"The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him." (2 Chron. 16:9, KJV)
"For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him." (2 Chron. 16:9, NIV)
Asa, king of Judah, had been a reformer. According to 2 Chronicles 14, he was actively engaged in removing idolatrous practices from Judah with a call to his people to “seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, and to obey his laws and commands” (14:4).
Asa’s army was victorious over the Cushites, and his prayer before the battle explains why in verse 11 of chapter 14: “Lord, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. O Lord, you are God; do not let man prevail against you.”
In the fifteenth year of his reign, Asa’s reforms continued even to the extent of deposing his own grandmother from her position as queen mother “because she had made a repulsive Asherah pole.” And so it could be written of him at that time, “Asa’s heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life” (15:17).
Twenty years later, in the 35th year of Asa’s reign, Baasha, king of Israel, fortified Ramah to prevent anyone from entering or leaving Asa’s territory. Asa then took silver and gold out of the treasuries of the Lord’s temple and out of his own palace and sought help from Ben-Hadad of Syria. It was a political move, but here is the crux of the matter. God’s prophet, Hanani, came to Asa and said, “Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the Lord you God, the army of the king of Aram [Syria] has escaped from your hand.”
He reminded him of his victories over the Cushites and Libyans and then gave him the words at the beginning of this article about God’s eyes ranging throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him, but concluding with, “You have done a foolish thing and from now on you will be at war” (16:9b).
Hanani was imprisoned, the people were oppressed, and four years later with a severe foot disease Asa still “did not seek help from the Lord but only from the physicians” (16:12). Two years later he died.
Questions: What happened in the twenty-year period that eroded Asa’s full commitment to the extent that, when danger threatened, his instinctive reaction was to seek the help of men? We are not told, but we do know that 1 Corinthians 10:12 says, “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you do not fall!”
Commitment needs constant attention. Your commitment to “seek first the kingdom of God” (Matt. 6:33) must be renewed daily as business needs encroach and physical pressures seek to become paramount. Also, your commitment to your mate, made before God and witnesses, must be guarded carefully lest you become another divorce statistic.
As the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to give strength to the fully committed, will you determine that your life will bring satisfaction to Him and great blessing to you?
Beware of Peter’s word
Nor confidently say
I never will deny Thee, Lord
But, Grant I never may.
- William Cowper