Morning Musings: 2 Chronicles 16:7, 10

“At that time Hanai the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him, ‘Because you relied on the king of Syria, and did not rely on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped you. . . .Then Asa was angry with the seer and put him in the stocks in prison, for he was in a rage with him because of this.  And Asa inflicted cruelties upon some of the people at the same time.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

Asa’s is really a sad story, but one that is repeated far too often in the lives of the people around us.  Nearly all of his life he sought the Lord faithfully and the nation prospered for it.  God led him to achieve incredible victories that would not have otherwise been possible.  He elevated the spiritual lives of the people and the spiritual climate of the nation.  He was a king in the model of David in nearly ever way.  Until he wasn’t.  

When the northern kingdom came and did this petty this, building up the military outpost of Ramah so that Israelites who were still faithful to the Lord couldn’t defect to Asa’s faithful southern kingdom, rather than dealing with the issue himself, or better yet, trusting in the Lord to provide for His people as He had over and over again during his reign, Asa paid off a pagan neighbor to deal with the problem for him.  He forsook his trust in the Lord and instead trusted in his wealth to get the problem solved.  Wealth that was his only because of the faithfulness of the Lord.  Then, when he was called on his unfaithfulness, he doubled down on it.  He got angry at God for not overlooking this one thing, and turned away from Him wholesale.  In the end, he finished poorly.

How often have we seen someone live a long and faithful life only to turn away at the end and finish poorly  Some use the excuse that they’ve put in their time and deserve a break.  Some argue that if God isn’t willing to let this one thing go, then He isn’t worth their time anymore.  Some just get tired of fighting temptation and give up on the battle.  Whatever the pathway, the results are the same.  It’s tough to watch someone finish the race of life poorly because of an embrace of unfaithfulness.  Finishing well is, in some ways, even more important than having everything together at the beginning or in the middle.  How we finish is what will remain on the minds and hearts of the people around us.

Let Asa’s story be a tale of caution for you.  Whatever it takes to finish well in the faith is worth the effort to make it happen.  You will be better for it and so will your children and grandchildren.  And, because we don’t know when our end will come, finishing well isn’t something we can put off until later.  We need to live every day with the thought of finishing well that day firmly in our minds and hearts.  By this we will enjoy the ongoing pleasure and favor of our God.

3 thoughts on “Morning Musings: 2 Chronicles 16:7, 10

  1. Ronald E. Keener

    Forgive me if your Morning Musings sounds a little like the morning news about the immigration issue called DACA where “the man who would be president” is like Asa who “paid off a pagan neighbor [the Congress] to deal with the problem for him [failing to lead himself]”. Asa “instead trusted in his wealth to get the problem solved” and … well, the analogy begins to run out about there.
    Your next comments about “turn[ing] away at the end [of life] and finishing poorly” sounds familiar. It can be a struggle for finishing well and hanging on for the finish line, when ever that will be. In two weeks I will be 78, in reasonably good health and mind, looking to maybe match my mother’s record who died at 95, still of good mind but using a walker.
    What is finishing well for me? Well this Sunday I will be leading a class in evangelism, using Willow Creek’s Contagious Christian six-part video. Now training others to learn how to evangelize (we try to steer clear of that e-word) for me is about as distant an assignment as the moon, but I decided to forget my fears (of looking foolish) and give it a try because no one else is doing it. Finishing well for me is to persevere in this task, with (at this moment) only two people signed up for Sunday’s class at the 11:15 hour when most people are at their favorite restaurant for Sunday brunch. But I am trusting to God giving us, in the minimum, six people which would be a credible start for this congregation of 1400 people to share the Gospel. Me, the reluctant leader, and six others…trying to lead 1400 others in doing what C.S. Lewis told us: “The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men [and women] into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose. It is even doubtful, you know, whether the whole universe was created for any other purpose.”
    Wow, did you get that? “for nothing else”–not for ladies teas. All else is “simply a waste of time”–all those board meetings and late hours and divisiveness. “whether the whole universe was created for any other purpose”–you and I are here to fulfill the Gospel, to bring person kind to salvation in Christ.
    Wow. Here I am, scared about doing it well, and finishing well, in doing something important for the Great Commission, when it is the Great Omission in many congregations this Sunday. God help me to finish well. You are right, “finishing well isn’t something we can put off until later.”
    Sorry, I just got on a roll.

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    • pastorjwaits

      DACA has indeed been in the news a great deal. It is undoubtedly a mess. But, it is not primarily a mess of Trump’s making. Had Obama not exceeded his constitutional authority by essentially writing legislation disguised as an executive order when Congress could not pass the law he wanted to see in place, we would not be in this place. Trump has created plenty of his own problems, but this is one he’s actually trying to clean up and see done the right way–through Congress–and is being blamed for causing it all the same. It’s amazing how one President can be blamed for problems that were not of his own making. But, thus is the weight of being the leader.

      On the other stuff, yes, finishing well is indeed a challenge. Your efforts to call your fellow church members to faithfulness on the issue of evangelism are a great example of striving to finish well. Your efforts there will not be in vain. And, yes, Lewis’ words are hard (as are so many of them!). I’ll be praying for your efforts as you get underway this Sunday. May your initial two become two more and then two more and on outward until you start a movement.

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    • pastorjwaits

      For what it’s worth, I wrote this post well before the DACA controversy erupted. But then, the Christian worldview is a nexus point for all of life so it’s not really much of a surprise that you see a link.

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