Have you ever had a light bulb moment where you got an idea that seemed so awesome, so perfect that it just HAD to be from God, right? I am an idea person. I am always coming up with some great idea and getting all excited and invested in it. Ask my husband - he's the one who is always talking me down as I'm getting ready to leap before I look.
Don't get me wrong - ideas, dreams, plans - those things are good things. But just because it seems like a good idea doesn't mean that it is God's plan for you. Take for instance David - he got the idea of building a temple for the ark. After all, he had this great palace and the ark was still in an animal skin tent. Even the prophet Nathan thought that it was a grand idea - I mean who can argue with building God a temple right? Well, apparently God could because He told David no.
One of David's descendents also had a good idea but he forgot to check with God first. We meet King Asa in 2 Chronicles 14. His father Abijah died and Asa became king of Judah. In verse 2 it says, "Asa did good and right in the sight of the Lord his God, for he removed the foreign alters and high places, tore down the sacred pillars, cut down the Asherim, and commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers and to observe the law and the commandments." So Asa was one of the good kings - he followed God with his whole heart and rooted out all the idols in Judah.
In chapter 15, we see that God told Asa through a prophet to be strong and courageous, to continue to root out the idols in all the land and God would bless him. Through Asa's leadership, the kingdom of Judah (this is after Israel had split into two kingdoms) rededicated themselves to God. As Asa went out and fought against nations that wanted a piece of Judah, he always checked in with God, asking is this what you have for us to do? If God said yes, Asa went, even if it seemed like a suicide mission. God always gave him the victory. After at time, God blessed them and gave them years of rest. In 2 Chronicles 15:19 it says, "And there was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of Asa's reign."
What changed? Well, in chapter 16, Asa had what he thought was a good idea. Baasha, the king of Israel decided to make life hard for Asa and Judah and Baasha got another king to join him - Ben-hadad, king of Aram. So Asa got the bright idea of making a treaty with Ben-hadad, to cut Baasha off at the knees.
Was making a treaty a bad idea? Strategically, it made a lot of sense to get good old Ben-hadad (wonder what they called him for short? Hopefully Ben!) on his side. But Asa, after years of blessing and easy times, forgot one important thing. He didn't check with God to see if this really WAS a good idea. He was so used to God's blessings, to peace and prosperity, that when he got this bright idea, it never occurred to him that perhaps, it wasn't God's idea.
Asa did route Baasha with the king of Aram's help, but afterwards, God called Asa on the carpet. He reminded Asa of the times that there was victory even when it seemed impossible. God pointed out that HE could have given Asa victory over BOTH Baasha and the King of Aram instead of being stuck in a treaty with him. In chapter 16, verse 8 it says, "Were not the Ethopians and the Lubim and immense army with very many chariotsa nd horseman? Yet because you relied on the Lord, He delivered them into your hand."
And that really was the key - Asa decided to rely on his own wisdom and strategy with what seemed like a good move. If he had relied on God, instead of himself, there would have been complete victory.
How many times does this play out in my own life? Something comes up and I immediately try to come up with a solution or an answer, relying on my own wisdom and strength and power. Yes, things often turn out okay, but I miss out on the complete victory and miracle that could have been mine if I had gone to God instead of relying on my own strength. God is made strong in my weakness. God gets glory when He does the seemingly impossible through me. When I rely on myself, God is somewhere in the background and I end up settling for the almost and the okay, instead of the awesome and the amazing.