This Day In History: 0000-09-28

September 28 – 2 Chronicles 16:9

The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.

This verse comes from the story of King Asa of Judah. When Asa first took the throne He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. He got rid of the idols in the land and, “he commanded the people of Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and to obey His law and His commands.” (14:4)

The land of Judah enjoyed peace for the first 10 years of Asa’s reign and they were able to build up and fortify their cities.  Then an army from Ethiopia came to fight against them. This army was twice the size of Judah’s army, but King Asa knew that with God on their side, it didn’t matter.  Asa prayed to God, “Oh Lord, no one but You can help the powerless against the mighty! Help us, oh Lord our God, for we trust in You alone. It is in Your name that we have come against this vast horde. Oh Lord, You are our God; do not let mere men prevail against You!”(14:11)

God defeated the Ethiopian army and He made Asa and the army of Judah successful in everything they did.

Asa and the people of Judah came together in a big celebration and sacrificed to the Lord and dedicated themselves to Him.  They went throughout the land and removed all the idols and repaired the altar of the Lord in the temple.  Then they destroyed everyone in the land who did not worship God.  The Bible says of the whole nation of Judah, “They earnestly sought after God, and they found Him. And the Lord gave them rest from their enemies on every side.” (15:15)

Then, in the thirty-sixth year of Asa’s reign something changed.  Judah had enjoyed peace for a long time, but suddenly King Baasha of Israel (this was during the time when Israel was divided into two kingdoms – Judah and Israel) decided to invade Judah.  The Bible doesn’t tell us why, but instead of crying out to God as King Asa had done in the past, he took the valuable items out of the temple and used them to pay another army to help him defeat the army of Israel.

The Lord was not pleased and sent a messenger to reprimand King Asa.  This messenger asked the King, “Don’t you remember what happened to the Ethiopians… at that time you relied on the Lord…”  He told the King that God searches the whole earth looking for those whose hearts are fully committed to Him so that He can strengthen them.

From that time on King Asa’s heart remained hard and he ended up in constant conflict for the rest of his reign until eventually he died from a foot disease that God could have healed for him if He had only asked. What a sad ending to such a promising young king!

What about us, my friends?  What can we learn from King Asa of Judah?  Can we more closely relate to his early life, or to the stubborn, cowardly way he ended his life?

This verse tells us that the Lord searches the whole earth looking for those whose hearts are fully committed to Him. Why? So He can strengthen them! Let’s be fully committed to our wonderful Lord.  Let’s live each day knowing that He is watching, looking all over the earth to find us and strengthen us.