"...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."
2 Chronicles 16:9
King Asa of Judah was a good king. From the beginning of his reign he listened to God’s prophets and set his heart to seek the Lord. He turned the hearts of His people to God, leading them from the front by personal example.
As a result, God blessed Judah with great victory. An enormous army of more than a million soldiers came up from Ethiopia to attack and when Asa and His people called out to God and trusted in him, against all odds they routed the Ethiopian army. After that no one dared to attack Judah for a long time. The nation enjoyed decades of peace by God’s blessing.
But as Asa grew older, he began to think more in terms of “peace at any price.” It was so comfortable not to have to fight that he got his eyes off of God and saw only the blessing that God had given, the blessing of peace. He had gotten so accustomed to that blessing and enjoyed it so much that he forgot that it was from God.
In the thirty-fifth year of Asa’s reign the king of Israel attacked and blockaded Judah in an attempt to weaken Asa economically into submission. (Nowadays we use “economic sanctions“ and boycotts. Back then they would build castles and physically keep people from doing business with their enemy.)
Instead of turning to God for help, Asa turned to the king of Syria, who hated Judah, and declared himself a vassal of this enemy king so that Syria would attack Israel and get Israel off his back. It worked - sort of. Israel withdrew, but now Judah was a vassal nation to Syria.
God sent a prophet to remind Asa, in the words above, that God actively looks for opportunities to show His power on our behalf if we will just trust Him. But we have to trust in Him.
It’s a sad story to read, but Asa was no longer listening. He put that prophet in prison and treated him cruelly. He forgot Who had put him in power and blessed him, and at the end of his reign he became a cruel oppressor.
Dear Christian, keep your eyes on Jesus. Don’t let your focus slip to set your heart on the blessings He has given you instead of on Him. He will never let you down; His promises are good even when you don’t know how He could possibly keep them.
The blessing of a successful business, a peaceful and stable government, a retirement account and good health are all from Him. Remember, when the rug under your feet starts to shift, to keep your eyes on the Source of blessing and keep your heart set on Him. He is looking for opportunities to show Himself strong on your behalf.
Lord Jesus, thank You for all the blessings You have poured out on my life. Help me keep my eyes on You as I enjoy them. You are my provider, my shield and defender. I will trust You with tomorrow. Keep my heart today. Amen!
Pastor Dan Giles