But Asa's day of failure comes (2 Chronicles 16). When Baasha, king of Israel, came up against Judah, and built Ramah in order to hinder the Israelites from going up to the temple, Asa makes a league with Syria. He has recourse to Ben-hadad and says, "There is a league between me and thee, as there was between my father and thy father; behold, I have sent thee silver and gold; go, break thy league with Baasha, king of Israel, that he may depart from me." Ben-hadad accordingly stopped the building of Ramah by the king of Israel. "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 Jehovah thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thy hand."
How remarkable is the government of God. Whatever wrong step we do to accomplish an end, not only does it not accomplish it, but it brings its own chastening with it. The very thing we least desire comes upon us. God would not only have hindered Israel, but Syria. Instead of this, the host of the king of Syria escaped out of his hands. The consequence was that, convicted of his folly as well as of his sin, Asa was wroth with the seer and put him in a prison house; and as one evil leads on to another, Asa oppressed some of the people at the same time. But God oppressed him, or, at any rate, chastised him, for he was diseased in his feet; and the same unbelief that sent him to Ben-hadad sent him now to men when he ought to have looked to Jehovah. We must remember that the grand point in Israel was that they had God to care for them. It was not like the case of men now who look to God to bless the means that are at hand; but in Israel there was a special testimony of God's being looked to in every trouble; and in this, Asa, although he had been a faithful man, failed seriously, and very solemnly too, at the close. I do not say that he was not a man of God, but I do say that there was great and grievous failure.