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...'
And in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa became diseased in his feet, and his malady was severe; yet in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but the physicians. So Asa rested with his fathers; he died in the forty-first year of his reign.
Then Joab gave the sum of the number of the people to the king. And there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men who drew the sword, and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.
And David's heart condemned him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the Lord, 'I have sinned greatly in what I have done; but now, I pray, O Lord, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly.'
King Asa was a good king, but he ended badly. At the beginning of his reign, 'An army of a million men' (2 Chronicles 14:9) came up against him. He and Judah were hopelessly outnumbered.
'And Asa cried out to the Lord his God, and said, 'Lord, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on You, and in Your Name we go against this multitude' ' (v.11). God won and King Asa prospered--until he fell into the pit of manpower.
King David was a great king, and he ended well. But he made one other big mistake (besides Bathsheba): from pride, he took a census and numbered his men--to consider just how powerful he had become. David repented, but Israel suffered greatly.
Depending on man is a pitfall with a powerful pull. If Kings Asa and David can slip, so can the best of us. Turning to men is a timeless temptation. 'There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death' (Proverbs 14:12). 'For the help of man is useless' (Psalm 60:11, Psalm 108:12).
Satan disguises this pitfall as worldly wisdom and manly might. Sadly, our 21st century kings have learned little; great rulers of great nations swagger and pose with bulging muscles--like body builders in a deadly competition.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: we are nothing more than vapor: shooting stars in the dark skies of media. We are nothing more than dust: created in His Image for such a time as this. We are nothing more than weak: 'For power is perfected in weakness' (1 Corinthians 12:9).
Therein, 'We are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us' (Romans 8:37). We 'Can do all things through Christ, Who strengthens' us (Philippians 4:13).
'Because greater is He Who is in you than he who is in the world' (1 John 4:4). So don't trust in manpower. Trust in God-power. King Asa knew and forgot. King David knew, forgot and remembered. So you remember, too:
'Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the Name of the Lord our God' (Psalm 20:7). ***
To Be Continued...
* King Asa's Mistake: http://www.bible.ca/ef/expository-1-kings-15-9-24.htm
** King David's other big mistake: http://www.mountainretreatorg.net/faq/davidcensus.shtml
*** God's help: excellent Scripture reminders: http://www.seekgod.org/bible/godshelp.html
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Christian Pitfalls series.