The Lord often uses people we wouldn’t think He would, to bring about what He chooses. He uses people who belong to the enemy to discipline His chosen. Consider Habakkuk 1:5-11 where God uses wicked and depraved Babylon. The Lord will bring good out of bad for those who love and follow Him. (Romans 8:28-29). And remember, we are sealed with and indwelled with the Holy Spirit, we are Children of The LORD, and we are coheirs with Christ. We can take the bad situations and use them for good too. Let’s read about Asa and Baasha.
While Asa, a king who followed the Lord and cleansed the land of idolatry ruled in Judah, another kind of king ruled over Israel. First was Nadab, he did evil in the sight of The Lord and reigned only 2 years. He had such a short reign because Baasha from the house of Issachar, conspired against him while Israel under Nadab’s rule was laying siege to Gibbethon of Philistia. During the battle Baasha killed the king to take Israel’s throne for himself. Verses 29-30 speak of his first act as Israel’s king.
“And as soon as he was king, he killed all the house of Jeroboam. He left to the house of Jeroboam not one that breathed, until he had destroyed it, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by his servant Ahijah the Shilonite. 30 It was for the sins of Jeroboam that he sinned and that he made Israel to sin, and because of the anger to which he provoked the Lord, the God of Israel.”
This evil man fulfilled the prophecy of The Lord about Jeroboam’s line because of the immensity of that king’s evil. (1 Kings 14:11-16). This was a revolting act propagated by a malicious man, yet he did what The Lord had prophesied.
Baasha and Asa were constantly at war with each other. Baasha decided to build Ramah to stop people from being able to go in or out of Judah. This meant people couldn’t travel to The Temple in Jerusalem to worship The Lord in truth. Asa love the Lord and so he cared about the people of Judah. People needed to be able to come in and out of the nation freely. But he also cared about the people of Israel who still needed to worship The Lord. So Asa had a plan. Verses 18-21 read,
“Then Asa took all the silver and the gold that were left in the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king's house and gave them into the hands of his servants. And King Asa sent them to Ben-hadad the son of Tabrimmon, the son of Hezion, king of Syria, who lived in Damascus, saying, 19 “Let there be a covenant between me and you, as there was between my father and your father. Behold, I am sending to you a present of silver and gold. Go, break your covenant with Baasha king of Israel, that he may withdraw from me.” 20 And Ben-hadad listened to King Asa and sent the commanders of his armies against the cities of Israel and conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel-beth-maacah, and allChinneroth, with all the land of Naphtali. 21 And when Baasha heard of it, he stopped building Ramah, and he lived in Tirzah.”
Baasha thought he had a friend in Syria, but Ben-hadad the king of Syria could be bought. And Asa made a covenant with him and paid him a nice price for the treaty. Syria turned on Baasha and Baasha could no longer build Ramah. Then Asa declared that every citizen had to gather the building materials left behind. Verse 22 reads,
“Then King Asa made a proclamation to all Judah, none was exempt, and they carried away the stones of Ramah and its timber, with which Baasha had been building, and with them King Asa built Geba of Benjamin and Mizpah.”
Asa destroyed an evil deed and made it something good. Baasha was not concerned with anything but himself. Asa cared about God’s people. When we put the Lord first, it follows naturally that we will love people because He does. That is why Jesus connected two great commandments and said that in those two all the laws and the prophets are fulfilled. He said it this way in Matthew 22:37-40,
“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
The second, the command to love your neighbor as yourself is like the command to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind. (Mark 12:30 and Luke 10:27 both include the word strength.) Loving your neighbor, other people is like loving The Lord! That is profound. But John goes on to tell us if we do not love others, we cannot claim to love God. We’re liars is we say we love God yet don’t love others. 1 John 4:12-21 reads,
“No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
We have The Spirit of God within us, perfecting us making us more and more like Christ every day that we allow Him to. He uses the suffering we experience, be they consequences of our sins or persecution for championing Christ to bring us closer to perfection.
We don’t have to freak out about the bad stuff. We can actually rejoice in suffering, pain, and all the bad stuff. God uses it for our good. We have God within us, we can use it for good too. We can encourage, comfort, and bring about good for others. Jesus has compassion for us, He understands what we suffer. (Hebrews 2:17-18, Hebrews 4:14-16). Jesus had compassion and He did something about the pain, weakness, and illness people faced. Matthew 9:35-38 reads,
“And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
We are called to do something about it as well. People suffer. We suffer. But The Lord comforts and heals. We can bring people into God’s Kingdom and work good out of the bad.