Asa set the battle in array first, and then he prayed. Effort and prayer go well together.
I. The prayer rises by three flights to the height of supreme confidence.—Asa knows that his army is outnumbered, and fears Zerah’s chariots, which were not used in the Hebrew armies. But faith can afford to see clearly the weakness of its resources and yet to count on victory, for it counts on God.
II. So Asa’s second flight rose above the first by its asking for needed and possible help, and basing the petition on the two pleas that it was faith that asked and faith and obedience that had made him and his men dare this unequal fight.—Our reliance on God gives us a claim on Him which it is impossible that He should not recognise. God never dishonours faith’s drafts. And He never sends us ‘a warfare at our own charges.’
III. Asa’s third flight rises still higher, for in it he, as it were, effaces himself and his troops altogether, and puts Jehovah in their place as the real antagonist of Zerah.—Because God is their God, and they are fighting in and for His name, the lustre of victory or the shame of defeat will be God’s, not theirs. It is the daring of faith thus to identify our cause with God’s, to lose ourselves in Him, and it is blasphemous to do so unless we have done as Asa did—gone into the fight depending on God and for His glory.
‘Asa’s prayer is a model for all who are going forth to meet an enemy. It would be a good prayer to offer at the head of an army before a battle. The several points of this prayer should be noticed particularly. Note, first, Asa’s plea, based upon God’s power—“it is nothing with Thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power.” God has omnipotence in His arm, and can as well give victory against a million as against ten. This ought to give us comfort and confidence in danger. God’s power never can be overmatched. Note, next, the appeal to the love of God—“Help us, O Lord our God; for we rely on Thee.” Any strong man knows how an appeal to his love and sympathy and his kindness of heart moves him. This is, indeed, a moving prayer. God loves nothing in us more than to have us throw ourselves with childlike confidence upon His goodness and grace. Note, third, that the battle was the Lord’s, and that therefore the king could appeal to God for help. “In Thy name we are come against this multitude.” The plea made was that, since the battle was the Lord’s, and Asa’s army was standing for God, therefore no man should be permitted to prevail against God.’