21 April 2009

An Ungodly Alliance – 4.21.09

2 Chronicles 14:2 And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God:

Asa was one of the best of the 8 good kings in Judah's history. Here's a list the Chronicles record gives to back up the statement in this verse:

  • After hearing the preaching of Obed the prophet, he took courage and took away the altars of the strange gods and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves, put away abominable idols, and renewed the altar of the Lord (14:3, 5; 15:1-8).
  • He commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment. All the nation entered into a covenant to seek God with all their heart and soul (14:4; 15:9-14).
  • He removed his mother from her queenly throne because she made an idol in a grove and burnt the idol at the brook Kidron (15:16).
  • Because he sought the Lord, the Lord prospered Judah and gave the nation rest (14:6-8; 15:15).
  • He trusted God to grant the victory over a mighty Ethiopian host (14:9-15).
  • And dedicated the spoils of war to the service of God (15:18).

What a guy! But unfortunately, there's a chapter 16 in the book of 2 Chronicles, and it tells a different tale regarding this man. Asa started strong (praise the Lord), but he did not finish well.

  • He became enraged when Hanani the prophet rebuked him so he put him in prison and oppressed some of the people (16:7-10).
  • He had an exceeding great disease in his feet (haven't you always wondered what that was?) but sought to physicians instead of the Lord and died (16:11-12).

What a sad ending to an otherwise happy and blessed life. It's instructive to note where the change begins in chapter 16. Verses 1-6 describe how Asa brought out silver and gold from the treasures of the house of the Lord to make a league with the pagan king of Syria, Benhadad, against Israel.

What business did a godly king of a godly nation have seeking out help from the heathen? Couldn't they have just sought the Lord? Hadn't he been faithful to meet the need in times past (that's the subject of the sermon that got Hanani jailed in 16:7-9).

As I read this story, I come to the sad realization that it's been repeated many times since. How often has a strong Christian race been slowed, been stunted, been brought to a screeching halt, because of an ungodly alliance?

Paul asked the believers in Galatians 5:7 Ye did run well; WHO did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? May we consider the example of Asa and take heed to the Spirit's instruction of 2 Corinthians 6:14-16 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God...

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