Asa was an impressive king of Judah. He is introduced as one who “did that which was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God” (2 Chronicles 14:1). He trounced the Ethiopian hoards. He deposed the queen mother because she had made an idol. He brought revival to the land to such an extent that “they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul; that whosoever would not seek the Lord God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman” (2 Chronicles 15:12–13).
This is intense! Then, as they say, all good things must come to an end. Asa sends a bribe to Syria, trusting in the strength of men instead of God. When he is confronted by the man of God, Asa is angry and imprisons the messenger and goes on a rampage oppressing many others. In his sunset years, God still tries to get Asa’s attention by way of a disease in his feet. It’s almost as if God wants things the way they once were. Yet, Asa “in his disease sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians” (2 Chronicles 16:12). What changed?
George Muller is a well-known figure from the late 19th century because of his testimony of faith. There are many fabulous stories about his faith in God’s provision for the orphanages he ran. In a way, George Muller is the inversion of Asa. At the beginning of Muller’s life, he refused to seek the Lord, then everything changed. How did he remain so steadfast with the Lord? Here is a piece of his testimony:
“I was converted in November 1825, but I only came into the full surrender of the heart four years later, in July 1829. The love of money was gone, the love of place was gone, the love of position was gone, the love of worldly pleasures and engagements was gone. God, God alone became my portion. I found my all in Him; I wanted nothing else. And by the grace of God this has remained and has made me a happy man, an exceedingly happy man, and it led me to care only about the things of God. I ask affectionately, my beloved brethren, have you fully surrendered the heart to God, or is there this thing or that thing with which you are taken up irrespective of God?”
Muller’s challenge squarely hits us. It is often not a big thing which swiftly eliminates our reliance upon God. Asa wasn’t directly attacked. Israel was simply forming a blockade against Judah. It certainly was an economic disadvantage, but something the Lord could have corrected. Then Asa spun out of control piece by piece. The same is true for us. A little bit of this and a little bit of that and our surrender begins to erode as our lives turn away from God.
If only Asa consistently lived his pledge, “We rest on thee” (2 Chronicles 14:11).