This morning, as I was reading my bible, I ran across the account of King Asa of Judah. At this time in Israel’s history, the entire nation of Israel was divided into the northern kingdom–Israel–and southern kingdom–Judah. In 2 Chronicles 16, Asa wants to be fortified…to have a guarantee that he will be the stronger as Israel attacks. To ensure this, King Asa makes a treaty with the King of Aram. As you may recall, God has forbidden treaties of this kind for a myriad of reasons.
King Asa is confronted by the seer, Hanani, who gets in Asa’s face about the truth of the situation. Because King Asa had trusted in man, rather than God, what appeared to be a victory, would be his downfall. By trusting in an earthly king who was supposed to be his enemy, instead of the Lord, Asa had guaranteed that he would always be at war. (See 2 Chronicles 16: 7-9 )
King Asa’s response to Hanani’s disclosure is intriguing to me. In my mind, I recall how David responded when Nathan confronted him about his sin with Bathsheba and his murder of Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah. David repented and humbly looked to the consequences that the Lord ordained as a result of his sins.
Instead of humility and repentance, Asa flips out. He loses it. Have a look:
Asa was angry with the seer because of this;he was so enraged that he put him in prison.At the same time Asa brutally oppressed some of the people.– 2 Chronicles 16:10
There is so much in this portion of scripture.
1.) There are choices to make. What seems to make sense, or be prudent, is often a treaty with the enemy. How does this show up in my desire to become whole relative to food, eating, body image? Where does it show up for you?
2.) How kind and tender God is to put people in my life who will challenge and exhort me–face me about my sin. If I look around and can’t see people like this in my life, I may want to ask why? Do I intentionally cut myself off from people that can be used of God to challenge me in this walk with him…to be more holy, to make the difficult choices? Relative to my desire to be free from my former obsessions with food and diet and self-absorption with my body, what can I do now to connect with people that God might use to encourage and challenge me?
3.) When I am faced with the reality of my own sin through the Word of God, through a conviction in my heart, or through the loving words of a godly friend, what is my reaction? Do I react in anger and lash out at others like King Asa? If I have inexplicable anger “issues,” perhaps it is a barometer of my not having dealt with sin in my life in a godly way. I know this principle is true for me. When I make rebellious choices, I tend to handle my frustration with myself by being cantankerous and ornery with others! How much better it would be to deal with my sin, instead of heaping sin up on sin! Are there ways I see this in my life right now relative to my desire for wholeness? Gosh, in the past week or so, I have been pursuing learning obedience with so much more diligence. I see my general demeanor has changed SO much! I am much more light-hearted and chipper…not lashing out. Hmm…seems like I might want to remember this in those moments when I am tempted by the “little sins” that “won’t hurt anybody else…” :-/
4.) Sometimes there are consequences to the treaties I have made. Boy, does this ever ring true for me. I was faithful to a popular weight loss program in 1996-1997. For a year, I was the star pupil at all the program meetings, getting awards and applause for my steady weight loss of 100 pounds (I subsequently regained most of that back during 1998). But during that year, my heart was becoming even more chained to food. The diet program was just another way I could obsess…and I learned in that year how to obsess and fixate on food even better than I had in all the years of overeating that came previously. Though God has redeemed many of those years, I still see that the dieting mentality can affect me so much–it is a consequence of that “treaty” for me. It is, in fact, one reason why this week’s “Babystep Challenge” has been something I have had so many concerns about. What other consequences am I having to deal with because of former “treaties” I have made? What “treaties” am I in right now? Who am I trusting in, God? Or man? Yikes. What consequences may yet be ahead if I continue on this path and don’t change my actions/heart ties?
Wow, there is so much here to be found from the experience of ancient King Asa.
Lord, thank you that Your Word is so rich with historical accounts of Your people–not just their victories, Lord, but, also their poor choices. Thank you that you have given me Your Word and that I can learn from it. Thank you that all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. Thank you for your Holy Spirit who convicts me of sin. Keep me, Lord, from making treaties with the enemy. Give me people in my life who can help me to see when I am going astray of what you want, Lord and make me tender-hearted and humble so that when I am confronted about my sin, I repent instead of lashing out in anger. Thank you for the choices you give me. Help me to make choices that honor my desire to put you first in all things. In the blessed Name of Jesus, Amen.