By Mike Kemper
Interim Pastor, First Baptist Church, Dyer
Focal Passage: II Chronicles 14:9-15
How thankful we are for the many encouraging examples of the power and greatness of the Almighty God we know and serve! Such encouraging verses give vivid examples, and our own experiences with God continue to resound over and over as living testimonies to the power and greatness of God.
As you read and meditate on this lesson, pray that your own dependence on the Lord will be strengthened. The God of King Asa is also our God.
We previously studied about King Asa bringing needed reforms, removing things that dishonored the Lord God, resulting in 10 years of peace in the land. Asa wisely used those times of peace to strengthen themselves. There is wisdom in using time wisely.
Even though victories and peace has come, there will be new and sometimes greater challenges still coming our way. The best time to prepare for coming challenges is not later, but during the midst of victories and times of peace.
The enemies of Judah were many. Here, Zera the Ethiopian, and their hired mercenaries, the Cushites, are preparing to come against Judah. Talk about a challenge — one million soldiers with 300 chariots. Asa had amassed an army less than half the size of this enemy. Asa planned to engage this enemy in the “valley of Zephathan at Mareshah,” Judean hillsides.
King Asa again demonstrates doing the right thing. He “cried out to the Lord his God.” This was not the first time King Asa had prayed to the Lord, but this time was one of the most crucial times for him and for Judah. The Webster definition of “cry out” is to “make a loud sound because of pain, fear, or surprise.”
Asa acknowledged the awesome greatness of God, “Lord, there is no one like you to help either the mighty or those without strength. Help us Lord God, for we depend on you … you are our God.” Asa, in his cry, declares that it is no more difficult for God to help those with power or those without power. Nothing is impossible for God. King Asa was trusting God to do the impossible.
Though the details are not given, the Lord struck down the Cushite onslaught. The Cushite army was totally “broken” before the Lord. Asa and his people had cried out to God for help in the time of certain defeat, they believed God could help, and as He did, they pursued the enemy in the strength and power of the Lord.
We can trust God to guide, empower and give us what we need to face enemies and challenges. God gave Judah victory, but they had to trust the Lord and fight. Asa declared his trust in God, he cried out to God, then he went out to face the enemy, and an overwhelming enemy was defeated.While trusting God is essential to defeating enemies, often we declare our dependence upon God, but we fail to put our faith to work by going forward to face our challenges in the spirit and strength of the Lord.
We may feel that we have no strength in the face of challenges or enemies. We would be wise to remember the Lord. He is our God, and He is for us, believe and obey God, and act upon the truth of His Word. “If God is for us, who (or what), can stand against us?” God is greater than any challenge we will face.