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Study Series:                             FINISHING WELL                          Session No. 3

                                        Bible Reading:  2 Chronicles 14/9-15

Introduction

Welcome to Session 3 of our series, "Finishing Well". You are probably engaging with this particular theme because you are a disciple of Jesus Christ and you want your life to finish well. Wouldn't it be great to finish your life on the same note as the Apostle Paul.

INTERACTION:  Read and discuss 2 Timothy 4/6-8. What imagery does Paul use to describe his life's journey? Read also 1 John 2/28. Talk about "shrink back in shame.,.."

We have been examining King Asa's life because he was one who started so well but something went wrong.  In this session we will particularly look at his prayer to God when he was under attack. How a person prays (or doesn't pray) tells us a lot about their relationship with God. How they pray in the face of opposition tells us a whole lot more!

THE PEACE IS INVADED

Asa's kingdom enjoyed a period of peace. (2 Chron 14:5). But Asa was wise enough to realise that peace in the land was not an invitation to relax and let down his guard. There were enemies all around and Asa knew that the time would come when one or more of those enemies would come against Judah in combat. So Asa did not become complacent. He was constantly on guard and used this period of peace to build and fortify the cities.

INTERACTION:  We, too, need to heed the many calls in Scripture to be alert to the reality of our enemy Putting on the whole armour of God (Ephesians 6) is not just a suggestion. It is a command.  Read and discuss these verses and their relevance (if any)       

*1 Peter5/8.             * Ephesians 6/10,11.             *2 Corinthians 2/11

Well, sure enough, in due course an enemy attacked with a force far greater than that of the Kingdom of Judah. So what was Asa to do? He knew that their deliverance in the past was due to God being with them and fighting for them. King Asa and his people are well placed to confront this huge threat but Asa knew why they could depend upon the Lord. What is important to note is that Asa gave all the credit and glory to the Lord.

The land is ours because we sought the LORD our God, and he has given us rest from our enemies." (14/7).

So he prayed.  

Notice that this was the first thing he did, not the last. Sadly, too many of us treat prayer as a last resort rather than the first resource.

INTERACTION:    How do you respond to the statement, "Well, I guess there's nothing else we can do but pray"!? j What does that response tell you about the people who make it?

Bringing this truth into our contemporary situation is vital for we, too, need to recognize that all that we have and all that we are is because we sought the Lord and we have entered into His security and protection through the provision of the Lord Jesus Christ.

"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 NLT)

INTERACTION:   What do you learn about Asa as you listen to his prayer? What do you learn about prayer as you listen to Asa? Please don't rush this segment.  Make comments, ask questions, share your response with the others.

The outcome of Asa's prayer reads thus

So the LORD defeated the Ethiopians in the presence of Asa and the army of Judah, and the enemy fled. 14:12-13

What a fascinating way to describe the answer to Asa's prayer! I would have expected something like "the Lord helped Asa defeat the enemy" or "Asa's arm was strengthened by the Lord so that he could win the battle". It was as if Asa and his army were spectators, not participants. It was One against a million which sounds like impossible odds until we realize who the One is. The Lord God Almighty.

INTERTACTION:   As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are engaged in spiritual warfare. Our enemy appears to outnumber us. Using Asa as a model, what can we learn about the place of prayer in this battle?

 

FOOTNOTE:  Not only do I hope that you and I will "finish well" whenever our time here on earth is concerned, I hope we will finish each of these study sessions well! One way to encourage that is for us to ask two questions at the end of each session

a) What am I supposed to KNOW (learn) from this session and be able to write it down?

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b) What am I supposed to DO as a result of this session that is a practical application?

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