Depending on God (2 Chronicles 16:7, 12)

2 Chronicles 16:7 – At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him, “Because you relied on the king of Syria, and did not rely on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped you.”

2 Chronicles 16:12 – In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was diseased in his feet, and his disease became severe. Yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but sought help from physicians.

Asa’s story is a sad story of a man who started well, but who finished poorly. In the early days of his life, Asa sought God. He relied on God for his needs to be met. Yet, in his latter days, Asa forgot the faithfulness of God, and he relied on his own strength, cleverness, and resourcefulness. It turned out that Asa was relying on the wrong things at the end, and the Lord was not pleased with him.

There is something greatly worth learning from Asa’s life. Asa relied on outside help instead of God when his army was in trouble. He relied on doctors instead of God when he got sick. I do not think that God is saying in these passages that we should never let others help us out or go to doctors. However, when we rely on others’ help or when we rely on doctors’ abilities to the exclusion of seeking the help of God, we dishonor God greatly. We need to seek God’s favor, his healing, his help first and foremost. We can seek God’s favor as we go to the doctor when we are sick, but we dare not forget to seek God’s help and rely solely on the advances of modern medicine.

In reality, we have lessons to learn from Asa for every part of life. Where do you rely on your own strength or the strength of others? Where is your trust? Are you thinking that you are safe and secure because your country has a strong military? Are you feeling like you will succeed because you are bright and energetic? Are you thinking you will remain healthy because you have a good doctor and a fine hospital? Do you think your church will grow because the pastor is gregarious and his sermons are riveting? If any of those things are your hope, without relying on God, you are dishonoring God just like Asa did. Repent, and recognize first and foremost that the Lord is the one in whom we trust. It is God who meets our needs. Only he is enough to care for us, and we must not think, even for a moment, that we can accomplish, even the simplest task, apart from him. Remember John 15:5: if we remain in Jesus, we will bear much fruit; but apart from Jesus, we can do nothing.

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