“And Asa cried to the Lord his God, ‘O Lord, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.’ So the Lord defeated the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
This is a simple point, really, but one worth repeating over and over again because of how easily we forget it. When we face problems that both seem and are in fact beyond what we can handle, we need to turn to the Lord in prayer. There and only there will we find the hope and help we need to overcome whatever is before us.
Asa and the people of Israel were facing an army of Ethiopians (and Libyans we later learn) that the text tells us was over a million strong. Now, was the army literally that big? That’s a question many folks will ask. The problem is created by many English translations trying to smooth out the Hebrew that is clunky if translated literally. The Hebrew more literally reads that the army was a thousand thousands large. Well, what’s a thousand times a thousand? A million. Boom. Translated. But, that’s almost certainly not intended to be understood as a literal number, but rather a more symbolic description of a really, really large army.
The point is that this army was multiple times larger than was the army of king Asa and the people of Judah. They were facing a force that should have overwhelmed them entirely and left them utterly destroyed.
Asa did the only thing he could: He cried out to God. Actually, that’s not the only thing he could have done. Later in his story he faced the king of Israel building up fortifications along the border between the two nations and paid off the king of Syria to attack them in order to divert their attention and strike during the chaos. God sent a prophet to rebuke him for not trusting Him in this situation as he did when facing the Ethiopian myriads. Ironically, the situations when we don’t feel quite totally overwhelmed are the ones we are less likely to trust in the Lord for our hope and help than when we do feel totally overwhelmed.
Still, in this case, Asa cries out to God and He saves them. Now, this doesn’t mean His help will come similarly in every situation. Each challenge we face is different and He knows what we need in each one. If we will trust Him, He will provide it when the time is right. If we don’t cry out to Him and willingly receive the help He offers, though, we will have none of it.
When life threatens to overwhelm you, cry out to the Lord. He will give you the hope and help you need to face whatever it is that’s before you.