A constant in Israel’s history after they entered the Promised Land was that they achieved military victories when they relied on the LORD and were defeated when they did not. After the kingdom was divided, the LORD began to protect Judah when they fought against the rest of the nation of Israel. It says in 2 Chronicles 13:18, “Thus the children of Israel were brought under at that time, and the children of Judah prevailed, because they relied upon the LORD God of their fathers.”
Even though Judah had less military strength, they were able to live securely and were blessed by God. Through the prophet Azariah, God delivered a message to Asa, saying, “The LORD is with you, while you be with him; and if you seek him, he will be found of you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you” (2 Chronicles 15:2). The words with, seek, and found, as well as forsake, have to do with location. They convey the idea of traveling together, what we refer to today as walking with the Lord.
The notion that God could or should be found, implied that he was not restricted to the temple as most people thought. The Hebrew word translated found in 2 Chronicles 15:2 is mâtsâ’ (maw – tsaw´). “Matsa’ refers to ‘finding’ someone or something that is lost or misplaced, or ‘finding’ where it is” (4672). Properly translated, matsa’ means to come forth, to appear or exist. God wanted to live among his people and be a part of their everyday lives. In order for that to be possible, the people had to pay attention to what was going on in the spiritual realm. They had to seek God with their heart so that they could get their spiritual eyes on him.
The problem was that the people had no faith. The material world was constantly vying for the Israelites attention. When Asa, king of Judah got a message from the LORD, he listened and obeyed, but when it came to asking for help, Asa relied on the wealth of resources around him. In particular, the alliances Solomon formed with the nations surrounding Israel became a stumbling block to Asa. Toward the end of Asa’s reign, when Israel came up against Judah, instead of seeking the LORD, Asa asked the king of Syria for help.
A prophet in the Old Testament was sometimes referred to as a “seer” (2 Chronicles 16:7). The term seer literally means to see (7200), so the question then is, what did they see? Although it is likely a seer had dreams and visions, messages from God in pictorial form, it is possible that a seer was someone who could perceive the spiritual realm and was aware of God’s activity. In 2 Chronicles 16:7-9 is recorded a message delivered to Asa by Hanani the seer. Hanani does not say, thus says the LORD and there is no indication that the LORD sent Hanani to Asa to deliver a message. It could be that Hanani was merely communicating to Asa what he had seen, what he was aware of with regards to Asa’s relationship with the LORD.
After Asa received the message, it says in 2 Chronicles 16:10, “Then Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in a prison house; for he was in a rage with him because of this thing.” Asa had not committed a sin. His heart was perfect toward the LORD. The only thing Hanani pointed out to Asa was that he had acted foolishly by relying on the king of Syria instead of God. I believe the reason Asa went into a rage was because he had been found out. Hanani told Asa what was in his heart. Asa had lost his faith.