We’re learning about prayer by studying those who prayed! Not via a textbook or lecture or some other means. It’s almost a biographical approach to the subject.
And many in the Bible prayed!
It’s been happening since Genesis 4:26. “Then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.” That’s a long time ago, numerous centuries, several millennia in fact.
Today I’d like us to briefly study one of Judah’s Kings, Asa by name. Not that the man is perfect, no one is! He had many lessons to learn, and even died not pleasing the Lord.
But on one impressive occasion he sure did pray!
“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 were mighty men of valour. 9 And there came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian with an host of a thousand thousand, and three hundred chariots; and came unto Mareshah. 10 Then Asa went out against him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. 11 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. 12 So the LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled.” 2nd Chronicles 14:8-12
I realize the Bible skeptics will question these numbers, saying they are impossibilities. Did the Text say 300,000 soldiers out of Judah, and 280,000 more out of little Benjamin?
YES, and I plan to believe that Text!
But still, with all those men, King Asa was in the minority, his whole army adding up to about half that of his enemy. The Ethiopians had a million man army. “A thousand thousand!”
Out-manned 2 to 1, what’s a leader to do?
By the way, though comparatively few, these young Jewish fighters are skilled troops. “Mighty men of valor,” with the noun “valor” being “chayil” in Hebrew, a major word for “power, ability, efficiency!”
Still … so few in the face of so many?
Again, what do you do?
Call for help from some ungodly source?
Or … as Asa here did … TELL ALMIGHTY GOD!
Our Scripture again: “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.” 2nd Chronicles 14:11
“God, Thou are bigger than any enemy army!”
“This formidable foe is NOTHING to Thee!”
The Hebrew is “ayin,” an adverb of negation. It means “0” … zero … naught … inconsequential!
God can conquer a million man army before breakfast, so to speak! At least according to Asa’s rather bold faith on this memorable day of battle.
PRAYING WHEN THE ODDS ARE INSURMOUNTABLE!
PRAYING WHEN THE OUTLOOK IS BLEAK!
PRAYING WHEN NO ONE ELSE BELIEVES IN YOUR CASE!
PRAYING FOR GREAT THINGS!
“Help us,” O Lord, the King’s very words.
This is the Hebrew verb “azar,” meaning “to offer succor,” to give “support.” And I looked at the etymology of that verb “to succor.” It’s from the Latin infinitive “succurrere,” meaning “to hurry with help!” In fact “currure” alone means “to run!” LORD, COME RUNNING PLEASE! WE NEED THY STRENGTH!
What arguments, what reasons why God should come and help …
We’re resting (trusting) in Thee!
We’re fighting today “in Thy Name!”
We desire to see no man “prevail” against Thee!
Asa did know how to pray!
But … with what results?
Our last verse today: “So the LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled.” 2nd Chronicles 14:12, word for word.
The verb “smote” means “put to the worse,” five times it does in the King James Version. Given the “plague” 3 more times! And killed (“slain”) 2 times. The Ethiopians, the numerically superior force, lost the battle that day. Defeated by the Lord of Hosts!
Because of a praying man.
And because of an awesome God!
The resources of a vast enemy army were “nothing” to a godly man who knew the “Resources” of God in Heaven!
But, can we pray like that?
Asking for such BIG things?
Jeremiah 33:3, with God doing the talking. “Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”
I guess we can then … also ask for BIG things too!
Praise the Lord.
— Dr. Mike Bagwell