2Chronicles 15:1-19, “2 And 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. 3 For a long time Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law; 4 but when in their trouble they turned to the LORD God of Israel, and sought Him, He was found by them.”
To grasp and understand the words of the prophet to Asa after God gave them great victory over Ethiopian in the previous chapter, we journey backwards to the book of Judges. In the last chapter as demonstrated in the last message, Asa had “Confidence in God”, the next chapter was to learn of the blessings that come about in the lives of those “Abiding in God”. The Book of Judges is a tragic account of how Yahweh [God] was taken for granted by His children year after year. Judges is a sad contrast to the book of Joshua which chronicles the blessings God bestowed on the Israelites for their obedience in conquering the land. In Judges, they were disobedient and idolatrous, leading to their many defeats.
In Asa’s time, he chose to seek God and God gave him victory. To continue to enjoy God’s faithfulness and blessings, he received this prophesy, vs. 2″ …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“. This was a promise with a condition. If you steadfastly adhere to the cause of God, you may expect a continuance of His favor; but if you abandon it, you will soon reap the bitter fruits of apostasy. This is no different to Jesus words in John 15:7, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you”
To demonstrate that God always heard the cry of His people even in the midst of their rebellion, the prophet continued to remind him of these things, vs. “3 For a long time Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law;…” Israel had no true God because they exchanged the worship of God to worship of Baal, Judges 2:11-12, “11 Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals; 12 and they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the Lord to anger”. The Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. Unlike their fathers, they quickly turned from the way in which their fathers had walked, the way of obedience to the LORD’s commands when the priests were gone, Judges 2:16. Whenever the Lord raised up a judge for them, He was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived, “Yet they would not listen to their judges, but they played the harlot with other gods, and bowed down to them. They turned quickly from the way in which their fathers walked, in obeying the commandments of the Lord; they did not do so.”, Judges 2:17. The people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their fathers, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.
And even with all their turning away, God never failed to open His arms of love to His people whenever they repented from their wicked ways and called upon His name, “vs. 2…but when in their trouble they turned to the LORD God of Israel, and sought Him, He was found by them”
God demonstrated His faithfulness when His people turned back to Him in repentance. And as a reminder to Asa of God’s faithfulness, God rescued him from the Ethiopians when he sought God. And God was promising to continue to do the same if he continued to seek him.
Today marks the 12th anniversary of that fateful day 09/11/2001. The tragedy awakened America to their need for spiritual guidance, provision and protection. Churches were filled for a time, however soon after, many went back to their old ways. Around that time our nation cried to God to bring unity, peace and strength. Over the years that has been forgotten. In 2011 New York mayor Michael Bloomberg banned clergy and prayer at tenth anniversary commemoration ceremony of 9/11, which is a clear indication of not wanting God’s hands in the lives of people, government, nation. We need the hand of God as in the days of Asa, however we need to listen and keep the words of the prophet. Psalm 33:12 says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance”.
Asa was going to be and remain blessed as long as God was the Lord of his kingdom and the same can be applied to our nation, it will be and stay blessed if God is the Lord of it. Jeremiah 2:13 “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water” (NIV). Do we want God’s way or our way? Our nation is currently demonstrating we want it our way but not with Asa, vs. “8 When Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Azariah son of Oded the prophet, he took courage…” and acted in what would keep him in the Lord by destroying what was a stumbling block and building that which was right.
That is our hope, tearing down what has stood in the way by the help of the Lord and building that which bring us closer and keeps us abiding in the Lord for there lies in our blessings. Blessings Ev