Humility and not giving up

“And Asa cried out to the Lord his God, and said, “Lordit is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You!” 2 Chronicles 14:11 NKJV

Asa, drags the Lord into his mess and his fight, “oh God you are able!”  I wonder if he ever tires of hearing He is able and He is right?  I have a battle going on right now – I cry out to God that He is not only able, this really is a small ask for such an almighty God. But to me, it is a big thing! I need a mighty God! And I need a move of God.

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you and give us wisdom. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is from the book of First Kings chapters 15:1-24 and Second Chronicles 13-16 (embedded below the image below for your convenience).

Here we begin to really see the patterns I spoke of set in.  In Kings, the author is focused on his disdain for those who did not follow in the way of David – short and to the point in a quick ‘this king screwed it all up and God sovereignly poured out grace and rescues regardless of failure.  Over in Chronicles we start to set more detailed stories about each, making sure for the sake of David and the fact that the Messiah is coming through that line, that all the sons (heirs) who became kings are listed with both good and bad (able to find at least one good things about each king).  So this will begin to feel a little rollercoaster-like.  They will build high places to worship idols – the next will tear it down and usually give in and let them be rebuilt or the next king will. And down an up will go these pagan temples and up and down will go the help of God, or God’s wrath.

Here is the glorious grace of it all – God never forsook them. God always loved them. God continued to work and work and work to fix the messes man kept creating by disobeying.  For those of us struggle to overcome our flesh and each time we succeed – we do not want to be constantly bombarded with the theme: man is bad.  But we are bent towards evil. It is just the truth. So we mess up every day – we too are like the rollercoaster. BUT – the difference lies in if we are like David, after God’s heart, or not. I hope I do not mess up today. Some days it is a big mess up! Some days it is small.  If we are upset with the theme ‘Man is Bad” maybe we struggle with pride – you did not overcome the struggle of your own accord.

Before the victory over your struggle weren’t you crying out to God almost the exact same prayer as Asa above?!  I was literally crying out this prayer last night.  I mean, I can’t – but God can.  And we know God can. So will He?

“And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”
Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” Matthew 8:2-3 NKJV

And look at that – He will!

We can’t even serve Him, without His grace, Him softening our hearts, and His power. Otherwise in our weakness and humanly fragility, we lose hope and resort back to our sinful nature.

I pray the Lord keeps you. And my hope for you is that you press in – and enjoy your relationship with God. Christianity is all about having a relationship with the Almighty God – about being His bride. And second to that it is about others. So if you are working on you – it needs to be in relation to Him. If you have a ‘you problem’ or ‘your flesh problem’ – make sure you keep it in perspective, subjected to Him. Otherwise – Christianity is all about others, freeing them from the grasp of death or supporting other Christians.

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: Mark 16:17-18 – This month is month two of the two for one special!!!
NKJV – “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
NAS – “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not harm them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
ESV – “And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
NLT – “These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”
NIV – “And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: 1 Kings 15:1-24 & 2 Chronicles 13-16 NKJV

1 Kings 15:1-24

Abijam Reigns in Judah

15 In the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam the son of Nebat, Abijam became king over Judah. He reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Maachah the granddaughter of Abishalom. And he walked in all the sins of his father, which he had done before him; his heart was not [a]loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David. Nevertheless for David’s sake the Lord his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, by setting up his son after him and by establishing Jerusalem; because David did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. And there was war between [b]Rehoboam and Jeroboam all the days of his life. Now the rest of the acts of Abijam, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? And there was war between Abijam and Jeroboam.

So Abijam [c]rested with his fathers, and they buried him in the City of David. Then Asa his son reigned in his place.

Asa Reigns in Judah

In the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Asa became king over Judah. 10 And he reigned forty-one years in Jerusalem. His grandmother’s name was Maachah the granddaughter of Abishalom. 11 Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as did his father David. 12 And he banished the [d]perverted persons from the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. 13 Also he removed Maachah his grandmother from being queen mother, because she had made an obscene image of [e]Asherah. And Asa cut down her obscene image and burned it by the Brook Kidron. 14 But the [f]high places were not removed. Nevertheless Asa’s heart was loyal to the Lord all his days. 15 He also brought into the house of the Lord the things which his father had dedicated, and the things which he himself had dedicated: silver and gold and utensils.

16 Now there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days. 17 And Baasha king of Israel came up against Judah, and built Ramah, that he might let none go out or come in to Asa king of Judah. 18 Then Asa took all the silver and gold that was left in the treasuries of the house of the Lord and the treasuries of the king’s house, and delivered them into the hand of his servants. And King Asa sent them to Ben-Hadad the son of Tabrimmon, the son of Hezion, king of Syria, who dwelt in Damascus, saying, 19 Let there be a treaty between you and me, as there was between my father and your father. See, I have sent you a present of silver and gold. Come and break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel, so that he will withdraw from me.”

20 So Ben-Hadad heeded King Asa, and sent the captains of his armies against the cities of Israel. He attacked Ijon, Dan, Abel Beth Maachah, and all Chinneroth, with all the land of Naphtali. 21 Now it happened, when Baasha heard it, that he stopped building Ramah, and remained in Tirzah.

22 Then King Asa made a proclamation throughout all Judah; none was exempted. And they took away the stones and timber of Ramah, which Baasha had used for building; and with them King Asa built Geba of Benjamin, and Mizpah.

23 The rest of all the acts of Asa, all his might, all that he did, and the cities which he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? But in the time of his old age he was diseased in his feet. 24 So Asa [g]rested with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the City of David his father. Then Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his place.

Footnotes

  1. 1 Kings 15:3 Lit. at peace with
  2. 1 Kings 15:6 So with MT, LXX, Tg., Vg.; some Heb. mss., Syr. Abijam
  3. 1 Kings 15:8 Died and joined his ancestors
  4. 1 Kings 15:12 Heb. qedeshim, those practicing sodomy and prostitution in religious rituals
  5. 1 Kings 15:13 A Canaanite goddess
  6. 1 Kings 15:14 Places for pagan worship
  7. 1 Kings 15:24 Died and joined his ancestors

2 Chronicles 13-16

Abijah Reigns in Judah

13 In the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam, Abijah became king over Judah. He reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was [a]Michaiah the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah.

And there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. Abijah set the battle in order with an army of valiant warriors, four hundred thousand choice men. Jeroboam also drew up in battle formation against him with eight hundred thousand choice men, mighty men of valor.

Then Abijah stood on Mount Zemaraim, which is in the mountains of Ephraim, and said, “Hear me, Jeroboam and all Israel: Should you not know that the Lord God of Israel gave the dominion over Israel to David forever, to him and his sons, by a covenant of salt? Yet Jeroboam the son of Nebat, the servant of Solomon the son of David, rose up and rebelled against his lord. Then worthless rogues gathered to him, and strengthened themselves against Rehoboam the son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and inexperienced and could not withstand them. And now you think to withstand the kingdom of the Lord, which is in the hand of the sons of David; and you are a great multitude, and with you are the gold calves which Jeroboam made for you as gods. Have you not cast out the priests of the Lord, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and made for yourselves priests, like the peoples of other lands, so that whoever comes to consecrate himself with a young bull and seven rams may be a priest of things that are not gods? 10 But as for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not forsaken Him; and the priests who minister to the Lord are the sons of Aaron, and the Levites attend to their duties. 11 And they burn to the Lord every morning and every evening burnt sacrifices and sweet incense; they also set the showbread in order on the pure gold table, and the lampstand of gold with its lamps to burn every evening; for we keep the command of the Lord our God, but you have forsaken Him. 12 Now look, God Himself is with us as our head, and His priests with sounding trumpets to sound the alarm against you. O children of Israel, do not fight against the Lord God of your fathers, for you shall not prosper!”

13 But Jeroboam caused an ambush to go around behind them; so they were in front of Judah, and the ambush was behind them. 14 And when Judah looked around, to their surprise the battle line was at both front and rear; and they cried out to the Lord, and the priests sounded the trumpets. 15 Then the men of Judah gave a shout; and as the men of Judah shouted, it happened that God struck Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah. 16 And the children of Israel fled before Judah, and God delivered them into their hand. 17 Then Abijah and his people struck them with a great slaughter; so five hundred thousand choice men of Israel fell slain. 18 Thus the children of Israel were subdued at that time; and the children of Judah prevailed, because they relied on the Lord God of their fathers.

19 And Abijah pursued Jeroboam and took cities from him: Bethel with its villages, Jeshanah with its villages, and Ephrain[b] with its villages. 20 So Jeroboam did not recover strength again in the days of Abijah; and the Lord struck him, and he died.

21 But Abijah grew mighty, married fourteen wives, and begot twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters. 22 Now the rest of the acts of Abijah, his ways, and his sayings are written in the [c]annals of the prophet Iddo.

Asa Reigns over Judah

14 So Abijah rested with his fathers, and they buried him in the City of David. Then Asa his son reigned in his place. In his days the land was quiet for ten years.

Asa Reigns in Judah

Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God, for he removed the altars of the foreign gods and the [d]high places, and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the wooden images. He commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers, and to observe the law and the commandment. He also removed the [e]high places and the incense altars from all the cities of Judah, and the kingdom was quiet under him. And he built fortified cities in Judah, for the land had rest; he had no war in those years, because the Lord had given him rest. Therefore he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and make walls around them, and towers, gates, and bars, while the land is yet before us, because we have sought the Lord our God; we have sought Him, and He has given us rest on every side.” So they built and prospered. And Asa had an army of three hundred thousand from Judah who carried [f]shields and spears, and from Benjamin two hundred and eighty thousand men who carried shields and drew bows; all these were mighty men of valor.

Then Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and three hundred chariots, and he came to Mareshah. 10 So Asa went out against him, and they set the troops in battle array in the Valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. 11 And Asa cried out to the Lord his God, and said, “Lord, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You!”

12 So the Lord struck the Ethiopians before Asa and Judah, and the Ethiopians fled. 13 And Asa and the people who were with him pursued them to Gerar. So the Ethiopians were overthrown, and they could not recover, for they were broken before the Lord and His army. And they carried away very much [g]spoil. 14 Then they defeated all the cities around Gerar, for the fear of the Lord came upon them; and they plundered all the cities, for there was exceedingly much [h]spoil in them. 15 They also [i]attacked the livestock enclosures, and carried off sheep and camels in abundance, and returned to Jerusalem.

The Reforms of Asa

15 Now the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded. And he went out [j]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. For a long time Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law; but when in their trouble they turned to the Lord God of Israel, and sought Him, He was found by them. And in those times there was no peace to the one who went out, nor to the one who came in, but great turmoil was on all the inhabitants of the lands. So nation was [k]destroyed by nation, and city by city, for God troubled them with every adversity. But you, be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded!”

And when Asa heard these words and the prophecy of [l]Oded the prophet, he took courage, and removed the abominable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities which he had taken in the mountains of Ephraim; and he restored the altar of the Lord that was before the vestibule of the Lord. Then he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and those who dwelt with them from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon, for they came over to him in great numbers from Israel when they saw that the Lord his God was with him.

10 So they gathered together at Jerusalem in the third month, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa. 11 And they offered to the Lord [m]at that time seven hundred bulls and seven thousand sheep from the [n]spoil they had brought. 12 Then they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul; 13 and whoever would not seek the Lord God of Israel was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. 14 Then they took an oath before the Lord with a loud voice, with shouting and trumpets and rams’ horns. 15 And all Judah rejoiced at the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and sought Him with all their soul; and He was found by them, and the Lord gave them rest all around.

16 Also he removed Maachah, the [o]mother of Asa the king, from being queen mother, because she had made an obscene image of [p]Asherah; and Asa cut down her obscene image, then crushed and burned it by the Brook Kidron. 17 But the [q]high places were not removed from Israel. Nevertheless the heart of Asa was loyal all his days.

18 He also brought into the house of God the things that his father had dedicated and that he himself had dedicated: silver and gold and utensils. 19 And there was no war until the thirty-fifth year of the reign of Asa.

Asa’s Treaty with Syria

16 In the thirty-sixth year of the reign of Asa, Baasha king of Israel came up against Judah and built Ramah, that he might let none go out or come in to Asa king of Judah. Then Asa brought silver and gold from the treasuries of the house of the Lord and of the king’s house, and sent to Ben-Hadad king of Syria, who dwelt in Damascus, saying, Let there be a treaty between you and me, as there was between my father and your father. See, I have sent you silver and gold; come, break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel, so that he will withdraw from me.”

So Ben-Hadad heeded King Asa, and sent the captains of his armies against the cities of Israel. They attacked Ijon, Dan, Abel Maim, and all the storage cities of Naphtali. Now it happened, when Baasha heard it, that he stopped building Ramah and ceased his work. Then King Asa took all Judah, and they carried away the stones and timber of Ramah, which Baasha had used for building; and with them he built Geba and Mizpah.

Hanani’s Message to Asa

And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said to him: “Because you have relied on the king of Syria, and have not relied on the Lord your God, therefore the army of the king of Syria has escaped from your hand. Were the Ethiopians and the Lubim not a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet, because you relied on the Lord, He delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars.” 10 Then Asa was angry with the seer, and put him in prison, for he was enraged at him because of this. And Asa oppressed some of the people at that time.

Illness and Death of Asa

11 Note that the acts of Asa, first and last, are indeed written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. 12 And in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa became diseased in his feet, and his malady was severe; yet in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but the physicians.

13 So Asa [r]rested with his fathers; he died in the forty-first year of his reign. 14 They buried him in his own tomb, which he had [s]made for himself in the City of David; and they laid him in the bed which was filled with spices and various ingredients prepared in a mixture of ointments. They made a very great burning for him.

Footnotes

  1. 2 Chronicles 13:2 Maachah, 1 Kin. 15:22 Chr. 11:2021
  2. 2 Chronicles 13:19 Or Ephron
  3. 2 Chronicles 13:22 Or commentary, Heb. midrash
  4. 2 Chronicles 14:3 Places for pagan worship
  5. 2 Chronicles 14:5 Places for pagan worship
  6. 2 Chronicles 14:8 large shields
  7. 2 Chronicles 14:13 plunder
  8. 2 Chronicles 14:14 plunder
  9. 2 Chronicles 14:15 Lit. struck
  10. 2 Chronicles 15:2 Lit. before
  11. 2 Chronicles 15:6 Lit. beaten in pieces
  12. 2 Chronicles 15:8 So with MT, LXX; Syr., Vg. Azariah the son of Oded (cf. v. 1)
  13. 2 Chronicles 15:11 Lit. in that day
  14. 2 Chronicles 15:11 plunder
  15. 2 Chronicles 15:16 Or grandmother
  16. 2 Chronicles 15:16 A Canaanite deity
  17. 2 Chronicles 15:17 Places for pagan worship
  18. 2 Chronicles 16:13 Died and joined his ancestors
  19. 2 Chronicles 16:14 Lit. dug

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