Thursday, December 10, 2015
ASA KING OF JUDAH - HOW OBEDIENCE LEADS TO BLESSING AND SIN LEADS TO HARDSHIP
KING ASA'S REIGN DEMONSTRATES OUR, OFTEN, ROLLER COASTER FAITH
I have previously written on the connection between obedience and blessing, CLICK HERE to read, and most recently, on the need for believers to tear down the high places of sin in our hearts. CLICK HERE to read Often, we find ourselves rollercoastering in our faith and walk with God. We go through periods of great devotion and faith to periods of complacency and sometimes, even seasons of sin. The poignant account of King Asa of Judah demonstrates these points amazingly.
Asa was the great great grandson of King David and ruled the kingdom of Judah for 41 years. King Asa's reign is a microcosm of the life of Israel, the church and individual believers, as we roller coaster through faith and experience God's blessing and His rod, alternately, as is warranted through our obedience and devotion. Asa became king after his father, Abijah, who only reigned for 3 years. Asa's grandfather, Rehoboam, son of Solomon, lost the northern kingdom of Israel due to sin and mismanagement, while Abijah started reforms which reestablished the power of Judah, but it was Asa who completed the reforms and brought peace to the land... for 10 years.
In the book of Kings, we read a quick account of King Asa's reign, and it tells us that Asa's heart was towards's the LORD all the days of his life. While his heart may have remained true, he was not always careful to enforce God's law over the land in which he ruled. The book of Chronicles gives us greater detail and insight into the reign of Asa. When Asa began to reign, he made reforms in his country, removing all the detestable idols and pagan practices from the land, even deposing his own mother because of her idolatry. As Asa sought the favor of God, and obeyed His commands, his kingdom prospered and Asa won great victories over his enemies. The land was at rest for 10 years and the people began to lapse into bad habits, as their prosperity led them to a false sense of self reliance. For 5 years, the nation reverted to paganism as Asa enjoyed peace and prosperity. Asa's heart did not turn from God, he simply grew complacent in his faith. Soon, conditions began to become such that war and pestilence ravaged the land.
As conditions in the kingdom worsened, a prophet came to Asa and reminded him of God's law and holiness. Immediately, Asa repented of his spiritual complacency and sought the face of God, once again making much needed reforms in the land. Soon, God restored peace to the land and all was well for bout 20 years. After 20 years of peace, Asa, sought help from evil Syria, rather than God and Asa and his people paid dearly for it.
As believers, we go through periods of crisis and periods of blessings. In the crisis, we tend to cry out to God and repent of sin and seek His favor. In times of blessing, we are in danger of becoming complacent in our faith, feeling self sufficient and thus, becoming less careful in our behavior. The key to avoiding the trap King Asa fell into is keeping our faith at the center of our hearts and minds, regardless of our circumstances. It is essential for the believer to hold firm to the promises of our faith. It becomes so tempting for us to let down our guard against sin when things are going good. It is in the good times that we are most vulnerable to attack and failure.
Discipleship and accountability are key in avoiding this pitfall. Serving in our gift is also essential to our remaining grounded in faith. Discipleship should be ongoing in the life of all believers, we should be discipling newer believers and being discipled by more mature saints. We should have an accountability set up, where we actually answer to someone and have a confidant with whom we can share our struggles and victories. Finding your gift and serving in it is also a vital part of a Christ centered life.
When we are busy serving in our God given capacity, we will purposely avoid obstacles to our success. We will view sin as poison to our soul and recognize it's destructive power in our ability to serve God effectively. When we become complacent in our faith, as Asa did, we will find ourselves excusing sin and indulging our flesh. God's desire is for us to walk in spiritual victory, and this can only be done when we "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness."