God Helps Those Who Rely on Him (2 Chronicles 16:9)
[For] the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him… —2 Chronicles 16:9
I love the mental image of God actively looking over the whole earth to strongly help those in need. His eyes, says our passage, run. They are not slow to see our need. But what about us, are we slow to look to Him for help?
2 Chronicles 16 describes the king of Judah, under threat from the king of Israel, having forgotten God’s mighty deeds and His past faithfulness. Instead of appealing to God’s covenant and relying on His protection, King Asa reminds a pagan king of an old security agreement saying, “There is a covenant between me and you. …Go, break your covenant with Baasha king of Israel, that he may withdraw from me” (v. 3).
When Hanani the seer comes to rebuke Asa, he reminds him of an earlier time when he did rely on the Lord and how God delivered his kingdom from the Libyans and Ethiopians—nations with even bigger armies than their current foes.
Why did God deliver them in the past but not now? Because “the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.” That was then. But now, says Hanani, “you have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars” (v. 9). Asa’s military defeat was a matter of his heart. He was not relying on the Lord, he was not blameless toward Him.
Yet, three years later, Asa doubles down. This time his problem is medical, not military. He was “diseased in his feet, and his disease became severe,” says the text. “Yet even in his disease he did not seek the LORD, but sought help from physicians” (v. 12).
It’s hard not to agree that Asa had done foolishly. I find myself wondering how he could miss something so obvious and reject help so strong. And yet, do I stop at the first sign of trouble and pray? When the car breaks down, when I have a relational conflict, when work is hard, when funds are tight, do I look to God in faith before I do anything else? Sometimes. But not always. Often my first thought is to google a solution. Or to mull the problem over in my own mind, certain I can solve it like a puzzle. Hanani’s words are a timely rebuke: why would I ever rely on myself, or human advisers, or the world’s wisdom? Only God is worthy of faith. And for those who depend on Him, He is pleased to give His strong support.
John Piper says about this verse,
God aims to exalt himself by working for those who wait for him. Prayer is the essential activity of waiting for God–acknowledging our helplessness and his power, calling upon him for help, seeking his counsel.…
Since his purpose in the world is to be exalted for his mercy, it is evident why prayer is so often commanded by God. Prayer is the antidote for the disease of self-confidence, which opposes God’s goal of getting glory by working for those who wait for him….
The gospel is not a help-wanted ad.…the gospel commands us to give up and hang out a help-wanted sign (this is the basic meaning of prayer). Then the gospel promises that God will work for us if we do. (Actively Waiting)
As I was meditating on Asa’s folly, I subconsciously started humming a tune from a lullaby long forgotten: “Little ones to Him belong, they are weak, but He is strong.” Jesus loves me! The Bible is true! But in order to receive His strong help, I must receive the kingdom like a little, weak child. This is the point of our passage. We must acknowledge our weakness in order to receive God’s strong help. What a mighty mercy.
When are you inclined to look to professionals first for solutions to your problems? Does the ease of getting answers online tempt you away from praying in dependence?
Ask God to help you rely on Him. Marvel that felt weakness is no reason to avoid God, but the very quality He answers with strong help.
When you feel low on faith, pray like the man in Mark 9:24, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
Candice Watters is the FighterVerses editor. She is married to Steve Watters, Truth78's director of marketing and resource development. She is mom to Harrison, Zoe, Churchill, and Teddy and co-author with Steve of Start Your Family: Inspiration for Having Babies. The Watterses love helping parents learn how to disciple their children.