1 Kings 15:16-22 – Trading One Set of Problems for A Whole New Set!

Posted: February 6, 2019 in 11-1 Kings

1 Kings 15:16-22

War Between Baasha and Asa

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you do not trust God enough to go to Him in prayer about the solution? We all do that, at times. It is often said that fear is evidence of a lack of trust in God. We find ourselves in situations that cause us fear and we make decisions to get ourselves out of those situations solely based on our limited knowledge without trusting God with the big picture. We see only what’s directly ahead of us and make expedient decisions based on that fact. We should start with God in prayer as to the solutions to our problems and then act as His guidance directs us.

We see that idea in motion in this passage. Asa, who is seen by us as Bible readers as a reformer in a sea of kings of both Jewish kingdoms that strayed far from God, is an example here in this passage of trusting only in his own decision making process and not consulting God first. There is no mention in this passage of Asa going to God in prayer. There is no mention here of God revealing a solution to the problem to Asa. All we read here is about how Asa made a decision to pay off a neighbor king to break his alliance with Baasha, the king of the northern kingdom, Israel. He literally unloads the coffers of the treasury of Judah to pay off the king of Aram. The decision was expedient for the moment. It secured the northern border with Israel and forced Israel to fight battles on its western border with Aram. It was definitely an expedient decision. It gave Judah peace for the moment. However, the treasury took a big hit to gain it. Also, it created an alliance with a pagan nation. There was no thought of seeking God’s solution. God can see the big picture and we cannot. But Asa makes a decision here based on immediate circumstances rather than seeking God’s greater wisdom for the best, God-honoring, long-term solution.

The most common thing in today’s world that we all have some frame of reference to that compares to what Asa did here in this passage is decisions that people sometimes make in their marriages. Just think of marriages that crumble because of adultery. Men and women make decisions about their marriages that satisfy their immediate desires with little thought of the long-term impact of those decisions.

You see people decide that they are not getting what they want out of their marriage because we make marriage about our own selfish desires. Then, we see these same people seek affection from others outside their marriages. They find the affairs as exhilarating as anything they have experienced in their lives. They confuse excitement and passion for love and they end their marriages and start new ones thinking that this feeling is so much better than the mundane, average-ness of their previous marriage. Then real life sets in. Divorce proceedings. Hurt feelings. Anger. Retaliation. Child custody issues. Logistics. Your kids vs. my kids. And just the setting of everyday life in the new marriage. We trade a solution for one set of problems and create a whole new set of problems of divorce and remarriage as a result of an affair. The affair and divorce seem like the greatest thing ever but then who dive into a pool of a whole other set of problems that you have never known before. All because we sought our own solutions to problems without taking them to God and seeking his God-honoring solution to the problem. This is just one common example in today’s world that demonstrate how we make decisions without God.

That’s what I thought of this morning as I read through this passage, 1 Kings 15:16-22, this morning where Asa makes a decision and there is absolutely no mention of going to God in prayer. He just makes a decision that he sees as expedient for the moment, that meets his own immediate desire for peace at any cost. Let’s read it now:

16 There was constant war between King Asa of Judah and King Baasha of Israel. 17 King Baasha of Israel invaded Judah and fortified Ramah in order to prevent anyone from entering or leaving King Asa’s territory in Judah.

18 Asa responded by removing all the silver and gold that was left in the treasuries of the Temple of the Lord and the royal palace. He sent it with some of his officials to Ben-hadad son of Tabrimmon, son of Hezion, the king of Aram, who was ruling in Damascus, along with this message:

19 “Let there be a treaty[a] between you and me like the one between your father and my father. See, I am sending you a gift of silver and gold. Break your treaty with King Baasha of Israel so that he will leave me alone.”

20 Ben-hadad agreed to King Asa’s request and sent the commanders of his army to attack the towns of Israel. They conquered the towns of Ijon, Dan, Abel-beth-maacah, and all Kinnereth, and all the land of Naphtali. 21 As soon as Baasha of Israel heard what was happening, he abandoned his project of fortifying Ramah and withdrew to Tirzah. 22 Then King Asa sent an order throughout Judah, requiring that everyone, without exception, help to carry away the building stones and timbers that Baasha had been using to fortify Ramah. Asa used these materials to fortify the town of Geba in Benjamin and the town of Mizpah.

In this passage, we see that Baasha has become king in the northern kingdom. Baasha had seized the throne from Nadab, who had succeeded his Jeroboam, his father, when he died. Through Baasha, he had eliminated the line of Jeroboam but he did not follow God either. He continued to do things his own way and was constantly at war with Judah. Both Judah and Israel suffered from forgetfulness. Although God had delivered the people of all the tribes of Israel many times, they repeatedly sought help from the pagan nations nearby rather than from God. That Asa sought help from Aram is evidence of a spiritual decline among the tribes of Israel both north and south.

He sought only a human solution to the problem of Baasha incursion into Ramah. God grants us reason to work through problems and figure out solutions but we must first begin with Him. We must pray for wisdom from Him to see what the best solution to the problem is before we begin. We should not trust our selfish desires or just the most expedient solution on our own. God has all wisdom and we have limited foresight. We should go to God with all our problems and allow Him to guide our intellect and reason (that He gave us) to choose the God-honoring solution to the problem.

That’s the takeaway this morning. Whatever we are faced with, we have a choice in our free will that God granted us. We can NOT trust God or we CAN trust God. So many times in life, we failed to trust God and go boldly off in our flesh and make decisions on our own. So many times in life, as a result, we trade off one set of problems for another because we have made decisions without going to God in prayer.

Part of growing in our walk with God is to learn to trust Him in everything, especially proactively. We so often go to God after we have made a mess of things. We go to God after the fact. We go to God to clean up our mess of decisions made without consulting Him. Let us grow up and learn to trust God. Let us grow up and go to Him with all the decisions that we have to make. Let us grow up and learn that He has all wisdom. Let us grow up and go to God first when we have a decision of any kind to make. Let us grow up and go to God up front. Let us seek that which is God-honoring through prayer to Him. Let us seek Him before we make decisions and allow Him to guide us toward that which is best for us and all who we interact with. Let us allow Him to guide us to the best solution not just the most expedient one. Let us allow Him to guide us toward the right decisions even if their require hardship, hard work, pain, suffering, humility, sacrifice, and all those fruits of the spirit that God desires to create in us. Let us allow Him to have control of our everyday decisions and our big decisions. Let us trust His wisdom. Let us trust Him totally.

Amen and Amen.

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