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Be strong and do not give up
by Jack Jones
6/04/2012 / Leadership
But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded....2 Chronicles 15:7
The history of the Kings of Judah and Israel are not whimsical fables bearing no relevance to our lives. This section of Scripture outlines the exploits of men in power. Politicians, Presidents, Chief Executive Officers, Business Owners or Teachers. People given authority over others. The wisdom to be learnt is priceless.
Within these pages a repetitive theme of good king bad king unfolds. Fool and sage. Trusting in God or worshipping self. These turbulent journeys of triumph and tribulation are framed by the guidance, discipline, blessing and curse of the omnificent Creator. No other literature offers the insight of knowing how God Himself influences the influential.
Prior to this verse King Asa has been ordained the monarch of a godless nation. His own grandmother worships pagan gods, altars are erected to everything from the starry host to any foreign deity offering blessing. Everything is worshipped except the one true God. This is the reason why the nations surrounding them are in such turmoil. God is causing their distress (Vs 15:6).
Amongst this... God encourages Asa.
Be strong, do not give up - you will be rewarded. When King Asa hears these words he is indeed encouraged. He summons the people back to God, challenges them with the threat of death, dethrones his own grandmother and repairs God's altar. He is literally on fire. Asa's renewed reformation (vv.8-15) involved the removal of Judah's "detestable idols," and also of the sexual immoralities that accompanied such originally Canaanitish worship (Gaebelein 1988).
King Asa subsequently reigned for forty one years. In comparison to many, this seemed an eternity. During this time he was blessed with twenty years of peace. No war, no turmoil, no trouble. Twenty years of prosperity and peace. God, as always, was true to His word. Unfortunately Asa was not.
When a second colossal army threatened to destroy the nation he offered them money. He trusted in mammon rather than God. That was the end of his blessings. From then on war returned to Judah (vs 16:9).
When God encourages us to seek Him He means it. To not put our trust in horses or chariots (Psalm) or store up treasures here on earth (Matt) rather, we are to seek Him; His Kingdom is first. We fool ourselves and place our hope in finances, careers, homes, superannuation, insurances. Then find our lives in turmoil, disaster comes on all fronts, ill health, confusion and even death draws close.
When this happens it is often God giving us a warning. Stop trusting in your other 'gods'. That is idolatry. Come back to the narrow path that Jesus walks. Rid your life of idols. Be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.
The work is the removal of idols - the reward... is God.
Jack Jones, Editor of The Christian Network and Street Chaplain - http://www.thechristiannetwork.com, Australia's most comprehensive Christian Web Magazine.
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