Maybe like us, you started a business with what little money you had or borrowed from family and friends to get going. You needed what Asa needed: to have faith that God would provide. Perhaps many times you prayed for him to meet your most basic needs like paying rent, buying food, or meeting payroll. Like Asa, you cried out for help, recognizing your own powerlessness, and God answered your prayers. Where Asa experienced no war for thirty-five years, perhaps you experienced years of peace, prosperity, and blessing.
Returning to Asa’s story, we read this: “In the thirty sixth year of Asa’s Reign, Basha the king of Israel went up against Judah, preventing anyone from leaving or entering the territory of King Asa.” Just like when the Cushites marched out against Asa 25 years earlier.
Asa’s Choice: 2 Chronicles 16
Next, chapter 16 verse 2 tells us that Asa took the silver and gold of his own palace and from the treasury of the Lord’s temple and used it to make a treaty with Ben-Hadad, the King of Aram, the country just to the north of Israel.) What is this about? He bought a treaty with another powerful king who would help protect Asa’s kingdom from the king of Israel’s attack.
As a result of the treaty with Ben-Hadad, King Basha abandons the attack and King Asa’s kingdom is saved. It appears that Asa has done a good thing, being independent and solving his own problems.
How many of us, when we have lived through a time of prosperity begin to think that we are in control? When problems arise, we think, “I can handle this.” When difficulties confront us, we evaluate our resources and make plans to resolve the matter, never even stopping to think that we should pray to God for deliverance, protection, healing, or resolution.
God’s perspective on Asa’s choice
(v.7) “At that time, Hanani, the seer came to Asa 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. Were not the Cushites a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horseman? Yet when you relied on the Lord, he delivered them into your hand.”
“FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD GO TO AND FRO THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH TO STRONGLY SUPPORT THOSE WHOSE HEARTS ARE FULLY COMMITTED TO HIM “You have done a FOOLISH thing and from now on you will be at war.” (emphasis added)
Asa’s self-dependence leads him and his people away from God’s help and into a season of war.
Becoming un-like Asa
What about us? Have we acted the same way Asa did and forfeited God’s help? I don’t think it is a coincidence that the same word, “Fool” is used to describe the rich farmer in Luke chapter 12 who has a windfall profit and uses it to build bigger barns, storing away enough for decades so that he can live a carefree life of leisure.
Have you ever thought, “I have worked hard. I have paid my dues. I have sacrificed for my job. I have saved up a nest egg. I am entitled to relax and enjoy life. I have enough to take care of myself. I am self-sufficient and financially independent.” Unspoken is the idea that I have done this, I can take care of myself, I will not take risks anymore—I do not even need to depend on God.
When Asa stopped fully devoting himself to God, he experienced decades of conflict.
Consider spending time thinking about these questions:
- Where might I have stopped trusting God, instead relying on my own strength and ideas?
- What, other than God himself, might I be devoting myself to?
- What influences how I look at windfall profits or financial gains God has blessed me with?
Chapter 15 of my book, The Steward Investor, has further thoughts on trusting God for financial provision.
If you would like to start a conversation about what it can look like to deploy your investment resources in pursuit of Kingdom outcomes, please click here to connect with a financial advisor.