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Study Series:                          FINISHING WELL                           Session No. 6                             Bible Reading:  2 Chronicles 16/1-14

Introduction

So,   when faced with overwhelming military might and without any reference to the Lord God , King Asa bought a military alliance with the King of Aram, and thus gained a victory. Surely this victory vindicates Asa's actions?

Time and again God's grace proves to be greater than our rebellious attitude and sinful  conduct. Why would God still bless the ministry of a Pastor or Church leader who is involved in conduct unbecoming?

INTERACTION:  Talk about that question. Does God use leaders who dishonour Him with sinful lifestyles?   Why?   Suggestion - "Because His grace still reaches to the people of that leader's congregation. God is blessing His Word - the message; not the messenger".   How does that perspective sit with you?

That God would use an "unclean vessel" is not necessarily the sign of God's pleasure and agreement with sin in the life of the leader. Sooner or later that person's sin will be exposed for what it is. Meantime, His grace is greater than all my sin.

We have been asking right from the beginning of these sessions just what happened to change King Asa? Read carefully the words of Hanani because they identify what it was that happened to Asa and the consequences.

At that time Hanani the seer came to King Asa and told him, "Because you have put your trust in the king of Aram instead of in the LORD your God, you missed your chance to destroy the army of the king of Aram. Don't you remember what happened to the Ethiopians and Libyans and their vast army, with all of their chariots and horsemen? At that time you relied on the Lord, and he handed them all over to you. The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. (16/7-9)

INTERACTION:  This is the heart of the issue . Discuss together the change in Asa's life and what caused it. What does it say to us?

Somehow, with the passage of time, Asa moved the focus of his faith from the Lord God to human institutions and he put his trust in things natural rather than supernatural. Now that shift - be it ever so subtle over those 20 silent years - is confronted and condemned.

What a fool you have been! From now on, you will be at war." (16/9 New Living Translation)

What an incredible reversal. For most of Asa's reign the country was at peace, despite the presence of enemies all around. His treaty with the King of Aram flagged a message to those other hostile nations which must have sounded something like this: "Look, Asa has abandoned his trust in his God. He has turned to human resources which means he now becomes vulnerable. The defensive shield all around him has been lifted and we can now storm his cities and nation".

Asa became so angry with Hanani for saying this that he threw him into prison.

Recall the story of David and Bathsheba. (2 Samuel 11). Do you remember how, after about 12 months, the Prophet Nathan, confronted David about his sin? (chp.12) The Prophet placed his life on the line in taking such a stand but David recognized his guilt and repented and sought forgiveness and restoration.

Now Asa is confronted by the Seer, Hanani but his response to this exposure of his choices and conduct was very different from that of David. Nathan came to David and exposed his sin. David repented. Hanani came to Asa and exposed his sin. Asa resisted. He rebelled against the Word of the Lord and imprisoned the messenger.

 At that time, Asa also began to oppress some of his people.  (16/10).

We have seen this happen too many times over the years. The leader's response to the kind of challenge that Asa experienced is to shut down the critics. You know something is wrong when the Pastor/Leader turns on his own people.

Our next session will be the last in this series The most puzzling aspect of Asa's final years is still to come. Did he finish well or not?

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.  If you can't provide an answer that directs you to be a  doer of the word and not just a listener, then something is badly amiss

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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