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May 15 Today’s Reading: 2 Chronicles 16-19
“Asa was wroth with the seer.”
2 Chronicles 16:10
What a sad end we have read today of a man whose life had been so remarkably blessed, of a man who had done so much good for the people of God, the truth of God, and the worship of God! — “Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God” (2 Chronicles 14:2). Asa’s alliance with the heathen king of Syria, Benhadad, shockingly displays the proneness of our fallen, corrupt nature to that which is evil. Except the Lord God keep you and me from the evil that is in us by nature, there is no evil to which we will not run. Keep me, my God, from the evil that is in me, for Christ’s sake!
The words of Hanani the prophet to Asa, if sealed to our hearts by the Spirit of God, will be words of comfort and encouragement to our souls in the face of every trial and adversity. — “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” How foolish of Asa to forget this great fact! How foolish of us when we forget it! — Our God not only predestined all things and knows all things, his eyes run through the earth, not to get information for himself, but to convince us that he who is our God is ever by our side! He is always near at hand to deliver his saints out of all their troubles and temptations.
Asa was enraged by the reproof of God’s prophet and cast the man who was faithful to his soul, the man who faithfully declared to him the word of God into prison as a traitor. Asa “was in a rage with” Hanani, because Hanani delivered God’s message to him.
Rejecting God’s message and his messenger, Asa hardened himself in obstinate rebellion. He oppressed the people to whom he had been such a good ruler. At last, he died, “diseased in his feet.” Even in the end, though in what must have been excruciating pain, “he sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians.”
The king had imprisoned God’s prophet; and now the Lord God made his palace his prison. The prophet’s prison was converted to a palace, for the Lord was with him. Asa’s palace was turned into a dungeon, for he had not the light of God’s countenance. He sought aid from the physician, forgetting that it is the Lord who kills and who makes alive, who brings down to the grave and brings up. Physicians are of no value except the Lord uses them to heal. Asa’s funeral was conducted with great pomp. What that dying man might have given in his dying hour for one whisper of grace from the Lord with whom he once walked in sweet communion! All the shouts of men over his unconscious dust could not undo the evil he had performed in his end, or cause any to recall the much greater good he had done for so many years before.
Our Faithful God
We should take these things to heart and beg of God the unfailing supply of his grace that we may be found useful to the end of our days. But Asa’s failures and unfaithfulness in his end remind me of something better. — “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful!” Like a stubborn child being corrected by his loving father, Asa was put to bed in the dark, yet still a child beloved of his Father. His righteousness before God was not a righteousness he could mar. It was the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.
O my ever-faithful God, make me faithful to you to the end of my days, for Christ’s sake! I am a man like Asa, both flesh and spirit. Who can or will deliver me from this body of death? None, O Christ, but you! None but you, my blessed Savior!