As faith leaders, we do people a great disservice if we tell them that everything that happens is God's fault. It is easier to blame every problem on God, but people need to know that their choices are what often create positive and negative situations. God is faithful and will help you get out of messes when you turn to Him and do things His way, but it is much better to avoid the mess in the first place by doing things His way, to begin with. For example, when the armies of Ammon Moab and Mount Seir came against Judah in 2 Chronicles 20, God gave King Jehoshaphat instructions on how to win. The praisers went forth singing, “The Lord is good and His mercy endureth forever.” The three armies attacked one another, and Judah reaped all the spoil. God delivered and protected His people, but they didn’t have to be in such a tight spot. King Asa, Jehoshaphat’s father, opened the door to the enemy by forming an alliance with an ungodly nation.
North versus South
After Solomons' reign, the nation of Israel split into a northern and southern kingdom. King Asa and later his son, Jehoshaphat, reigned over the southern kingdom called Judah. When Asa was king of Judah, a man name Baasha was king of Israel. King Baasha wanted to starve Judah and make them capitulate to unite with the north, so he built a blockade around the southern kingdom. You can read the account of his siege in 2 Chronicles 16:1.
King Asa of Judah (the southern kingdom) didn’t turn to God for help. Instead, he took silver and gold out of the Lord’s temple to make a deal with the king of Syria, Benhadad. 2 Chronicles 16:2-3 describes the situation. It reads Then Asa brought out silver and gold out of the treasures of the house of the Lord and of the king's house, and sent to Benhadad king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying, There is a league between me and thee, as there was between my father and thy father: behold, I have sent thee silver and gold; go, break thy league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me.
Just Because it Works Doesn’t Mean It’s Good
King Asa convinced the king of Syria to break his agreement with the northern kingdom. Benhadad’s army attacked several cities in the northern kingdom, forcing King Baasha to withdraw the blockade around Judah. King Asa's plan worked! Judah was no longer held captive by Israel's (the northern kingdom) barricade. Asa's men used the wood and stones that had blocked them in to build other towns. King Asa's plan to strip gold and silver out of the Lord’s temple and bribe the king of Syria to act as his protector worked. However, just because his plan worked doesn’t mean it was a good one.
The prophet Hanani brought the following warning to King Asa. Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the Lord thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand. Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen? yet, because thou didst rely on the Lord, he delivered them into thine hand. For 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. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars. (2 Chronicles 16:7-9)
In other words, God had protected Judah before, and He would have handled the blockade for them had King Asa sought God instead of the king of Syria. The prophet warned king Asa that since he had partnered with the king of Syria, Syria would be a problem for them in the future, and their nation would face many wars.
Lessons for us Today
King Asa chose an expedient solution to his problem. However, he did not consult God about the issue. Proverbs 3:5-6 should be paramount in the minds of every godly leader. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Trust in the Lord, not in someone who is ready to make a deal with you. That person or nation may be willing to help you today, but they may be easily bought off by your enemy, eager to turn against you. The prophet reminded Asa that God always takes care of His people when they trust in Him.
Faith leaders – always inquire of the Lord before making decisions and make no deals – don't partner with – and make no league with the ungodly.