God loves to bless His obedient people, as even a cursory study of Scripture reveals. He even goes so far in one text as to dare His people to obey Him so that He can pour out His blessings on them (Mal. 3:10). The Lord wants to do good to us, and as His people we should be eager for His blessing.
At the same time, we dare not forget that people who live under God’s blessing can find it easy to drift into unfaithfulness. Our Lord warns us in His Word that when we experience blessing, we will be tempted to forget Him and that we will be enticed to rely on ourselves (Deut. 8:11–20). The history of the old covenant people proves the wisdom of this warning. Even the good kings of Judah could stumble after enjoying a period of divine blessing on their fidelity.
Good King Asa of Judah started off well, but like Solomon before him, he fell into disobedience later in his reign. We have already seen that Asa enjoyed God’s blessings of peace and prosperity because of his trust in the Lord and his reform of Judah’s worship (2 Chron. 14–15). However, when Baasha king of Israel took up arms against Judah, Asa’s trust in God wavered. Instead of pleading for the Lord’s intervention, he appealed to King Ben-hadad of Syria for help. He even handed over monies from the temple treasuries, paying off the Syrians with funds dedicated to the Lord (16:1–6).
Syria came to Judah’s aid, but Asa’s actions displeased the Lord. The prophet Hanani rebuked Asa for not trusting God as he did earlier in his reign when he fought Libya and Ethiopia, noting that when Asa trusted the Lord then, God gave him victory (vv. 7–8). Our omnipotent Creator could do this because He is fully aware of His creation. He sees everything and can intervene powerfully whenever He chooses (v. 9). This all-seeing gaze is a comfort to those who rely on the Lord, for it gives us confidence that He cannot be taken by surprise. Thus, He is always available to help us. But this all-seeing gaze of God is a terror to those who do not rest in Him. It means that their disobedience never escapes His notice, so His judgment will never miss anything.
Asa’s unfaithfulness meant that war would continue for the rest of his reign (vv. 9–13). Nevertheless, Scripture honors him as a good king because, in the main, he served God (v. 14; see 14:2). But his stumbling and its consequences warns us that even those whom the Lord approves must take care lest their faithfulness waver and they suffer as a result.