Then Asa called to the LORD his God and said, “LORD, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. O LORD, you are our God; do not let man prevail against you.
– 2 Chronicles 14:11, NIV-1978
Israel and Judah had so many horrible kings that it is refreshing to read of a good one. Asa, the great-grandson of King Solomon, was one of the better kings of Judah.
This prayer from Asa can serve as a model of the way a Christ-follower can cry out to God when all odds are against us.
In Asa’s case, his army numbered around 580,000 foot soldiers. That sounds like a lot, but the invading army of Ethiopians (your Bible may call them Cushites) under the command of Zerah, numbered one million or better1 – almost twice that of Asa – and Zerah had 300 chariots to support that army.
The LORD struck down the Cushites before Asa and Judah. The Cushites fled, and Asa and his army pursued them as far as Gerar. Such a great number of Cushites fell that they could not recover; they were crushed before the LORD and his forces.
– 2 Chronicles 14:12-13a, NIV-1978
Scripture abounds with similar examples of God’s people, collectively or individually, prevailing in the face of overwhelming odds. I have a brief video series I did a few years back titled, “Not Your Battle” that highlights a number of these events. You can see those here if you scroll about three-quarters of the way down the page.
We saw this with Abram when he defeated Kedorlaomer and the kings that had allied with him. Kedorlaomer had taken Abram’s nephew, Lot, and his household captive.2 We saw this with Hezekiah when the ruthless Sennacherib was threatening to capture Jerusalem.3 We saw it with Jonathan who attacked an outpost of Philistine soldiers with just one sword and his unarmed armor-bearer.4 We saw it with young David when he took down Goliath, a man the entire army of Saul was afraid to face.5
Christ-follower, you need nothing outside of what you already have to overcome in any battle against Satan and sin.
What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?
– Romans 8:31, NIV-1978
The danger with this verse is it is easy to read that and assume God is on our side. It is a subtle distinction, but I don’t believe that’s the way to look at it. It’s not that God fights for us because he is on our side, but rather he will fight for us when we are on his side. God does not align with us. We align with God. It is then that God protects his own.
Perhaps the best way to illustrate this is by returning to our opening verse and king, Asa.
The Spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded. He went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The LORD is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.”
– 2 Chronicles 15:1-2, NIV-1978
Brothers and sisters, this is an exceedingly strong message from Azariah to the godly Asa. Military might, financial backing, political alignment – all of that is futile if we are not aligned with God.
Our help is in the name of the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
– Psalm 124:8, NIV-1978
1. The text literally reads “an army of a thousand thousands.” It could be taken as “thousands upon thousands.” Suffice it to say, his army was huge.
2. Genesis 14:1-16
3. 2 Kings 19:1-37
4. 1 Samuel 14:1-14
5. 1 Samuel 17:1-58