“And Asa cried unto the Lord his God...” 2 Chronicles 14:11
Asa is one of my favorite Bible characters. He provides us with an invaluable strategy to deploy when we are faced with insurmountable challenges. Let’s explore Asa’s strategy by first reflecting on what’s happening in our world today.
We are facing a seemingly insurmountable enemy called COVID-19, or the coronavirus. As of this column, over 395,647 cases have been confirmed worldwide with 17,241 resulting in death. The U.S. has confirmed 46,485 cases resulting in 593 deaths. Indiana currently has 106 confirmed cases which have resulted in 12 deaths.
Seventy-five million Americans have been instructed to “shelter in place.” Schools are closed across the nation. Grocery store shelves are bare. Tens of thousands of Americans are suddenly unemployed or working from home. The stock market is unstable. Businesses have been shuttered with the gloomy prediction that many may not ever open again.
Central banks have taken emergency action on a scale even greater than during the 2008 global crisis. David Kostin, chief U.S. equity strategist at Goldman Sachs, said recently, “The coronavirus has created unprecedented financial and societal disruption.” Self-quarantines and “social distancing” are the new norm.
Every major institution, including our churches, mosques and synagogues, has been affected. People are afraid, and rightly so. The enemy is unseen and literally anyone can be a carrier. But there is hope found in God’s word, and there is hope found in prayer.
Asa is one of my favorite Bible characters. He was the third king of Judah whose reign lasted 40 or 41 years. Asa means “healer” or “physician.” He was zealous in maintaining the true worship of God, and in rooting all idolatry, with its accompanying immoralities, out of the land. The Lord gave him and his land rest and prosperity.
But rest and prosperity don’t always last. When the Ethiopian army positioned itself to attack, Asa was faced with a dilemma. His army of 580,000 men faced an Ethiopian army of over one million men who had 300 chariots and other sophisticated weapons of warfare.
Asa had to lead his people through a difficult time. Asa developed a plan that would lead to the defeat of his enemy. Let’s explore Asa’s winning strategy.
First and foremost, Asa prayed (2 Chronicles 14:11). Asa appealed to God as his God. Asa appealed to God as the God of his people. Zerah the Cushite’s army was twice the size of Asa’s. Rather than relying on military strategy, Asa relied on prayer.
Secondly, Asa planned (2 Chronicles 14:2-7). Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. He called on the people to seek the Lord and destroyed the idols in the land. Asa built fortified cities and the land was at rest under him. These components were a key part of his planning and strategy.
Finally, Asa prevailed and prospered (2 Chronicles 14:12-13). Because Asa prayed and planned ahead, Asa prevailed, and God’s people prevailed. Asa and God’s people also prospered. The Bible tells us that Asa not only defeated the Ethiopian army, he came away with spoils (plunder or gain).
Asa’s prayer reminds us that God is still in control. Are you facing challenging and seemingly overwhelming obstacles? Is your path to victory unsure and difficult to comprehend? Pray, plan and trust God who gives us all the power to prevail and prosper.
Dr. Preston T. Adams III is senior pastor at Amazing Grace Christian Church in Indianapolis. Contact Pastor Adams via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @DrPrestonTAdams. For more information, visit agccindy.org.