July 25

2 Chronicles 14:1–16:14

I’ve always appreciated the story of King Asa. Overall he was a great king, but he did have a lapse of faith. Let’s do our best to learn from the things he did right, as well as the things he did wrong.

First of all, he cleaned house in the kingdom. Asa did what was good and right in God’s eyes, specifically removing the altars of the foreign gods, and their high places, sacred pillars, and wooden images. He commanded Judah to seek the LORD and obey the Bible. This is what we ALL need to do, get rid of the junk, the toxic stuff in our lives, and start seeking the living God. Paul the Apostle would later write:

Ephesians 4:22-24 (NKJV) “that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”

Asa put God first. And then the day came, the Ethiopians attacked Judah with an army of a million men and hundreds of chariots. We DO read about Asa’s army, but he didn’t rely on the army – he prayed!

2 Chronicles 14:11 (NKJV) “And Asa cried out to the LORD his God, and said, ‘LORD, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O LORD our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude. O LORD, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You!’”

Asa prayed, he trusted in God, he rested in God and God gave him the victory.

This is one of those lessons I definitely long to learn. We tend to look at numbers, or odds, or worst case scenario, and God just wants us to look to Him. I’m not saying Asa wasn’t ready to fight – he was. But he knew the key to victory was the LORD. The same is true for us. Whatever we face in life, even if it’s a million men, we can bring it to God and trust Him to have His will – and His will is always good.

After the victory a prophet named Azariah came to Asa and basically said, “Good job Asa. Keep putting God first, He will bless you if you do. But if you forsake Him, you’re only asking for trouble.” The prophet went on to give him a wonderful promise.

2 Chronicles 15:7 (NKJV) “But you, be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded!”

As we serve the LORD it’s not always easy, we do get tired at times, but don’t be discouraged. God sees it all, and He will reward our labor of love. Asa received the warning and promise, and sought God even more.

The nation entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul (2 Chronicles 7:12). Because Israel was a unique, one-of-a-kind theocracy, they were able to mingle their civil law with their moral and ceremonial law, this enabled them to punish those who sought other gods (2 Chronicles 7:13).

Asa’s heart never strayed in that way, he always remained loyal to the LORD. BUT, he did have a lapse of faith. When the Northern Kingdom of Israel came against Judah and cut off their supplies, Asa hired the Syrians to help him out in the war. This is a much different approach then when the Ethiopians came against him. 

His strategy “succeeded” but he failed the test. A prophet named Hanani came to him and rebuked him. If Asa had only prayed, trusted, and fought, like last time, God would have given him the victory and delivered this army into his hands. And then we have one of my favorite passages in all the Bible:

2 Chronicles 16:9 (NKJV) “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars.”

Can you visualize God’s eyes scanning the world…looking for those whose hearts are loyal to Him? That’s what’s taking place. God wants to flex His muscles on their behalf. Asa used to catch His eye, but now, he’s questionable. Because he went the way of the world, he trusted in man, Asa would have wars for the rest of his reign.

Instead of humbling himself in repentance and receiving the rebuke, Asa was furious, he put the prophet in prison and oppressed some of the people (perhaps those who questioned him). A few years later Asa found himself diseased in his feet, but he didn’t seek the LORD, only the physicians. His walk was waning. I believe any illnesses we may face in life, we should first pray to God, and then seek medical help as the Lord leads. It’s interesting how the situations may vary, it may be an army, or it may be me, either way, let’s rely on the Lord.

Overall he was a good king. Let’s learn from the things he did right, but let’s also guard ourselves from the things he did wrong.

Romans 9:1-24

Paul had a deep love for the Jewish people, so much so that he said he’d be willing to be damned, that they might be saved (Romans 9:3). Of course we know God doesn’t work that way – each person must make a personal decision to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Israel was blessed with much spiritual favor, but that doesn’t mean they are all saved, only those who are the children of promise, who understand the principal of promise. Paul points out that the descendants of Isaac were children of promise, not the children of Ishmael, the children of Ishmael represented the children of the flesh. In other words, it’s not the physical descendants of Abraham, but the “spiritual” descendants, those who believe, by faith, in the promise.

Paul then brings up the issue of election, and he uses Jacob and Esau as illustrations of this. Before they were born, God declared their destiny, Jacob was elected, Esau was rejected. But we need to be very careful that we don’t mistake this to be fatalism – that Esau never had a chance to be saved. The truth is, God knew what Esau would do one day, how he would despise his birthright, how he would choose pagan women, how he would reject the Lord, God knew all this before he was born. God also knew Jacob’s response would be positive. Jacob was a child of promise. Peter writes about this in:

1 Peter 1:2 (NKJV) “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father…”

This detail of doctrine in the area of soteriology is an in-house debate within Christendom.  I find comfort with the concept that God gets all the credit and all the glory for my salvation. I can’t take the glory, can’t touch it, never, ever, ever, but somewhere deep, deep down inside, I did choose to say “yes” to Him. Charles Spurgeon was asked how he reconciled divine sovereignty and human responsibility, and he replied, “I never try to reconcile friends.” We should have the same heart, embrace both.

As you continue to read Romans 9 Paul emphasizes the sovereignty of God heavily, that God chooses whom He will have mercy on and He hardens whomever He wishes, in order to accomplish His purposes. Paul uses Pharaoh as an example of this, but it’s interesting to note that before Pharaoh’s heart was hardened by God, Pharaoh hardened his own heart 5 times.

Paul reminds us that God is the Potter, we’re just the clay.  When I read this section of Scripture it gives me a greater appreciation of salvation. I don’t know every detail of this mysterious doctrine, but I do believe God chose me, graciously, and I’m thankful to Him. I know what I deserve, damnation, but He’s given me salvation. I know what I deserve, hell, but God’s given me heaven.

We’ll see next time that Paul closes the chapter with the reason Israel, (generally speaking) rejected their Messiah, and forfeited their salvation, we read in: 

Romans 9:32 (NKJV) “Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone.”

Israel clung to the works of the law, and the legalities of Judaism, rather than the mercies of God…they did not seek salvation by faith.

So when it comes to salvation, lets’ give God all the glory for his sovereignty, but let’s also keep in mind that people have a responsibility to choose. God wants everyone to be saved (2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:4).

Psalm 19:1-14

This is an epic Psalm.

Verses 1-6 are often referred to as General Revelation.

Verses 7-11 are seen as Special Revelation.

If we open our eyes to the things God has made, the heavens, the stars, the sun, even the setting of the sun, day by day, we get a glimpse of the glory of God and how awesome He is – this is General Revelation – everyone in the whole wide world sees it. The more we discover the vastness of space, of galaxies, of the stars, the more we see how awesome our Maker is.

If we also open our eyes to the Book He’s written, the Bible, we discover even more about God, all the necessary details to live life now, and have life forever. The Bible is perfect, converting the soul, and able to save. Knowing the Bible brings light to our eyes, and living the Bible brings joy to our hearts, and great, great reward. For these reasons we should want the Word more than the greatest gold or the finest food.

General Revelation is found in Creation and Conscience.

Special Revelation is found in the Written Word (the Bible) and the Living Word (Jesus – John 1:1, 14).

This is how God has revealed Himself to us. May this revelation of Himself lead us to live holy lives and have holy lips (Psalm 19:12-14).

Proverbs 20:1

Proverbs 20:1 (NKJV) “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.”

Here we have the personification of wine and strong drink. It mocks those who drink it. It violently controls people. 

If you’re struggling with alcohol as an addiction, I pray you’d reach out to us. We’re here to help people fighting that battle.

I’m saddened by the fact that some Christians volitionally choose to ignore warnings like this. They say a little wine or a couple of beers won’t hurt. They’ll take a shot here and there. 

In light of warnings like this. In light of all the damage alcohol has done (85% of all crimes are committed by people under the influence of alcohol). In light of the fact that you might be able to “handle” it but can you guarantee to me that all others who see you will be able to? I choose not to drink. I don’t need an artificial substance to relax me, or make me happy. By God’s grace, I choose to be sober in every way.

1 Peter 5:8 (NKJV) “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

Ephesians 5:18 (NKJV) “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.”

It’s 100% better to simply be under the influence of God.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

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