Success that Leads to Defeat

David was the second king of Israel that God wanted to sit on the throne. His son who built the temple was Solomon who also sat on the throne. After Solomon there was a civil war and the 12 tribes were divided and there was a northern kingdom and a southern kingdom. The northern 10 tribes were Israel and the southern 2 tribes (Judah and Benjamin) were called Judah but they has Jerusalem in their territory. In the book of Chronicles there are kings everywhere. In the north you had all bad kings, idolaters, not serving God, forming their own religion, and you have the southern kingdom, some good kings, some not so good kings. About the 4th king down from David was a man by the name King Asa who was son of the king Abijah who was a pretty good king. King Asa’s life stands out because he was one of the most different and great kings that you read about. King Asa came to the throne and immediately started a spiritual reformation.

He started tearing down idols that were propped up under the reign of his father. He started going against the flow.  To be a leader sometimes you have to go against the flow. You don’t tell people what they want to hear, that’s not a leader, you don’t do polling and voting and find out what they like but rather tell them what the Lord says whether they like it or not. When you tell people what they need to hear, they will appreciate it more at the end.

On top of that he instructed the people in the ways of the Lord. He gave all the glory to God and for 10 years, the kingdom was at peace with no wars. Here was an outstanding king who was unusually spiritual and devoted to God. He built up and fortified cities, he gave glory to God, and then after 10 years he was attacked by an Ethiopian army of 1 million men. They were known as the Cushites. He didn’t look for that fight, God permitted it to come to him and now he was outnumbered. King Asa leads his people into battle, and prays one of the greatest prayers: God you are God that can save with a large or small number. Look at this army that comes against us. But we belong to you and we go out in your name and were trusting in you, so God rise up against these people that attack you.

As they fought they had victory. He comes back to Jerusalem, people are cheering and they are celebrating victory and then he starts another reformation and gets rid of things in the land that shouldn’t be there. He is really doing what God wants him to do. He made a covenant with the people that anyone didn’t serve God would be put to death. Then the story picks up after 26 years.

 2 Chronicles  In the thirty-sixth year of Asa’s reign, King Baasha of Israel invaded Judah and fortified Ramah in order to prevent anyone from entering or leaving King Asa’s territory in Judah. Asa responded by removing the silver and gold from the treasuries of the Temple of the Lord and the royal palace. He sent it to King Ben-hadad of Aram, who was ruling in Damascus, along with this message: “Let there be a treaty[a] between you and me like the one between your father and my father. See, I am sending you silver and gold. Break your treaty with King Baasha of Israel so that he will leave me alone.” Ben-hadad agreed to King Asa’s request and sent the commanders of his army to attack the towns of Israel. They conquered the towns of Ijon, Dan, Abel-beth-maacah,[b] and all the store cities in Naphtali. As soon as Baasha of Israel heard what was happening, he abandoned his project of fortifying Ramah and stopped all work on it. Then King Asa called out all the men of Judah to carry away the building stones and timbers that Baasha had been using to fortify Ramah. Asa used these materials to fortify the towns of Geba and Mizpah.

 What do you think of this plan, was it smart?

 At that time Hanani the seer came to King Asa and told him, “Because you have put your trust in the king of Aram instead of in the Lord your God, you missed your chance to destroy the army of the king of Aram.Don’t you remember what happened to the Ethiopians[c] and Libyans and their vast army, with all of their chariots and charioteers?[d] At that time you relied on the Lord, and he handed them over to you. The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. What a fool you have been! From now on you will be at war.” 10 Asa became so angry with Hanani for saying this that he threw him into prison and put him in stocks. At that time Asa also began to oppress some of his people.

 After 36 years of reigning, Asa is attacked. No matter how long you serve God, sing in the church, pastor a church, no matter what you do, where you live, how long you know Jesus, you are subject and vulnerable to attack. This only reminds us that its not over till its over, or when die and go to be with the Lord. It doesn’t matter how long you have served, how effective you were in ministry, you are susceptible to attack.

Something must have gone down in those 26 years. After the 10 years in the beginning, he prayed. Asa trusted God against a 1 million man army. He just went to God, with a 3 sentence prayer that brought him victory. But now he doesn’t pray, he is clever. He wants to use his head and intelligence. Wait a minute, my northern cousins are attacking me, let me make them break their treaty and pay them off to do it. He took money from the temple, Gods money, and paid off the Syrian King. Forget the treaty, break your word, you can do it. It worked.

It worked but this is the success that leads to defeat. He was successful but he was a loser. He had his way, and he was bankrupt. He got clever, and it looked so good because it worked. Now we learn a lesson. Not everything that looks good is good.

Something must have cause him to lose out on God somehow in those 26 years. Doesn’t seem like he put up idols, but something on the inside. Instead of childlike trust and the instinct to pray, he’s being smart. And after a prophet shows up to tell him that God is looking for someone who trusts him with childlike trust, he is reminded that when he trusted God, did he not come through? And now you’re not gonna trust Him? Now you’re smarter than God, you don’t need him anymore, you’re gonna figure this out for yourself? Guess what you could have defeated both armies if you would have just trusted me. Now you got nothing but trouble coming your way.

We know something happened with Asa’s soul because instead of listening to what the prophet said and being rebuked and corrected and being humbled, he got angry and threw him in jail. He threw God servant in prison! This is the same king who prayed one of the greatest prayer in the bible.

This is how some of us get. If we don’t like it, we fight against is, regardless if it’s the truth from God. When you backslide from God, you’re not thinking about what’s true, you are thinking about what you like. I don’t like that sermon, I don’t like that church. It doesn’t matter if you like it, is God in it?

On top of everything, he starts to mistreat his people. 2 In the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa developed a serious foot disease. Yet even with the severity of his disease, he did not seek the Lord’s help but turned only to his physicians. 

 We might not like this story. We like heroes. Superman, Batman, Man-man. Just let it be someone who we look up to with a happy ending, riding into the sunset. Asa died and had some good things in his record, but he died locking up prophets.

What does this all mean to us? We are in a different era. We don’t fight people, we are in a new covenant where we pray for our enemies. We don’t fight battles or take land. We win souls.

Are we in warfare? Can we identify with King Asa? The type of warfare we are in is more extreme. It’s worse because physical warfare could only cost you your life, but the warfare we are in can cost your soul. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but principalities and powers. Don’t you know we are in spiritual warfare?

Is it possible to go backwards in your Christian life?

Don’t you realize in this story he hasn’t given up on any one of us? Even after 36 years the enemy will still be attacking you. Are you a position where you cannot fall, where you don’t need Christ? Anyone can lose out on God lose the blessing, go backwards.

Do you think you are in a safe zone in your Christian life?

In the natural, your body grows. A child grows regardless if it’s mistreated. A body of a 9 year old is not the same size as it was when it was born, but spiritual growth is not the same. It’s not automatic. If you do not grow spiritually, you will regress. If you are a Christian, that doesn’t mean you are going to grow naturally. You need the Word, fellowship with Christians, you need to learn how to pray and worship and use the gifts that God has given you.

In your spiritual life, you do not automatically go forwards. “Well Ive been a Christian for 10 years”, that doesn’t mean anything. The question is have you been growing. You can be less kind 10 years into being a Christian than you were 1 week a Christian. You can be meaner, gossiping more, nastier, with less prayer, less of the bible 29 years in! You can be a preacher and lose your anointing and not even preach from the bible and you started out being tender and broken before the Lord and now you hardly preach from the bible.

This is why we have to love and encourage each other. Everyone goes through battles. Asa in his 36 years, out of nowhere. It reveals where he was spiritually. He lost his childlike trust. He lost the insticinct to pray. He lost that thing where you just run to God, run to Jesus, bring your problems to Jesus and ask Him what to do.

What do you think makes a mature Christian?

Some of us may lose on childlike faith, just because we have a nicer lifestyle than we did before. Money is good, life is good, no worries. You are cruising in life. Now you can be so smart that you got it all figured out, and you think it worked but it didn’t work. It just looks like it works.

Think of the churches who have double the people than before but they just have entertainment, telling people what they wanna hear. Is God pleased with it? It matters if Jesus is being trusted. Numbers don’t matter, its how you live. Do you really love Him? Just because it looks good doesn’t mean its good. God is not impressed by your performance, lights, camera, action, smoke screens, etc. Is this where the blood of Jesus brings us? He dies on the cross, but we have to entertain everyone for a little while or they’re gonna leave.

Without faith its impossible to please God. You can know all the bible and still be lost.

John 5:39 (AMP)39 [a]You search and keep on searching and examining the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and yet it is those[very Scriptures] that testify about Me;

You can come to bible and still not know Jesus. You can memorize verses and become meaner. You can get into a religious legalistic spirit. You can study the bible and never really worship and surrender to Jesus. Now you have the bible without the Holy Spirit.

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

 God is still looking for those who are committed to him. What can he do? Who can he show himself mighty to? What miracle can he do for you? The eyes of the Lord are looking throughout all the people. Not for perfect people, but just those who trust him and run to him and pray.

 Sometimes trouble is a safe place to be in. Why would you think that is?