In our brief lives upon this earth we have many opportunities to serve the Lord. Through all of the ups and downs of our sanctification, we like to believe that we will finish our lives well here below. Asa had a very good start as a faithful king, but he did not finish his life well.
Asa had once been exemplary in his trust of the Lord, but at the end of his life the king placed his trust in the military might of Syria, in his own authority to silence critics, and in the ability of doctors to solve his physical problems. In all of these trials he lost sight of the God who had saved him in the past.
First, Asa faced trouble from the northern tribes of Israel under Baasha. Baasha was trying to keep people in the north from traveling to Jerusalem to align with Asa. Asa turned to the Syrians and paid them to break their military alliance with Baasha. Asa achieved his objectives, but a prophet from the Lord brought him word of the Lord’s displeasure and called on him to repent. Instead of hearing this word from God with humility, the king had the prophet put in the stocks.
In earlier days Asa had gladly heard the Word of the Lord and had called out to God when he was facing a vast army from Ethiopia that was threatening to overwhelm Judah. God had heard his cries then. Why did Asa turn to the Syrians this time instead of calling upon the Lord? And why was the king so stubborn when the time came for him to receive correction from God?
Some change had come upon Asa that is hard to explain. We are told that the king was in a rage regarding the words of the prophet. The king not only rejected God’s Word, he also began to bring trouble upon the Lord’s people. “Asa inflicted cruelties upon some of the people at the same time.”
Finally, when the king had a disease in his feet, he did not turn to the Lord. “Even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but sought help from physicians.” There is nothing inherently sinful in receiving the help that may come from other people, but Asa needed to bring his needs to the Lord. This final test brought a sad ending to the life of a great king.
The Bible’s assessment of Asa was still positive. He was honored at his death and the summaries of his reign bring to mind all that was worthy in him. “Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God.” Yet his poor finish was also recorded for our consideration.
Jesus, the Messianic King of Jews, finished well. If He had ended his life poorly, all would have been lost for us. He needed to fully obey the Lord. His most important test of obedience came in His death. Every one of our Lord’s royal ancestors fell short of God’s demands in some way, but Jesus was faithful to the end. His resurrection was a vindication of His sinless perfection.