Today's Devotion - 1/21/12

KING ASA & THE TRAGEDY OF TRUST
2 Chronicles 14-16

So the cycle begins:  Israel’s rise and fall, and rise and fall…and fall…and fall.  After the disaster of the government of King Jeroboam, there is hope when King Asa steps onto the scene.  It seems like the new king to rule over God’s beautiful Jerusalem may have learned something good from his predecessor.  With a pure heart, King Asa begins to cast down the idols in the land.

Here is the interesting thing about removing idols:  it never feels good.  For Asa it meant deposing his wicked old granny.  For me, it might mean returning a Lacoste shirt.  To truly worship and honor the Lord, you gotta purge the idols till it hurts, no matter who objects.  There is no room for idolatry in the heart of a God-seeker…even if that idol is yourself.  (This is also something we’ll learn from the tragic life of Asa).

Asa’s story is one of promise, and promise unfulfilled.  Because of his faithfulness, God placed his blessing on Asa.  In one awesome scene, we see that Asa is outmatched against his military rivals at least 3-to-1.  In desperation, Asa seeks after God, and THE LORD COMES THROUGH.  In a miracle of God, Asa wins the battle.  This is a lesson that Asa would soon forget.

Years later, after enjoying the spoils of war, Asa’s heart would turn to himself.  Because of military victory, Asa was enabled to replenish the Gold shields in the temple of God.  Things in the country must have reminded people of the thriving Golden Years of King Solomon.  It wouldn’t last.  Decades into his reign, Asa was attacked by the king of the Northern Kingdom.  Rather than seek the Lord, Asa stripped the Lord’s temple of its physical glory, and bribed a neighboring kingdom to join his fight.  In the short-term, the plan worked.  Then we see the result of this tragic lack of faith in God.  

2 Chronicles 16:7&9 - And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said to him: “Because you have relied on the king of Syria, and have not relied on the LORD your God, therefore the army of the king of Syria has escaped from your hand…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.

This is a re-occurring theme in scripture.  When times get desperate, we MUST get desperate for the Lord.  He is such a mighty supplier of our needs.  I’m praying I’ll develop that check in my Spirit about when I go in to "fix-it” mode rather than “trust Him” mode.  If something I’ve done can solve a problem, its probably not the best idea.  If only God can get the glory, THAT’s the way to go.  Our God is soo good and so faithful.

ROMANS 9

This is some trippy stuff.  This passage is a Calvinist's dream.  One day as I write a post regarding “The Beautiful Tension,” I’d like to revisit this passage.  As for now, here are some observations.  
- The Jews refused to repent
- They are the chosen people of God
- He revealed His glory to them
- He made covenants with them
- This begs the question (and I think this is the hinge question of the passage):  If God has done so much, and they still have not believed, has God failed in his mission? 
-
 God has certainly NOT failed.
- Because of His greatness, God chooses people according to his own purposes
- verse 12 highlights that people are not called according to their good or bad works
- verse 13:  famous verse.  Jacob have I loved, Esau have I hated
- God certainly has every right to choose some for salvation and others for destruction  (does He?)
- Mercy is the sole choice of God
- Verse 22 is esquisite

Romans 9:22 - “In the same way, even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who are destined for destruction. 23 He does this to make the riches of his glory shine even brighter on those to whom he shows mercy, who were prepared in advance for glory.

Aaron is the pastor of Spring of Life, a new church in Portland, Oregon. He's the owner of Amplify Creative.