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LIFE ISSUES

So, without any reference to the Lord God Asa bought a military alliance with the King of Aram, and thus gained a victory. Surely this vindicates Asa's actions? Sometimes God's grace proves to be greater than our attitude and conduct. Why would God still bless the ministry of a Pastor or Church leader who is involved in conduct unbecoming? Because His grace still reaches to the people of that leader's congregation.  Apparent blessing is not necessarily the sign of God's pleasure and agreement. And sooner or later that person's sin will be exposed for what it is. 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.

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 the years - is confronted and condemned.

What a fool you have been! From now on, you will be at war."

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. Do you remember how, after about 12 months, the Prophet Nathan, confronted David about his sin? The Prophet placed his life on the line in taking such a stand but David recognised his guilt and repented and sought forgiveness and restoration.

Now Asa is confronted by the Seer, Hanani but his response to this expose 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).

I've 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 leader turns on his own people.

I hope you will join me for the 8th (and final) instalment of "Finishing Well". The most puzzling aspect of Asa's  final years is still to come. Did he finish well or not?

 

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