Can you be wholly devoted to the Lord, yet miss Him?
The answer seems to be – “Yes.”
There was a king of Judah named Asa. It says in 1 Kings 15:14 that Asa “was wholly devoted to the Lord all his days.” What does “wholly” mean in this verse? This verse refers back to 1 Kings 15:3, where it talks about another king whose heart was not “wholly” devoted to the Lord because this king “walked in all the sins of his father.” What were those sins? The kings of Judah had provoked God to jealousy (1 Kings 14:22) by worshiping other gods. The kings of Judah had hearts that were not “wholly” devoted to the Lord. They may have given God some praise, worshiped in His temple, even offered Him gifts – but they were also turning around and worshiping other gods, worshiping at their high places, and giving other gods gifts. They were playing the harlot with other gods. Not Asa. Asa never sought another god. His heart and mind stayed on a straight path with the Lord. It says in 2 Chronicles 15:16 that he even removed his mother from being “queen mother” because she had worshiped a false god with an idol she had built. Asa had his mother’s idol burned. Go King Asa.
Yet, there is a curious chain of events in Asa’s 41-year reign of Judah. In the beginning of his reign, the Ethiopians came at Judah with one million men. ONE MILLION MEN! Judah only had 300,000. Asa sought the Lord. He cried, “Lord, there is no one besides You to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength; so help us, O Lord God, for we trust in You, and in Your name have come against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; let not man prevail against You.” (2 Chronicles 14:11)
Stunning prayer for a stunning victory. The Lord routed the ONE MILLION Ethiopians and Judah was victorious. They were victorious because Asa cried out to the Lord and sought the Lord for the victory. Asa knew he couldn’t do it, but he knew the Lord could. Well done, King Asa.
Then Asa reforms the Land. There is peace in his time because his heart relied on the Lord.
Then in the thirty-six year of his reign, another army comes. It besieges Judah. Asa takes the gold and silver treasures from the house of the Lord and sends the small fortune to the king of Aram. Asa tells the pagan king – help us! The king of Aram says, “Sure!” The king of Aram rides to Judah and stops the besieging army. Judah is saved!
Do you see anything wrong with this?
Asa bypassed the Lord. He pretty much walked right by the altar in the temple of the Lord, gathered the silver and gold, and walked right back out. He never sought the Lord. He never prayed to the Lord. He never fell on his knees and asked the Lord for ANYTHING. Not only did he not seek the God that had saved him from an army of ONE MILLION, he also sent God’s treasure to a pagan land and sought the help of MEN.
Can your heart be wholly devoted to the Lord, yet miss him?
You bet it can.
I fear this. I don’t want to be like Asa. I want to be wholly devoted to the Lord AND seek His face for EVERY situation in my life.
But do we? Do you? Do I?
Sometimes with God we can have a mountaintop experience. By this I mean an experience so incredible that we are on a spiritual high. But life isn’t about incredible experiences. It is about the day to day, routine, moment by moment, relationship with God. After our “mountaintop experience” do we expect only “mountaintops?” If we don’t see it, do we doubt it? Are we like the Pharisees that always ask for “a sign from heaven?”
Or in our spiritual walk, have we grown complacent? Have we missed the moments of quiet gratitude, or those times of needful prayer? Are we so busy that we just push on throughout the day and by the end of a year or two or more do we become like King Asa? After the resounding victorious high of defeating an army of ONE MILLION, over time, do we discount that miracle, rely on our own strength, and walk right pass the Lord?
Do you hear me?
And here is the most scary thing. After Asa sought the help of a pagan king and not God, a prophet approached him, and said, “Were not the Ethiopians . . . an immense army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet, because you relied on the Lord, He delivered them into your hand.” Then he tells the king how God feels about Asa relying on the king of Aram: “You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars.”
Yet, instead of humbling himself, Asa threw the prophet into prison.
As we walk through life like King Asa, do we ignore God’s warnings? Do we discount them? Do we think we know better than our God?
Something to think about.
As we step each day into our relationship with God, let’s make sure we don’t walk right by Him. Let’s sit for a spell, listen, and take what He says to heart.