It’s Really About Obedience, Pt 2

May 11, 2018 at 12:35 PM

In our first post in this short series, we highlighted aspects of Rehoboam’s life found in 2 Chronicles 11 and following. We noted how generally, he was obedient to God and did what was, for the most part, right in the Lord’s eyes. He wasn’t sinless as we are not sinless. He made mistakes like turning away from God in his fourth year as king over Judah. God took him to task in the fifth year of his rule (2 Chronicles 12).

Because of Rehoboam’s lapse in judgment and failure to continue obeying the Lord, God determined to chastise the king. But first, God sent a prophet to tell the king up front how he had offended God. The result was that Rehoboam was humbled enough to confess his sin, to acknowledge that the Lord was correct and in essence, he placed himself under God’s mercy.

Because of this, God chose to ease up on the chastisement. God decided he would not destroy Rehoboam and others, but He still sent chastisement their way. Shishak, king of Egypt, still came up to Judah and took treasures from Jerusalem back to Egypt. He ended up taking pretty much everything from the Lord’s House as well as the king’s, including the gold shields that Solomon had made for the guards. So Rehoboam replaced those with shields made of bronze.

Verse 12 of 2 Chronicles 12 tells us the summary.

And when he humbled himself the wrath of the Lord turned from him, so as not to make a complete destruction. Moreover, conditions were good in Judah. (ESV)

Nothing was destroyed. No lives were lost. Treasures were taken by the king of Egypt at God’s behest. The remainder of the chapter tells us that Rehoboam grew strong and reigned. He was back on track. He had forsaken the Lord for a short while either deliberately or without thinking but God’s warning through the prophet Shemaiah brought the king to repentance and kept him from experiencing God’s full chastisement. He mended his ways after submitting himself once again to God’s rule in his life.

2 Chronicles 13 introduces a new king in Judah named Abijah. He is said to have ruled three years in Jerusalem. He went out against Jeroboam (Israel), taking him to task for breaking covenant with Jehovah. Interestingly enough, Jeroboam was the son of Nebat, a servant of Solomon. Jeroboam was not a good guy. He rebelled against the Lord God. Abijah withstood him and called him out for his failure to follow the Lord’s will in obedience.

Even though Jeroboam tried to send a surprise assault on Judah’s troops, Judah defeated Jeroboam’s Israeli troops. In verse 20, we read that the Lord struck down Jeroboam and God blessed Abijah instead.

After Abijah died, Asa became king. What was he like? According to 2 Chronicles 14:2-6 (ESV) summarizes for us.

Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God. He took away the foreign altars and the high places and broke down the pillars and cut down the Asherim and commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, and to keep the law and the commandment. He also took out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the incense altars. And the kingdom had rest under him. He built fortified cities in Judah, for the land had rest. He had no war in those years, for the Lord gave him peace.

In essence, King Asa did what the Lord required and he appears to have done so with a whole heart. He was undivided in his thinking, which led to full obedience where God was concerned.

Too many Christians don’t like to talk about “obedience” today. It is often relegated to the Old Testament and the way Israel was required to live before God as seen in the many aspects of worship and ceremonial law and ritual that was used to approach God. But in reality, the bottom line for Israel as well as Christians today is found in one word: obedience.

A person can obey someone for one of two reasons. First, they believe it is the right thing to do and want to live correctly because of the respect they have for the person that they are under (whether a parent, an employer, or someone else). Second, they may obey out of fear, which is not the best way to live obediently. People who obey out of fear will tend to rebel against the person they are afraid of at some point. They will end up trying to throw off the “chains” of obedience because it chafes and it chafes because they are obeying not because they necessarily want to, but believe they must or things will go sour.

Most married people take vows promising to be, among other things, faithful to the person they marry. They are promising not to have an adulterous affair. Normally, on the wedding day, most couples could never imagine having wandering eyes or attempting to engage in an illicit affair with someone else. However, as the marriage lengthens, boredom can set in. Men especially can start looking at women again, focusing on the physical aspects that might be pleasant to look at. In essence, they begin tempting themselves and if left unchecked, things can lead from one thing to another until they’re caught up in something they should not be.

But for the married person who refuses to do that, what keeps them from doing that? Hopefully, it is a growing love and respect for their spouse. Hopefully, it’s not fear that keeps them from wandering away from their spouse to find physical fulfillment in another. If nothing else, fear is an excellent warning for them, but if all we have is fear, that isn’t good enough.

There should be a desire to simply please the other person in the marriage. There should also be a strong desire to remain faithful to the vows that were uttered on that special wedding day.

The kings we’ve talked about either wanted to obey God and generally did, or they ignored God and lived to regret it. In 2 Chronicles 14 starting in verse 9, Asa has to deal with another enemy of Judah, Zerah the Ethiopian. What was Asa’s reaction to Zerah? Asa threw himself on God and His mercy. He didn’t try to do things on his own. He submitted himself to God and His authority over his life.

Asa deliberately elevated God to His proper place in his (Asa’s) life. He understood that his winning or losing against Zerah or any enemy was in God’s hands and he acknowledged that. The result? God overthrew Zerah (v. 12).

But it is my belief that had not Asa groomed himself to believe God and proved it by living in a way that brought glory to God (removing the idol altars, teaching the people the Word of the Lord, removing the high places, etc.), he would not have immediately gone to the Lord in prayer with the threat of Zerah wanting war with him. In essence, Asa had already been practicing obedience to the Lord God, so when another situation arose that seemed to threaten Judah’s very existence, Asa did what he always did; went to the Lord in deep humility and reverence.

2 Chronicles 15 provides even more information regarding Asa and his religious reforms that he put in place throughout Judah. This is the interesting thing. It all started with Asa’s desire to serve God through clear obedience. Through that process, God widened Asa’s opportunities over time. This is exactly how God works in the lives of Christians today. If we are earnest in our desire to serve God, He will begin to bless us and He will open up more doors to serve Him. If we are faithful in continuing to be obedient, He will be faithful to continue leading us in that path of righteousness and we will begin to see the fruit of our lives much like the Psalmist spoke of many times in the Psalms.

In 2 Chronicles 15:1-2, God sends His Spirit onto “…Azariah the son of Oded, 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.’

Interesting, isn’t it? The deal is that God will be with or “bless” Asa as long as Asa continues to seek God. This is exactly the same with Christians! Do not be deceived here. This is not saying that God will leave us during those times we might fail because Jesus has promised He will never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5-6). It seems that what God is saying is that as long as we continue to live for Him and not ourselves, He will bless our lives. If we go off on our own path, the blessings will stop because our fellowship with Him has ceased. That is, if and until we admit our sin and in humility, confess it to Him. At that point, our fellowship with God in Christ can begin again. This does not endanger our salvation at all, but our ongoing fellowship.

Asa has continued to do things correctly. He deliberately chose to serve and obey God. God blessed him because of it. Each time there was a problem, Asa went to the Lord in prayer and God responded with victory. Azariah reminds Asa that as long as he continues to seek God, all will be well and God’s blessing will remain on his life. Failure to do that will result in loss of blessing.

Please notice that after Asa hears the literal Word of the Lord through Azariah, Asa does something wonderful.

As soon as Asa heard these words, the prophecy of Azariah the son of Oded, he took courage and put away the detestable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities that he had taken in the hill country of Ephraim, and he repaired the altar of the Lord that was in front of the vestibule of the house of the Lord. (v. 8)

King Asa took what the prophet told him and became even more encouraged to do the right thing as far as God was concerned! He went even further and gained strength from Azariah’s words so that he had the courage to rid the land of idols. Then the next few verses tell us that Asa offered many offerings to the Lord. Because of this, all of Judah rejoiced and gained new strength to renew their covenant with the Lord.

What is even more astounding is that Asa removed his own mother from being queen. Why? Because she had made a detestable idol to worship! (v. 16) The Bible tells us that the “high places” were not removed from Israel, but in Judah, Asa did well. Because of this, God rewarded Asa with peace until his 35th year of ruling. It was at that point, King Asa makes a mistake, which cost him. He was careless and should’ve known better. We’ll talk about that mistake in our next article in this series.

Christian, if we say we love the Lord and want to bring Him glory, it starts with our obedience to Him in all things. It starts and ends there.

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, Cultural Marxism, Emotional virtue, eternity, israel, Judaism, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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