Asa was king of Judah and Benjamin. We read his story in 1 Kings 15 and 2 Chronicles 14-15.
Early in Asa’s reign, Zerah the Ethiopian came against him with a one million man army, nearly double the size of Asa’s army. But, Asa and Judah and Benjamin were successful in battle against Zerah. And, there was peace and no more war for many years.
Later, in the 36th year of Asa’s reign, presumably quite a while after the battle against Zerah, Baasha the king of Israel came to fight against Asa. Asa’s father, Abijah, had fought against Israel and defeated the much larger army of Israel. So, Asa was fighting a weakened Israel under Baasha, an army much smaller than the Ethiopian army. Yet, Asa sought help from the Syrian king to defeat Israel. While he won the battle, from then on he had wars.
What was the difference?
In the first instance, the battle against Zerah, Asa and Judah and Benjamin relied on the Lord. Asa and Judah and Benjamin sought the Lord. Asa recognized his weakness and knew that only the strength of the Lord could save him. When they won the battle, Asa removed all the means of worship of the foreign gods from Judah and Benjamin. Asa and Judah and Benjamin made a covenant to seek the Lord with all their heart and soul.
Most significantly, 2 Chronicles 15:18-19 says, “And he brought into the house of God the sacred gifts of his father and his own sacred gifts, silver, and gold, and vessels. And there was no more war.” Asa brought his treasure into the temple, the house of God, and there was peace.
But, in the second instance, Asa took silver and gold from the treasures of the temple, the house of God, and made a covenant with Ben-hadad the king of Syria.
See the difference? In the first instance, Asa knew he was weak. He relied on God and sought him with all his heart and soul. Therefore, he had peace. In the second instance, Asa took what was precious to him and God and gave it to a foreign king, a king of this world. He relied on his strength and wealth and earthly power. Therefore, he had wars.
In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do no break in a steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” After the first battle, Asa brought his treasure to the temple, the house of God, heaven. He put his heart there and had peace. Before the second battle, Asa removed his treasure from the temple, the house of God, heaven. His heart turned away from God and he had wars, dying just a few years later.
When we put our treasure in heaven, our heart is with God. Our trust is in Him. Then, and only then, can we have the promise of Philippians 4:6-7, which says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”