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- And there came an angel of the Lord, and sat under
an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash
the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the
winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of
the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord
is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. And Gideon said
unto him, Oh my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then is
all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our
fathers told us of, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from
Egypt? but now the Lord hath forsaken us, and delivered
us into the hands of the Midianites. And the Lord looked
upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt
save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent
- Judges 6:11-14
During the time of Gideon, the Israelites were being oppressed by the Midianites, who would come down and take away all the Israelites’ foodstuff. Gideon was threshing wheat behind a winepress so he could conceal it from these enemies. He was hiding and trying to beat out a little bit of grain so he could have something to eat, when an angel appeared to him and declared, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!”
Gideon responded, “If I am a mighty man of valor, where are all of God’s mighty works that our fathers told us about? You know, how He delivered them from the Egyptians, brought us into this land, and performed all the other miracles?” Some people interpret this as Gideon criticizing the angel and saying, “No, I don’t believe You. I don’t trust You.” Personally, I look at it the opposite way. Gideon had heard about the miraculous beginnings of the nation of Israel and was sick and tired of living a substandard life. Refusing to yield to these enemies who were forcing Israel to live that way, he was doing what he had to do to thresh some wheat. In his heart, Gideon was tired of living under the enemy’s oppression. He genuinely wanted God’s best. So the angel responded, saying, “Go with this your might, and God will be with you.” In other words, the angel basically rewarded him for wanting more than what life was handing him.
One of the first steps to seeing the supernatural power of God operate in your life is getting to the place where you genuinely say, “I am not going to live like this anymore!” From your heart, you declare, “I refuse to live this way any longer!”
Are you in a dead-end job? Do you hate going to work? Maybe you get up on Mondays and talk about “blue” Monday. You drag through your week because you have to do your job, but then on Friday it’s TGIF (thank God it’s Friday), because you can’t wait to get out of there. Why are you living like that? Life isn’t a dress rehearsal; this is the real deal. You’re burning daylight!
Either you’ve advanced today and gotten closer to what the Lord has for you in life, or you’ve just spent another day wasting time. If you don’t love what you’re doing, if it doesn’t give you a buzz, and if it doesn’t build you up and excite you, then why are you doing it? You might say, “But Andrew, I have to make a living.” Why not make a life?
Do you know why you’re living the way you’re living? It’s because you’ve accepted it. You’re just marching in step and keeping time, not really doing anything significant. You’re just tolerating it.
God made you for something special. He’s never created a piece of junk. He’s never made a failure. God doesn’t make people mediocre or what the world would call “normal.” He created people to be unique and to accomplish different purposes. Not everybody’s going to do what I’m supposed to do; neither will I do what someone else is to do. God made you special, and your life should count. You ought to be excited about your life and about knowing that you’re fulfilling God’s call and destiny. Yet many people just settle for less.
- But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God
resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he
will flee from you.
- James 4:6-7
Humility is submitting yourself to God; it’s yielding to Him. According to 2 Chronicles 16:9, the Lord is looking for someone who is humble and submitted to Him. His eyes find the one who is hungry and who desires Him, the one who isn’t satisfied with what everybody else is settling for.
To a degree, I’m preaching to the choir right now. Here you are, reading this book written by a hick from Texas. So either you’re the fanatic or you were told to read this by one. You aren’t just run-ofthe- mill. You desire something more. You’re submitting to God. You could be watching “As the Stomach Turns” or something like that on television, but instead you’re reading and considering what I’m saying—what God is saying—through this book.
Humility is submitting ourselves to God and resisting the devil. The devil flees from us when we do that. Sadly, most of us aren’t submitting ourselves to God. We aren’t resisting the devil; we’re actually cooperating with him, and much of the time, our cooperation isn’t even intentional. We just don’t recognize what we’re doing.
Humility is being God-dependent instead of self-dependent. It’s trusting the Lord instead of your own flesh’s strength and ability. When you’re trying to live life by your own human strength and effort, you aren’t humble, and you aren’t submitted to God.
That was King Asa’s problem in 2 Chronicles 16:1-6. The kingdom of Israel had broken into two parts. The northern ten tribes were called Israel, and the southern two tribes were called Judah. Asa was king over Judah. The king of Israel came against him and began to build a town called Ramah. The town was strategically located where it could cut off Judah’s supplies and prevent communication with any other country. Its purpose was to help bring about Judah’s defeat.
The Word says that when the king of Israel built Ramah and began the siege, King Asa took all of the gold, silver, and treasures that were in the house of the Lord—all of his wealth—and sent it to Ben-Hadad, the king of Syria, saying, “Let there be a league between us and you. Go and attack Israel.” The idea was that if Israel was busy fighting a war with Syria, they wouldn’t be able to also fight with Judah. Ben-Hadad took all of the treasures, listened to Asa’s request, and then attacked the king of Israel. So, the king of Israel had to abandon his siege of Judah and discontinue building the town of Ramah.
What’s Wrong with That?
Taking this opportunity, King Asa commanded all of his people to go to Ramah and scatter all of the stones that were being used to build it. This destroyed everything the king of Israel was doing there. So, Asa basically won this battle without any cost of human life for him or his armies because he hired the Syrians to go and attack Israel for them. In this way, he got out of his problem.
Now, most people would think, What’s wrong with that? His problem was over. No one from Judah lost their life. What could be wrong with that?
God had a different perspective. Second Chronicles 16:7-8 says,
- And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of
Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the
king of Syria, and not relied on the Lord thy God, therefore
is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand.
Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with
very many chariots and horsemen? yet, because thou didst
rely on the Lord, he delivered them into thine hand.
Keep this in mind as we turn back to look at a few verses in 2 Chronicles 14, that speak of when Asa first came to power and began to reign as king:
- And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of
the Lord his God: For he took away the altars of the strange
gods, and the high places, and brake down the images, and
cut down the groves: And commanded Judah to seek the
Lord God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment.
Also he took away out of all the cities of Judah
the high places and the images: and the kingdom was quiet
And he built fenced cities in Judah: for the land had rest, and he had no war in those years; because the Lord had given him rest. Therefore he said unto Judah, Let us build these cities, and make about them walls, and towers, gates, and bars, while the land is yet before us; because we have sought the Lord our God, we have sought him, and he hath given us rest on every side. So they built and prospered.
- 2 Chronicles 14:2-7
Judah’s peace and prosperity was directly related to King Asa seeking the Lord. That’s clearly stated in the verses quoted above.
- And Asa had an army of men that bare targets and
spears, out of Judah three hundred thousand; and out of
Benjamin, that bare shields and drew bows, two hundred and
fourscore thousand: all these [580,000 total] were mighty
men of valour. And there came out against them Zerah the
Ethiopian with an host of a thousand thousand [a million],
and three hundred chariots; and came unto Mareshah. Then
Asa went out against him, and they set the battle in array in
the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. And Asa cried unto
the Lord his God, and said, Lord, it is nothing with thee to
help, whether with many, or with them that have no power:
help us, O Lord our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy
name we go against this multitude. O Lord, thou art our
God; let not man prevail against thee.
- 2 Chronicles 14:8-11, brackets mine
God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). Asa humbled himself and depended on God: He had 580,000 men, but he was fighting a host of over a million. It was way beyond his ability. So, he cried out to the Lord, saying, “Our eyes are on You. We look to You. We need Your help!” God gives grace to the humble, but He resists the proud.
You aren’t humbling yourself when you try to figure everything out on your own. You aren’t submitting to God when you just go and do it all yourself. Although most people wouldn’t recognize or call such actions “pride,” that’s exactly what you’re operating in. Most people think of pride as someone exalting themselves and considering themselves better than everyone else. However, pride—at its root—is simply depending on self. It’s when someone decides they’re just going to figure it out and do it on their own.
The Journey Is More Important
When Asa humbled himself and cried out to God for help, He came to his aid:
- The Lord smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before
Judah; and the Ethiopians fled. And Asa and the people
that were with him pursued them unto Gerar: and the
Ethiopians were overthrown, that they could not recover
themselves; for they were destroyed before the Lord, and
before his host; and they carried away very much spoil. And
they smote all the cities round about Gerar; for the fear of
the Lord came upon them: and they spoiled all the cities;
for there was exceeding much spoil in them. They smote
also the tents of cattle, and carried away sheep and camels in
abundance, and returned to Jerusalem.
- 2 Chronicles 14:12-15
This was the multitude referred to in 2 Chronicles 16:8-9 that God delivered into King Asa’s hand when he trusted in and called upon Him:
- Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host,
with very many chariots and horsemen? yet, because thou
didst rely on the Lord, he delivered them into thine hand. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the
whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them
whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done
foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.
- 2 Chronicles 16:8-9
Can you see what King Asa was being rebuked for? Previously, when he was outnumbered nearly two to one, he had trusted God, and God delivered him. This time, instead of trusting and following God by going out to fight, he took the treasures from the temple and palace and sent them to the king of Syria to hire him to fight against Judah’s enemies. The Lord said to Asa, “I had planned on giving the Israelites into your hand, and you would have conquered the Syrians too. But now you’ve gone and made a treaty with the Syrians. Not only have the Israelites escaped out of your hand, but the Syrians have too.” God’s whole plan for King Asa and Judah was thwarted.
Some people think, Well, King Asa was under attack. He just did whatever it took to get out of the situation. What we have to understand is that it’s not a matter of just obtaining the right result—it matters how you got there. It’s not a matter of just getting your needs met—have you trusted God? Ask yourself, have you done all of this through the flesh, in the natural way? In God’s eyes, the journey is more important than the destination.
Shooting for God’s Best
Without knowing it, many of us have compromised. We’ve chosen the world’s way of trying to deal with our lives and problems. By doing so, we’ve limited what God can do in and through us.
Notice King Asa’s response after the prophet Hanani spoke God’s message to him.
- Then Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in a
prison house; for he was in a rage with him because of this
thing. And Asa oppressed some of the people the same time.
- 2 Chronicles 16:10
Asa became angry with the Lord’s messenger and rejected both him and God’s message.
You may not like some of what I’m about to share with you, but you need to let the Lord touch your heart. God’s eyes are searching for those whose hearts are totally His. He’s looking for people who will humble themselves before Him. He wants to bless you more than you want to be blessed. But you need that same attitude that Gideon had where you are sick and tired of being sick and tired and won’t settle for anything less than God’s best. There are reasons why the blessing of God isn’t manifesting in your life more than it is, and it’s never God’s fault. The reality is, we’re always to blame. So, let’s not make the same mistake King Asa did and get mad at the messenger, amen? Let’s humble ourselves before His mighty hand and receive God’s message for us today.
Now, before I start going into specifics, let me preface this by saying that I’m not against anybody. Everything I’m about to call out, I’ve done. But if God speaks to you about something specific, you need to respond.
The Lord loves you wherever you are. Even if you aren’t seeking the things of God, He loves you. If some of the things I’m about to address are in your life, He loves you. His love is unconditional and doesn’t change. But your ability to receive His best for your life is impacted by these things being present in your life. You shouldn’t be just surviving, getting by, and trying to make things work. There truly is a difference between God’s way and the world’s way of doing things.
King Asa obtained his goal. He got the king of Israel to stop building that city. He got out of that bind, but he didn’t do it God’s way. Because of that, 2 Chronicles 16:9 tells us that from then on, he was plagued by wars.
Now, under the Old Covenant, God judged people and did things that He doesn’t do under the New Covenant. Under the New Covenant, He placed all of our judgment upon Jesus, but there are still consequences for our choices. Even though God may not be the one punishing us, what He can do in our lives will be hindered if we don’t do things His way. We do reap results from our decisions.
By winning one war, King Asa had many wars come his way that the Lord never intended. We may obtain our goals too, but are we doing it God’s way and through God’s strength? God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Grace flows to those who submit themselves to and depend on Him.
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