December 4th

Rely on the Lord

2And he went out to meet Asa, and said to him: "Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin. The LORD is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. 7But you, be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded!" 2 Chronicles 15:2,7 NKJV

7 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. 8Were the Ethiopians and the Lubim not a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet, because you relied on the LORD, He delivered them into your hand. 9For 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." 12And in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa became diseased in his feet, and his malady was severe; yet in his disease he did not seek the LORD, but the physicians. 13So Asa rested with his fathers; he died in the forty-first year of his reign.  2 Chronicles 16:7-9,12,13 NKJV 

The story of king Asa of Judah is a powerful reminder that it is best to rely on the Lord and his strength as we face the challenges of life.  King Asa started his reign over Judah very well.  Asa “did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God” (2 Chronicles 14:2), and he removed the pagan altars and worship centers throughout the land.  The Lord strengthened Asa and struck the Ethiopian army of a million men, turning Asa’s imminent defeat into a stunning victory (2 Chronicles 14:9-15).  God sent a prophet to encourage Asa, yet warn him to continue to seek God and not forsake him (see above verses (15:2,7).  Asa responded to this by continuing to remove the idols from the land and led his country in taking an oath to seek God with all his heart and soul.  God responded and gave the country rest from war.   

Asa’s downfall was triggered when King Baasha of Israel started military operations against Judah.  Instead of seeking the Lord for help, Asa responded by making a treaty with the king of Syria and succeeded in pressuring Baasha to stand down his military operations.  God sent another prophet to Asa to call attention to his foolishness.  The direct consequence of Asa’s mistake was that the country would have wars.  He also contracted a severe disease in his feet, yet even then, he did not seek the Lord for help.  He relied instead on the physicians.  He died 2 years later. 

We all face challenges and attacks from the enemy in various forms in our lives.  When we rely on the Lord, we can be assured of ultimately the best outcomes – victory over our enemies and rest all around.  This can be taken literally or figuratively.  When we start relying on our own schemes for success and ignore the Lord, we’re sure to run into problems.  Temporarily we may see some success, but in the long run we’ll have forfeited God’s best for our lives.   

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

“Heavenly Father, You are perfect and just in all your ways.  You are loving and merciful, kind and compassionate.  You are infinitely wise in all that you do.  I repent from any times that I have given place to pride and ignored or resisted your will in my life.  I see how foolish I have been.  Please forgive me, Lord, and restore me in the paths of righteousness.  I reaffirm today that I am your child and your servant of righteousness. I present my members as instruments for righteousness and not sin.  I am a vessel for honorable purposes and I yield my will to your will.  Holy Spirit, please sharpen my convictions of sin, righteousness and judgment.  Please inspire a healthy fear of God in me, that I may never turn away from Jesus.  Thank you, Lord!  I praise you now and forever, Amen.”