Monday, July 28, 2008

Untitled

2 Chronicles 14:2 – 16:14

How did I get here?

 

I.         Asa’s story was one of good and failure. The Bible makes these two observations about him: “Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God.” [14:2] and “Asa's heart was fully committed to the LORD all his life.” [15:17b]

 

            A.        Asa did good and right:

 

                        1.         [14:3 – 5] He removed the worship of false gods.

 

                        2.         [14:9 – 12] He trusted God in trouble.

 

                        3.         [15:8 – 15] He renewed the worship of the Lord.

 

            B.        Asa also flipped into failure:

 

                        1.         [16:1 – 6] He chose a political solution (which worked) instead of trusting God. (Implication, “success is not a mark of God’s blessing, in fact it may be a direct violation of our relationship with God.)

 

                        2.         [16:10] He imprisoned God’s messenger and becomes a brutal oppressor.

 

                        3.         [16:12] He does not seek God in sickness.

 

                        4.         [16:14] He chooses his own honor in death.


Question: How could someone who is “fully committed to the Lord” move away from what is “good and right?”


            * We don’t know. (When asked “why?” a child in trouble will say “I don’t know.”)


            * We might find clues in what the prophets said to King Asa


“Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.” [1 Corinthians 10:6]

 

II.       What might have happened from the two prophets visit to Asa.

 

            A.        Azariah (“the Lord has helped”)

 

                        1.         “The LORD is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.” [15:2]

 

                                    a.         Foundational element of God’s interaction with humanity: God will not violate our free will.

 

                                    b.         God takes the initiative (grace) but we must respond (faith).

 

                        2.         [15:3] There was a time of social chaos when they were without God, without a priest to teach, and without the Law.

 

                        3.         [15:6b] Result: “Because God was troubling them with every kind of distress.”


***** Result: “When Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Azariah son of Oded the prophet, he took courage. He removed the detestable idols from the whole land of Judah and Benjamin and from the towns he had captured in the hills of Ephraim. He repaired the altar of the LORD that was in front of the portico of the LORD's temple.” [15:8] *****

 

            B.        Hanani (“gracious”)

 

                        1.         “Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the LORD your God...” [16:7a]

 

                                    a.         Instead of looking the Lord, King Asa chooses a political solution.

 

                                    b.         He had seen God work in even a bigger scale. Had peace softened him? Had rest weakened his trust in God? Had time caused his heart to grow cold toward God?

 

                        2.         “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.” [16:9]

 

                                    a.         {White Tiger alert} God takes care of those who are FULLY committed to Him.

 

                                    b.         By not trusting God, Asa acted foolishly.

 

III.      What have we learned?

 

            A.        “With” is a very powerful connecting word.

 

                        1.         “With” means an association, relationship, distance, proximity, responsibility, and loyalty.

 

                        2.         “With” indicates who’s side you have chosen.

 

            B.        “Will” is a very powerful commitment.

 

                        1.         The words “seek” and “forsake” give the impression Asa was at a point of contention with God. (First prophet indicated that even though he had destroyed the false worship, he had not instituted the true worship.)

 

                        2.         The idea that Baasha was building a fortress five miles north of Jerusalem to keep people from entering Jerusalem (lots of people had left the northern kingdom) meant that Asa was once more at the point of decision or contention.


***** Implication: Asa had drifted from his commitment to the Lord. Asa reacted with what was in his heart. *****

 

            C.        “War” is a very powerful distress (and possibly judgment).

 

                        1.         Peace with God is not achieved in living in rebellion to God.

 

                        2.         External pressure brings trouble which gives us an opportunity to choose and renew.

 

                                    a.         One choice leads to another. One choice leads to the next.

 

                                    b.         A wrong act can become a wrong course.

 

IV.      What must we do?

 

            A.        Understand other people’s flaws, failures, and fumbles are not your excuse.

 

                        1.         David – Bathsheba and murder.

 

                        2.         Solomon – heart turned.

 

                        3.         Jehoshaphat – alliance with Israel, almost ended David’s line.

 

                        4.         Joash – abandoned God and killed God’s prophet.

 

                        5.         Hezekiah – asked God for 15 more years, fathered the most evil King in Judah’s history.


***** Nobody is flawless. That’s why it is important to stay close to God. That’s why it is so necessary to give and receive mercy and forgiveness from one another. *****

 

            B.        Gut checks:

 

                        1.         What drives your actions?

 

                                    a.         What you believe? What you know? Who/what you love?

 

                                    b.         The circumstances? (Men: anger, Women: fear)

 

                                    c.         Your imagination.

 

                        2.         Has your love for God gone cold?

 

                                    a.         At one point, your commitment and intent was to follow God.

 

                                    b.         Cold love puts you in a very dangerous place because the next step is bad behavior and a hard heart.

 

                        3.         Have you fallen?

 

                                    a.         Repent.

 

                                    b.         John Wesley (song “I want a principle within”)

 

“O may the least omission pain, My reawakened soul. And drive me to the blood again, which makes the wounded whole.”


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