After the reign of Solomon, the nation of Israel became divided in a civil war. The northern tribes -- called Israel -- fell into apostasy. The southern tribes (mainly Judah) went through a roller coaster ride of good kings and bad kings.
One of the good kings, Asa, introduced far-reaching reforms designed to bring the nation back to God. He destroyed all the idol worship. He commanded his people to seek the Lord and to obey His commands. He even removed the queen mother from her position because she had made an Ashorah pole to worship.
During his reign, the Cushites (Ethiopians) mounted armies to come against Judah. Asa prayed to the Lord, and the Lord struck down (actually the text says "crushed") the Cushites. All Judah had to do was go in and collect the spoils of the "battle."
But when Israel declared war against Judah, Asa paid Syria to be their allies. Syria agreed, after being paid a huge sum of money.
For this action, God sent his prophet Hanani to Asa. He reminded Asa how the Lord had delivered him from the powerful Cushites. He chided Asa for not turning to the Lord when Israel declared war. Instead he turned to the pagan Syrians. The prophet said, (2 Chronicles 16: 7-9) "For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war."
Asa's response? Anger. He threw Hanani into prison, and oppressed some of his people.
Scripture goes on to tell us that later in his life, Asa developed a disease in his feet. Though the disease was severe, he never sought the Lord's help, but only the help of his physicians.
As I read the story, I couldn't help but think about how often the Lord delivers me. Yet, the next bind I find myself in -- I am looking for fleshly, material means of deliverance. I wonder how negatively that might affect my spiritual growth? If God basically removed His blessing from Asa for looking to men rather to God for deliverance, might He do the same with me today? Just a thought.