2 Chronicles 16:7-10
7 And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said to him: “Because you have relied on the king of Syria, and have not relied on the Lord your God, therefore the army of the king of Syria has escaped from your hand. 8 Were the Ethiopians and the Lubim not a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet, because you relied on the Lord, He delivered them into your hand. 9 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars.” 10 Then Asa was angry with the seer, and put him in prison, for he was enraged at him because of this. And Asa oppressed some of the people at that time. NKJV
Asa was the king of Judah and loved God. You can read in 2 Chronicles 14 how King Asa and the nation of Judah went to war against Ethiopia although they were outnumbered nearly two to one. Asa knew they did not have a chance, but his faith was in God, and God brought a miraculous victory to Judah. Immediately following the battle a prophet came to Asa with a message from God. The prophetic message said, “The Lord will stay with you as long as you stay with Him.” At that time King Asa’s life was pleasing to God and as a result, the nation knew peace for many years. But after a period of time, something had changed. Maybe things were going so good that Asa stopped trusting God like he had before.
There then came another time during King Asa’s reign when Judah was again threatened by an enemy, but instead of trusting God, Asa chose to ally himself with an enemy nation. To make things worse he paid for this unholy alliance with the gold and silver from God’s house. And God wasn’t pleased. So he sent a prophet by the name of Hanani to bring Asa a word of correction. This time King Asa was not so happy to hear God’s message. In fact Asa grew extremely angry, and imprisoned Hanani. Think about that. Hanani was imprisoned by God’s anointed king for being obedient to deliver God’s message to him.
This is not the “feel-good” lesson most of us want to hear, yet it is part and parcel of the Christian experience. Doing the right thing…being obedient to God’s Word and God’s promptings…following a path that can place you in a precarious situation that does not always end up like a gift-package wrapped in a bow. Those things, though God-honoring, can result in being misunderstood, mistreated, and being paid back evil for goodness. That is what Hanani experienced. He brings the king a message from God Himself, an exhortation of correction which was ultimately for the king’s benefit. But this word was not received by the king as beneficial. Instead, King Asa saw it as insulting, and it angered him greatly. Consequently, Hanani’s obedience to bring God’s message was paid back with his being thrown into prison. It’s interesting to note that the scriptures never tell us if Hanani was ever released from prison. We can assume there is the possibility of him having died there.
When Hanani took that message to King Asa, I believe he knew the peril he could potentially face. I think he was an eye-witness to the downward spiral of a king who initially pleased God, but also whose trust in God began to wane. I also think Hanani knew there was great potential for his obedience to go badly, but still he obeyed. He was right. And as a result he paid a great price.
Men, obeying God is not always an easy thing to do (no kidding!), and the ramifications of that obedience might not always be something you look forward to. I think the question we have to ask ourselves is this, “Why do we obey when obedience requires us to do something very difficult?” Is it because we think there is a blessing attached to it, or do we obey solely for the sake of obeying God? Men, if you have known God, my hope is that the answer to your question is the latter. That our obedience to His word is based solely on our love for Him.
Remember the words Jesus said in John 14:23.
23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word…”.
What the scripture doesn’t say is this, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, but only when it’s easy.”
Let’s be the kind of men who obey even in the hard things…even when it costs us.
“When you suffer and lose, that does not mean you are being disobedient to God. In fact, it might mean you’re right in the centre of His will. The path of obedience is often marked by times of suffering and loss.” – Charles Swindoll