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2 Chronicles 16, Revelation 5, Zechariah 1, John 4

If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: 2 Chronicles 16, Revelation 5, Zechariah 1, John 4. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can’t do all the readings today, read 2 Chronicles 16.

Asa began well as a spiritual leader but, as we read today in 2 Chronicles 16, he changed for the worse as he grew older. Verses 7-10 told us that Asa was rebuked by Hanani, a prophet, for trusting in Ben-Hadad the king of Aram instead of God for diplomatic success. Although his alliance with Ben-Hadad worked (vv. 4-6), the Lord was not consulted or trusted for success. Likewise, when Asa faced a “severe” foot disease, “he did not seek help from the Lord, but only from the physicians” (v. 12). He had forgotten how the Lord encouraged him and strengthened him to remove the idols from Israel as we read yesterday in chapter 15. Now, in his older years, he was satisfied with living and ruling based on his own wisdom and cunning. This was both dishonoring to God and foolish for Asa because, as verse 9 said, “...the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” God was there for Asa and would have rewarded his faith with strength and skill and wisdom to face these problems but Asa refused God’s grace and chose to live by his own insight.

It is easy to see how foolish this was for Asa but to miss how often we make the same kind of choice. We can be tempted to live our daily lives as if God did not exist, making decisions without asking for his help, his wisdom, or his blessing on us. Blessed is the one who learns to rely on the Lord throughout all of his life and even more so as he gets older.

One more lesson from this passage. Verse 10 records that “Asa was angry with the seer because of this; he was so enraged that he put him in prison.” All this prophet did was bring truth to Asa, truth that would have surrounded the king in God’s grace if he had chosen to believe it and obey it. Instead of receiving the Lord’s rebuke, however, Asa “was angry with the seer.” This happens to us sometimes, too, doesn’t it? How often does someone bring truth into our lives to help us change and we resist their words and become angry with the messenger rather than receiving the truth in the message. May we learn to always receive truth for what it is--the gracious gift of God to us. It may hurt us in the moment, but that wound will keep us from the long-term damage that unaddressed sin will certainly bring in the future.

Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we’ll talk scripture again tomorrow.

2 Chronicles 14–15, Revelation 4, Haggai 2, John 3

If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: 2 Chronicles 14–15, Revelation 4, Haggai 2, John 3. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can’t do all the readings today, read 2 Chronicles 14-15.

We read about King Asa back in 1 Kings 15 and I wrote about him here. Today’s passage here in 2 Chronicles 14-15 is a lengthier account of Asa’s life with more detail than we saw in 1 Kings 15. 2 Chronicles 15 told us that a prophet spoke to Asa which encouraged the king to begin the reforms that he is known for. In the middle of verse 2 we read these words, “The Lord is with you when you are with him.” How often do we use that kind of language in our prayers: “Be with me, Lord, as I....” This passage (and plenty of others) teach us that the answer to that prayer depends a lot on what follows the words, “...as I....” Often such prayers are asking God to bless and prosper what we want to do. “Be with me, Lord, as I drive to Atlanta.” “Be with me, Lord, as I ask for a raise.” “Be with me, Lord, as I get this biopsy.” There is nothing wrong with these prayers but they are somewhat misguided. What God is about is saving people and making them holy. So God may see your request differently than you do. When we ask God to “be with” us, we are asking him to give us the outcome we want--a safe trip to Atlanta, the raise in pay we’re asking for, a negative biopsy. But God may want to use the opposite of what you expect when you ask him to “be with” you to make you holy. Or, he may use something different than what you expect to bring someone else to faith in him.

Far more important than asking God to be with us is to understand that “The Lord is with you when you are with him” (v. 2). He’s already promised his presence with us and that will work all things together for our good. What we should look for, then, is where we are out of alignment with what God wants and get into alignment. In other words, instead of asking God to be on our side, we should ask God to show us where his side is so that we can get on it. That’s the encouragement Asa received. He knew that God wanted him to remove idolatry from Israel. This verse was spoken to him by the prophet to get him to move; that is, so that he would start cleansing the idolatry just as God wanted him to do.

Have you been asking God just to be with you in anything and everything you want to do? Isn’t it more honoring to God when we look for what he is already doing and get on that side?

Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/calvarybiblechurch/. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we’ll talk scripture again tomorrow.