The Valley of Zephathah (II Chron. 14:1-11). Zephathah means “place of watching,” therefore this is the Valley of Watching. This is the valley that Asa had to face and again, this is a valley where a battle takes place. This is the valley where the child of God Watches what the Lord does! In the account given of Asa’s reign, we find that “In his days the land was quiet ten years” (v. 1). This king’s reign began with no battles, and during those ten years Asa was busy for he spent those first ten years of his reign doing the things that would strengthen God’s people spiritually. What he did was preparation for a battle that would come later. Asa took away several things and he built several things. For everything taken away in our lives that are defiling or hurtful, the Lord adds that which will strengthen, but the taking away comes first.
Asa “took away the altars of the strange gods” (v. 3) and he “took away the high places and the images.” Then once those things were taken away he commanded God’s people “to seek the Lord God of their fathers and to do (obey) the law and commandment” of the Lord” (v. 5). He begins to lay a foundation that will strengthen God’s people spiritually. But Ask doesn’t stop there, he not only begins a work that builds up the people spiritually, but he focuses on a need that is natural. As “build fenced cities in Judah” (v. 7), he made walls about the cities (v. 8). He prepared an army, “mighty men of valor,” 300,000 from Judah and 260,000 from Benjamin. Asa did all this when there was no war, and no treat, but all these preparations, both spiritual and natural were necessary.
At the end of ten years the enemy rose up against God’s people, a million strong, but Asa was ready and went out to meet them. The place where the battle took place was the “valley of Zephathah” or the “Place of watching.” This is the place where they would watch the Lord deliver them. “Then Asa went out against him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah” (II Chron. 14:10). Asa, though he has an army, though he has fortified his cities, though he has prepared the people by telling them to seek the Lord, he is still dependant upon the Lord. Asa goes to the Lord in prayer, for he knows that any victory and strength must come from the Lord. He cries unto the Lord and says, “help us, O Lord our God; for we rest in thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude, thou art our God; let not man prevail against us” (v. 11).
This valley which was a “place of watching” was also a place of resting, it is a resting in the Lord, an utter trusting in the Lord, though the enemy could not see this. Asa knew that he would have to fight this battle, he went into this valley prepared to fight, but he also knew that because the people had sought the Lord for ten years and obeyed His commandments that they would fight in the strength their God provided, in the strength they found in His name. When the battle began, “the Lord smote the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah” (v. 12). Who smote the enemy ? The Lord did. An enemy army of over one million strong set against a little over 500,000 and what happened? That great multitude fled before the people of the Lord and “they were destroyed before the Lord, and before His host” (v. 13). There is the key to their victory, it is the Lord and His host, and the two cannot be separated. The king and the people watched the Lord deliver them. It was the Lord Who defeated the enemy but He did it through His people. He fought with them and he fought through them. Sometimes the Lord goes before us and fights the battle and sometimes He wants us to fight, sometimes we cannot avoid a spiritual battle with the enemy. But whether we do nothing or whether He fights through us, the battle is still His and the victory is still His. We watch what He does and rejoice in the victory!
To be continued