Sometimes it is hard to read the stories in the Old Testament because things can go right for so long, and then there is an epic failure of faith that seems to come out of nowhere and everything starts to fall apart. Judah’s King Asa is one of these figures who has such a failure in faith. Asa had done tremendous things–reviving worship of the Lord, strengthening the Temple, defeating a huge enemy that attacked Judah–but when the Northern Kingdom attacks Judah Asa makes a treaty with the Kingdom of Aram. The ploy was logical in that the Northern Kingdom withdrew from Judah, but here is what the Lord sends a prophet to say about the matter:
At that time Hanani the seer came to Judah’s King Asa and said to him, “Because you relied on Aram’s king and not on the Lord your God, the army of Aram’s king has slipped out of your grasp. Weren’t the Cushites and the Libyans a vast army with chariots and horsemen to spare? Still, when you relied on the Lord, he delivered them into your power, because the Lord’s eyes scan the whole world to strengthen those who are committed to him with all their hearts. Your foolishness means that you will have war on your hands from now on.” Asa was angry with the seer. Asa was so mad he threw Hanani in jail and took his anger out on some of the people.
This logical course of action was an epic fail when it comes to faith in the Lord to provide the victory. What makes matters even worse in Asa’s situation is that he had already depended upon the Lord to deliver Judah from an oppressor that was much, much larger than what the Northern Kingdom was.
The real tragedy, though, is in Asa’s response to this rebuke. Everyone makes mistakes and everyone sins. David was no exception, but when confronted with his sin David always humbled himself and repented. Asa, when confronted with his sin, gets irate and imprisons the prophet and attacks those who support the prophet.
Evidently Asa was the kind of person who had no problem worshiping and following the Lord, even promoting the Lord, when things were going his way and he thought he was being blessed by God for who he was and what he was doing. Once Asa was confronted with sin and told that he needed to repent, he no longer had any use for the Lord. This kind of pride is dangerous, not only for the one who has it, but for the community around that person.
Is there an area in your own life that has been called to repentance and, rather than humble yourself, you have gotten angry? Consider the example of Asa and ask the Lord for grace and help.