"Herein Thou Hast Done Foolishly"
Asa, who succeeded his father Abijah as king of Judah, was a good king for a number of years. His reign was one of prosperity, and the land was quiet ten years. The reason for this is, I believe, summed up in 2 Chron. 14:2, "And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God." The writer goes on to enumerate a number of things he did which were pleasing to God, including "and commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandments" (vs. 4). Thus, Asa was blessed greatly during his reign, and Judah with him, because of their faithfulness.
When told by Azariah, the prophet, "The Lord is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you," Asa took courage, and put away the abominable idols out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin (2 Chron. 15:2, 8). As a result of his faithfulness and God's blessing, many in Israel, who had previously forsaken the Lord and His law, returned to faithfulness, "They fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the Lord God was with him" (vs. 9).
However, like other kings who prospered greatly, Asa became proud and independent and in his last days forsook the Lord. He made a league with the king of Syria when Baasha, king of Israel came up against Judah. Instead of relying upon the Lord as before, Asa now indicated by his actions that he was self-sufficient and did not need the Lord. Upon such action, Hanani the seer came to Asa, and said, "Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars" (2 Chron. 16:9). This declaration of truth made Asa angry and he had the seer put into prison (vs. 10).
Such things, according to Paul in Romans 15:4, were written for our learning. We should therefore profit from such examples. We should be impressed with the fact that God blesses the faithful, but punishes the disobedient. Also, that He is no respecter of persons. In spite of the fact that Asa and others during the Old Testament period were faithful for awhile and then sinned, did not keep God from punishing them. Neither did it keep him from revealing the dark spots in their lives, thus proving that He renders according to one's deeds.
There are a number of lessons that can be learned from this account of Asa. Let us note a few of them. The fact that a man is faithful and prospers for a number of years is no guarantee of continued faithfulness; nor is it assurance that God will overlook some-sin, or at short period of unfaithfulness. Judah did well to follow Asa during the time he did good and right in the eyes of the Lord, but they would have been foolish to continue following him when he forsook the Lord. It would have been foolishness for them to reason as some do today, "Well, he used to be faithful, and was a sound teacher, so I am going to continue following him." To blindly follow one who has been right, accepting all that he teaches without proving it by the word of God, is indeed to act foolishly. Every teaching should be tried or tested by the divine standard, the inspired Scriptures and not by what anyone says or thinks is right.
Asa also acted foolishly by becoming angry at the seer. He simply delivered God's message. But because it did not please Asa because it was a condemnation of his action, he had him imprisoned. But this did not change God's judgment; it did not alter one word of what He had said. Some today could well take warning from this. To become angry with the teacher when he is simply delivering God's message and render evil to him does not change in any way the word of God; for we shall face it in judgment (John 12:48; Rev. 20:10-12).
Another observation of value is that those who have forsaken the Lord and His law will come to those who are faithfully doing God's will, as those of Israel did with Asa. The influence of faithfulness is great, and we should see to it that our lives are influences for that which is good and right. May God grant courage to all who contend earnestly for the faith, that they may ever be steadfast.
To forsake the Lord and His word, and rely upon one's own wisdom and strength is to act foolishly. "Herein thou hast done foolishly" should never be said of any child of God, and when it is necessary it is to one's disadvantage. Therefore live so that such can never truthfully be said of you!
Truth Magazine XXIV: 48, pp. 777-778