IN THY NAME WE GO AGAINST THIS MULTITUDE
“And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee.” (2 Chronicles 14:11)
Asa was a personality in Biblical history to which not a great amount of space is dedicated; nonetheless, his position is one that commands admiration. The faith which he possessed is humiliating to most of Christianity in many respects, while at the same time provoking the Spiritual senses, tenderly admonishing the present day saint that it is the same God now, as then, and these immaculate bestowals of sovereign grace still may abundantly be shed forth through the effectual vocation of the Son of God.
We are not daring to insinuate that every child of God is enjoying the heavenly places in Christ, simply because the Scriptures state that he can delight in such intimate bliss. There are much greater manifestations of Spiritual revelation which most hitherto have not romanced (Ephesians 3:11-12, 16; John 17:13). So once again, the Old Testament magnifies the eternal power of Israel’s God, while Christianity today at best, only discourages those glorious triumphant exploits of Jehovah God in bygone days. Paralyzed by present spiritual immobility, anticipating no miraculous successes for the current time, but rather fly off into the future like a scurrying bird and rest in the thought of that sweet by and by; content, one would assume, to remain buried in spiritual numbness which is characterized by no greater conquests than some occasional Bible reading, and the expectations are either clear gone forever in Old Testament victories, or just around the next corner in days to come. Away with such thinking! Let God send Asa to the rescue. In the name of Jesus, let all go against this multitude. Whether it be unbelief, sin, despair, the Law, distress, persecution, famine, weakness—physically, spiritually, or morally, haughtiness, arrogance, sloth, pride, and all of the other spiritual enemies that saturate our heavenly calling.
Consider if you will Asa’s situation. “And there came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian with a host of a thousand thousand and three hundred chariots; and came unto Mareshah” as they filled the valley of Zephathah. It was then that Asa considered not the obstacles set before him, but rather he had respect unto the omnipotent God who Asa knew was giving the Order, the Controller, and the Consummator of everything.
The Scriptures teach that Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the Lord (2 Chronicles 14:2). Election—what a marvelous portion of wonder. What caused this man to differ? Was it not the mighty God who setteth up one and teareth down another? Faith, whose Author and Finisher is Christ, knows but one direction when its present anxieties are pushed forth in heart-felt dependent requests. To God, to God, to God it must go and Asa cried unto the Lord his God.
Asa was a God-honoring, God-loving, Spiritual champion. He flogged idolatrous practices like Joshua fell on Jericho. “For he took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves.” (2 Chronicles 14:3)
Judah had a king, a man sent from God—Asa, immersed with convictions, permeated with power, and fortified with faith that would shake the nation. God endowed this vessel with such Spiritual integrity that his forceful commands became spiritual invitations which commended respect from the brethren, and sanction and validity from the Most High God. “And commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandments. Also he took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the images and the kingdom was quiet before him. And he built fenced cities in Judah: for the land had rest, and he had no war in those years; because the Lord had given him rest.” (2 Chronicles 14: 4-6)
A vessel so highly favored and honored of the marvelous God, should be assured that the Devil is going to soon put forth his satanic warfare which is devised to destroy the dove, the darling, and the heart throb of the Almighty. When the battle is in array and the enemy commands his troops, innumerable though they be, it is then the child must cry unto the Lord our God. Asa said, “Lord, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power…” Asa knew the battle was the Lord’s. God was his battle-ax; convinced by God-wrought conviction that the greater the number of the enemy, the more awe inspiring would be the great God’s victory.
The grand old sage had evidently been taught, as would be later the Apostle Paul, that if God be for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31) As far as Asa was concerned, numbers were just so much mathematics. Whether it be all the powers of hell, or whether it be no power at all, God was the determining factor. A host of 1,000,000 and chariots numbering 300 to say the least was a sizeable opponent!—a great burden to Asa were he to fight this multitude without the aid of God. But what is that multitude to God? Asa said, it is nothing. Would it be a strain on Omnipotence? Again, our hero exalts the power of his Lord. He simply states, it is nothing with Thee to help. Faith goes on a little further, and once again we stand in awe as we watch the faithful fervent prayer of a righteous man availing much. The soon conqueror faithfully asked, help us O Lord our God; and that was enough said. Notice the reaction and the position that faith so soon contracts. “. . . for we rest on thee…” Faith is always asked to believe the impossible. Even the most courageous faith, hoping for miraculous things, will often times stagger. Oh for the grace of God to rest in the Lord!
Why was it that in the days of the pilgrimage through the wilderness that so many of them never entered the promise land? The answer, according to Scripture, is that they did not rest, like Asa did rest, but rather were denied such because of unbelief. “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God…So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it…Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief” There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” (Hebrews 3:12, 19; 4:1-2, 6, 9-11)
To rest in the Lord is quite forcefully annunciated as ceasing from one’s own works, regardless of how astronomical the opponent, how vicious his steaming threats, or how prevailing his past successes. It is in the name of Jesus that we go against this multitude.
Asa, being desirous of God’s glory, carried his confidence in God to the extremities of Spirit-led boldness, by declaring into the ears of the Almighty One that He must fight the battle, for it was His glory that was at stake. Not only would that arrogant Ethiopian bolster his insidious victory over Israel, he would also chide, mimic, and dishonor the only God that is God. Asa concluded the short prayer with a dozen words which dripped with eternity’s power as they soared through the Spiritual channels of immutability and cranked the affections, touched the tenderness, and sweetly embraced the cords of love….”O Lord, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee.”
Your heart will take an extra beat as you anticipate the reaction, the answer from this God, who is so much God, that the creation must cover its face and sigh, ‘woe is me—too unworthy to be privileged to have knowledge of such a great Lord.’ Yes, 12 words uprooted and overthrew the enemies of Asa. “So the Lord smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled.” (2 Chronicles 14:12)
What might believers learn from Asa? “for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude.”
In the great name of Jesus! It is faith granted from God that magnifies His name. Well might Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, declare in His intercessory prayer, “I have manifested thy name…”(John 17:6): Faith in God, obedience without blemish or flaw; righteousness replete with perfection; exploits so rich with incomprehensible Deity—truly, doth magnify the name of God. Faith grips on to the immaculate perfections of Jesus, rests in His perfect work, and deems all other actions and reactions as habitual emptiness. Faith ceases from its own works, trusts in Christ’s commands, while it also convincingly entreats, that we go against all insurmountable obstacles in the name that is above every name, and rest in the completed work of God’s favorite of all, His Prize, His Glory, His only begotten Son—JESUS.
Sin, the chief of all the enemies—Lucifer’s bloodstream, the quagmire of his sadistic constitution. He is as immersed in its filthiness as he will one day be engulfed in the flames of the Lake of Fire. How do we go against sin? We are sinners by nature. We are fallen. We are depraved, and every day is but a continual manifestation of the rottenness that still encumbers our being, retards our progress, and deadens our senses. It is in the name of Christ Jesus we go against this multitude. Sin has been defeated in Christ. He answers in our stead. “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray, but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls…For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the spirit. For he hath made him to be sin for us. Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (1 Peter 2:24-25; 3:18; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
The Law as holy righteous, and good as it is, if it be not satisfied, we must deem it an enemy. How do we go against this multitude? These Holy Oracles? Ah, yes tis once again in the name of Jesus we go against this multitude. The Law was satisfied in Christ our Saviour. “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it…But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us. Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances, for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father…For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law. That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise. Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved…For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” (Colossians 2:14-15; Ephesians 2:13-18; Romans 10:4-9, John 1:17)
In the name of Jesus we go against this multitude and in the name of Jesus we rest. The Old Testament priesthood knew only a Levitical origin, save the case of Melchizedek. Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, sprang from the tribe of Judah of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning the priesthood. A change in the priesthood must make necessary a change of the Law. For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.” (Hebrews 7:12).
The question might be asked, why a change? The answers are quite evident: “For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God…Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:19, 25)
The Law could make nothing perfect, neither could it save. “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:19-20).
The Law could not save, nor could it make anything perfect because the Law had a fault—it was weak through the flesh and could not compensate for that weakness. “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” (Romans 8:3).
It is then that the author of Hebrews makes what at first appears a glaring statement, but the peace that ushers in from his declaration is more than heart can endure. “For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.” (Hebrews 8:7).
Another covenant now takes the place of the first one and the New Covenant we find is of grace and mercy, two attributes of which the first covenant knew nothing. The Law kills and knows no mercy, whereas grace is made of mercy and mercy is made of grace, and Christ is the author of them both. “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” (Hebrews 8:12).
Through the offering of Jesus we are sanctified in Him. “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10). Through the offering of Jesus we are perfected forever. “For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:14).
The admonition then to the children of God is to remain faithful and rest in the name of Jesus. Let all draw near. Let all hold fast. Let all consider. “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering (for he is faithful that promised). And let us consider…” (Hebrews 10:22-24a).
It is true that the children of God will be tried by the same promises for which they wait. But when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.” (Psalms 105:19 & Proverbs 13:12) “For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.” (Hebrews 6: 13-15)
Still, let all rest in the name of Jesus and anticipate greater recompense of reward. “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. (Hebrews 10:35-37).
Faith granted of God rests in God’s Son, Jesus Christ the righteous. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen…But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that DILIGENTLY seek him.” (Hebrews 11:1, 6).
Let us hear then the conclusion of the whole matter—in the name of Jesus we go against this multitude! “. . . and they carried away very much spoil.”