Daily D – 2 Chronicles 16:9
“The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. What a fool you have been! From now on you will be at war.” 2 CHRONICLES 16:9 (NLT)
Few good decisions are made once and only once. Most good decisions require repetition. Good habits are formed when we repeatedly making good decisions. Good habits maximize our lives just like bad habits wither our vitality.
A buddy of mine loves to joke about why he does not lift weights. He said he tried once but they were heavy. A quarter of a century ago, I received monthly cassette tapes on leadership development from a well-known organization. One of the first tapes was about addiction to adrenaline. It included wise instruction on healthy approaches to work and rest. It stressed the importance of regular physical exercise throughout the week, and not on weekends alone. The focus was on creating positive, life-giving habits.
Habits are those things we repeatedly do. Among the most life-giving habits we can form is learning to trust God from the bottom of our hearts (Prov. 3:5, 6 The Message). Lean on him morning by morning and all day long. Moving from a Sunday by Sunday faith to a daily walk with God is transformative. This habit carries us from victory to victory and through the darkest valleys.
There is a strong temptation to believe that since God once intervened in our lives in an unmistakable manner that he will always do so. It is as if we think we are special and God sees things the way we do and he will do what we want when we want. Our prayers sound like, “My will be done.”
We like the first half of today’s verse. We cannot ignore the second half, however. Two chapters before this event, we find King Asa in a spot of bother. What did he do? He did the right thing. He turned his attention to God and told him what was on his heart.
Then Asa cried out to the LORD his God, “O LORD, no one but you can help the powerless against the mighty! Help us, O LORD our God, for we trust in you alone. It is in your name that we have come against this vast horde. O LORD, you are our God; do not let mere men prevail against you!”
2 Chron. 14:11
That was a good move. Things went well, spectacularly so. Then God spoke through Azariah:
“Listen to me, Asa!” he shouted. “Listen, all you people of Judah and Benjamin! The LORD will stay with you as long as you stay with him! Whenever you seek him, you will find him. But if you abandon him, he will abandon you.”
2 Chron. 15:1, 2
It was only a few verses later when Azariah continued by saying, “But as for you, be strong and courageous, for your work will be rewarded,” (v. 7).
Years later, Asa no doubt remembered what God had done for him. However, he appears to have forgotten how to pray. He did what he thought he should do without seeking God’s guidance. When Hanani spoke the words of today’s verse, Asa threw him in jail. He took out his anger on a lot of innocent people. So ends Asa’s story.
Like Asa, we have the choice day by day to do what we want to do when and how we want to do it. We also have the choice to do what Asa did years earlier and live in dependence on God and what only he can do. God is looking for someone to bless today. Are you and I living the kinds of lives he can bless?
Asa lived a life God could bless early on. He received God’s promise that he would continue blessing him as long as he trusted him. Everything went downhill fast when he stopped trusting God. His early practice of dependent prayer did not turn into a habit. His bad habit of not turning to God led to his failures.
What observations and applications do you make from Asa’s story? How will your story differ?
I will live a life fully committed to God.
Our Father, I want what you want. That’s all I want. What you want is better than what I want. What you provide is better than anything I could desire. My trust is in you alone. Amen.
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Jeremiah 35:12-14 “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go and tell the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘Will you not learn a lesson and obey my words?’ declares the Lord. ‘Jehonadab son of Rekab ordered his descendants not to drink wine and this command has been kept. To this day they do not drink wine, because they obey their forefather’s command. But I have spoken to you again and again, yet you have not obeyed me.”
Psalm 78:70-72 He chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.
Jeremiah 23:20-22 The anger of the Lord will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart. In days to come you will understand it clearly. I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.