Sometimes I come to my keyboard for these posts with an idea of what I’m going to write about. Most of the time, I don’t. I simply start writing about the first thing that comes to mind. Sometimes I need to open up my bible. Today was one of those days, and it opened on one of my favorite passages. Actually, this is not as incredible as it may seem because I have favorite passages everywhere in my bible. However, this is indeed one of my favorite.
It has to do with King Asa, father of my favorite king, Jehoshaphat. While King Asa had a couple significant issues at the end of his life, the record states, “And Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God.” (2 Chron. 14:2) I think I would do well if that was on my headstone one day. Anyway, King Asa made great religious reforms, bringing the nations of Judah and Benjamin back to the Lord. In fact, he didn’t put up with guff from anyone, including his own mother whom he “removed from being high queen mother because she had made a detestable image for Asherah.” (v. 15:16). How about them apples?
Let’s take a look at the passage I want to focus on today.
2 Chronicles 15:14-15 They swore an oath to the Lord with a loud voice and with shouting and with trumpets and with horns. And all Judah rejoiced over the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and sought him with their whole desire, and he was found by them, and the Lord gave them rest all around.
First, let’s spend some time thinking about that scene. This type of thing simply doesn’t happen, at least that I can recall, in which the leader of a nation goes all out to serve Jesus. I use the name Jesus because He and the Father are one, and I want to make a clear distinction about who it is we are worshipping. Society at large is comfortable with the label “God”, yet we all know that can mean just about anything. To worship Jesus is something completely different. In fact, most who use the label “Christian” are very uncomfortable with the idea of worshipping Jesus, let alone going all-in for him. Am I not right on that?
So, can you think of the leader of any nation, apart from a few of the early kings, that were all-in for Jesus? Perhaps one may argue for the Roman Catholic Church/Nation or England or Spain, especially during the days the church expanded. I don’t know my history very well, but the overall flavor I remember had more to do with imperialism than evangelism. The latter was used as the front for the other. Maybe I’m wrong about that. Still, can you recall anyone in the last 100 years that has done this? Here’s the summary record of King Asa:
v. 14:3-7 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. And he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the Lord our God. We have sought him, and he has given us peace on every side.” So they built and prospered.
All this was so serious, in fact, “that whoever would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, should be put to death, whether young or old, man or woman.” (v. 15:13). Talk about a cleaning of the house! Would this even be possible in this day and age? It’s hard to imagine how it could. The idea of freedom of religion is so engrained into our nation that we cannot imagine endorsing a leader that will kill those who worship differently. Isn’t this the very thing that ISIS did that we found was so reprehensible?
Yet, we don’t even need to go to this extreme to realize we don’t have a leader, anywhere in the world, with a determination to follow the Lord. The United States does not have leadership that can say “enough” to the clear deterioration of Christian practices in government. We don’t have leadership that says “enough” to the current cultural trends we are now promoting in schools to our little children. Nope. We are so far away from any of that, we cannot imagine something so serious as the reforms of King Asa.
Even though Asa’s reforms were very deliberate, I don’t think it is fair to say that it wasn’t welcomed by the vast majority of people. “And all of Judah rejoiced over the oath.” It’s one thing to swear a pledge with fingers crossed behind your back, it’s another to rejoice. Unless we are willing to say the bible deliberately (or even ignorantly) lied, then we must assume that everyone rejoiced. Why? Because “they had sworn with all their heart and sought him with their whole desire, and he was found by them, and the Lord gave them rest all around.”
Certainly, we need to pray for national leaders such as this, with guts to put their foot down. Does this mean I promote capital punishment for those who don’t “comply”? Please.
More importantly, it would be wise of me to seriously ask of myself whether I am walking as those people that day. Am I rejoicing over my oath? Can I renew that oath today with a loud voice and with shouting? Can I do so with trumpets and horns? Can I do so with all my heart and seek him with my whole desire? If I do, I can be certain that I will find him and the Lord will give me rest all around. Do I desire this? Enough to make it clear to everyone? Today?
Father, root out anything that keeps me from doing just this. Expose anything that keeps me from honoring you publically for all the world to see. Let me not blend in with the world, one little bit, when it comes to matters of faith and the open practice of it. Encourage me to publically display my loyalty to you. Amen.
Copyright © 2017 Scott Powers