Today's devotion from 2 Chronicles 16 and 17.
Asa's reign had begun with such promise. Yet, Azariah's words were not spoken in vain. While Asa was with God, God was with him, but somewhere along the way something happened. When confronted with a resurgent Israel, Asa looks for help from another. Asa calls to Syria.
As if it weren't bad enough that Asa relies upon a foreign entity for assistance before turning to God, the king pays Ben-hadad with treasures from house of the Lord along with funds from his own treasury. Those thing that had been given and dedicated to God were being shipped to a pagan nation that would, ultimately, play a role in the demise of Israel.
Just as Azariah had gone to speak with him following God's victory against the overwhelming African contingent, now another seer will come to him with the word of God. Hanani was sent to confront Asa with the reality of what he had just done. Asa doesn't respond kindly. He essentially arrests and tortures the prophet while lashing out at others.
Where once there had been devotion and obedience, now there was anger and hostility. Faith has been replaced in Asa's life by strategy. God is no longer the king's strength. In fact, his heart was so turned that we see that he did not even seek the Lord when death came for him. Instead, he latched on to his physicians and their treatments.
I don't know the answer. I cannot plumb the depths of Asa's heart or discover secret motives that lurk in his mind, but we all can see his fruit. It is easy to divorce this account from our real lives, but let this cause us to remember a powerful truth: while no one may know the secret motives of your heart, everyone can see the results of your believes in your life. Do we really need to know why Asa turned his back on God, or is it not sufficient to recognize the fruit of a man who has become faithless?
If this is so obvious to us across more thousands of years in the pages of Scripture, how much more obvious is your fruit in lives of those you love most and know you best? Your wife, your children, your neighbors and coworkers may never truly know your innermost self, but they will see the fruit of your life. What does that fruit look like today?