“Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God.” Asa was the son of Abijah and the great-great-grandson of King David. He led Judah in a time of religious reformation.
The Promised Land was never intended to be a place of religious diversity. God commanded His people to destroy all signs and symbols of idolatry. Many kings were unwilling to do the job set before them. Asa “commanded Judah to seek the Lord.”
The thorough destruction of false idols was good for the stability of this special nation. Under Asa, “the kingdom had rest,” at least for a time. The king improved Judah’s defenses and raised a large army to protect the Lord’s people.
During Asa’s reign the land of Judah was confronted by a large army from Ethiopia. Asa’s prayer at that time is recorded for us, beginning with these words: “O Lord, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak.” Asa rightly saw that Judah was outnumbered. They were the weak and the Ethiopians were the mighty. But the king of Judah was calling upon the Name of the Lord. He knew that Yahweh was far above all of the gods of the nations.
The prayer continues: “Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.” The king’s cry for help was grounded in the great Name of the Lord. He called upon the God of David to show His power in this struggle against those who had come out against the Lord’s people.
The result of this brief prayer is simply presented in this account: “So the Lord defeated the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah.” Not only did the enemy flee, but Asa and the army of Judah pursued them and gained much from the spoils of war that they brought back with them to Jerusalem.
This story is very straightforward. We should not miss the point. God is able to defeat His and our enemies. We need to call out to Him and engage in the fight of faith in His Name. He is moving all of history toward the conclusion that He determined long ago. The gods of the nations will not win.
Even when our God seems to suffer what looks like a setback at the time, as in the death of Christ, an even greater victory is being won that requires this pain and loss. Through the cross, the victory of the Lord’s resurrection kingdom is secured, and the people of God are saved. The enemy is defeated and the Lord’s great Name is lifted up. If God can bring about a victory like that through the death of His Son, we can certainly trust Him through the present moment of distress that we are facing. He will defend His own Name. He will win the battle. His perfect plan will be accomplished.