Posted by: arieliondotcom | June 26, 2013

Seeking then Slipping (2 Chronicles 14-16)

Seeking then Slipping
(2 Chronicles 14-16)

Our Scripture today deals with King Asa of Judah. He was a strong, good king and his strength was that he sought out sin, to remove it. He searched everywhere in his own life and throughout the kingdom to wipe out idolatry. He called the people to worship the true God of Israel. He attacked no one, strengthened his defenses and strengthened belief in the LORD throughout his kingdom. And he had peace many years.

Then the Ethiopians (also called Cushites) attacked. These were the people who had descended from Noah, Ham, Cush and so on to Asa’s time. They were not part of the 12 tribes of Israel. “Cushite” means Blackness. Asa cried out to GOD for rescue because he and his people trusted only in GOD and GOD gave him the victory as well as all the riches of the Ethiopians/Cushites. In fact the Bible emphasizes that it was the LORD Who defeated the Ethiopians like a big brother Who stands between a bully and defeats him before a little brother can be touched.

The LORD has a prophet remind Asa that Asa and the kingdom of Judah are being blessed because they seek to please the LORD. He reminds Asa of all the times before when his ancestors had abandoned the LORD and suffered for it but were blessed when they were faithful. As long as they seek Him with all their heart they will find Him. But on the day they abandon Him, He will abandon them.

So Asa goes back throughout the kingdom and clears out all the idolatry that had sprung back up like weeds since the last cleansing. Even his own mother, the Queen, was removed from being queen because she had idols. According to Jewish scholars it had gotten so bad the queen was even having sex with a man-shaped idol as part of fertility rituals.

Asa cleans out the countryside and has everyone swear allegiance to the one true GOD of Israel. Anyone, including his mother, caught worshipping anything but the LORD would be killed.
People from some of the 10 tribes that had rebelled even came back when they saw GOD was blessing Asa and Judah. The people rejoiced, the kingdom was secure, and all was well for many more years.

Then Baasha, now king of the 10 rebellious, idolatrous tribes came against Asa and Judah. Baasha set up a blockade to keep supplies from coming in or out of Asa’s territory. And this is where Asa lost his mind. Instead of depending on the LORD, Asa made a treaty with Syria. He bribed Ben-Hadad, king of Syria, to break Syria’s word with Baasha and help him instead.

A prophet of GOD chastised Asa for depending on foreign armies instead of the LORD. Instead of repenting and realizing he must turn back to GOD, Asa is furious and throws the prophet into prison! The LORD sends a disease that swelled Asa’s feet and had the swelling rise higher and higher, trying to get Asa to turn back to Him. But he only consulted more and more physicians and died. Though he was buried with the other kings of Judah there’s a note of something foreign about it, a cremation with herbs rather than a standard Jewish burial.

Seeking out sin must be a daily occurrence. But it cannot be in our own power. You know something is wrong when realizing you’ve done something wrong makes you angry instead of sorry. If you feel angry at GOD for your failures or catch yourself thinking, “I tried my best!” you’re trying in your own power. That is deal making with GOD.

Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. When Peter protested that it was not right for Him to wash their feet He said “If I do not wash you, you have no part of me.” Peter then said, “Then wash all of me!” But JESUS made a pun that He needed only wash their feet because “you are clean, but not all of you.” The pun was that they needed some washing but not total washing since they had only gotten their feet dirty since they were totally clean, and that one of them (Judas) was not clean.

Asa sought to clean himself and the kingdom but he tried to do it in his own power. But only JESUS can make us clean. We are cleaned completely and forever by the death of JESUS on the cross on our behalf. But we are creatures stuck in time. And when we get dirty with the things of the world we must seek out JESUS daily for a reminder that we are clean. Daily sessions with JESUS reminding us of our cleansing keep us tender rather than hardened and angry.

JESUS tells us to keep asking Him for help in our weakness, keep seeking Him if you can’t seem to find comfort in prayer. If it seems like GOD is behind a door, keep knocking. Look daily for those sins that sprout daily like weeds.

The good news is that when we completely give ourselves to JESUS, He completely gives Himself to us. His Spirit will live in us and His Love will compel us to seek out sin in our selves and cleansing from Him. But we must be willing. And willing to tell Him honestly when we are unwilling and ask Him to help us.

Asa made a deal with GOD in his own power and got angry at GOD when he was at fault. He tried to live righteously in his own power. And self-righteous anger destroyed him in the end. But today we can ask JESUS to control, cleanse and counsel us daily. Empowered by the Spirit
of Christ from the inside out, we can seek to live His Life for His Glory in His Power, one day at a time.

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