Meanderings of a Minister


How Do You Get There From Here?
May 15, 2014, 4:56 pm
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What Are You Standing On?

This morning, I was reading out of 2 Chronicles 12-16 and read about a king of Judah that does not get mentioned often.  His name was Asa.  He was described as a good king who followed God with all of his heart.  He tore down the shrines used to worship other “gods”.  He cleaned up the spiritual landscape of Judah.  He enjoyed ten years of peace as God protected him from the nations surrounding them because of his faithfulness.  As a matter of fact, God delivers Asa from the Ethiopian army, numbering over 1,000,000 and protects Asa in response to Asa’s faithfulness.

One day, Azariah, another little known figure from the Old Testament, a prophet, tells Asa “the Lord is with you when you are with Him.  And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.” (2 Chronicles 15:2b, NASB)  Asa responded to this prophecy by redoubling his efforts to lead his nation to the worship God.  He restored the altar in the temple, destroyed more of the places and items used for worshipping other “gods”.  He led the people to swear an oath to follow God with all of their hearts.

In the middle of the glowing description of Asa, there appears a crack that is the pivot point from faithful to faithless.  2 Chronicles 15:17 says, “But the high places were not removed from Israel; nevertheless Asa’s heart was blameless all his days.”  In other words, Asa began to pull himself back from leading others into faithfulness and simply retreated within himself and made his faith in God private and personal. Where did that lead?

In 2 Chronicles 16, Asa is challenged by Baasha, king of Israel (the other ten tribes of the nation Israel that had split off from Rehoboam and followed Jeroboam).  What does he do?  He offers money to the king of Aram to defend himself and his nation instead of turning to God for deliverance and protection as he had always done in the past.  From there, he actually throws Hanani (a prophet) in prison because he corrected Asa’s lack of trust in God.  He goes from that to a disease that takes his life.

How did Asa get from Biblical superhero to Biblical superzero?  In reading the passage, it would seem that the pivot point is when he begins to separate his faith from this leadership.  It is when he turns from thinking of his job to lead others to God and hold them faithful to God to thinking that his faith was his and his only and that he needn’t worry about leading others to that end.

As I think about this reality, I am challenged to think about how we have seen this very same thing happen in our nation.  2 Chronicles 16:9 describes Asa’s foolish past as well as our own as a nation.  It says, “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.  You have acted foolishly in this.  Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars.”  We used to follow God.  All of our laws were based upon God’s laws.  Our values were based upon His Word.  Now, we go with public opinion polls.  We have turned away from God for our protecting and provision as a nation.  Our nation has done so only because our state has done so.  Our state has done so only because our city has done so.  Our city has done so only because our families have done so.  Our families have done so only because we have done so.  We have turned from leading others towards God to making our faith personal and private and we are losing the war.

How did we get here from where we used to be?  The same way Asa did.  How do we get back?  Repent.  Turn back to God as individuals.  Lead our families back to God.  Lead our city to God.  Lead our state to God.  Lead our nation to God.

Asa died a diseased shell of his former self.  Will we?

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