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On those rare occasions in my middle years when I have allowed my mind to wander forward to that part of life that we mistakenly call the retirement years, I recall that my one great desire as a Christian was to finish well. The Bible speaks too often about those men and women who began well but ended poorly. I do not want to be one of them.

INTERACTION: Can you think of two Biblical examples of (a) someone who finished their earthly life well and (b) someone who finished their life poorly and in shame?

Not too many Christians hang around the historical books of the Old Testament. Yet the Old Testament is filled with stories that give insights that are invaluable. Some of those accounts we learned about in our childhood years (e.g. David and Goliath, Noah and the Ark, Moses and the Exodus etc.) It may or may not surprise you to find that some in your group have never heard of King Asa, let alone read about him and examined his life.

ENTER KING ASA

Please read 2 Chronicles 14/1-8

It seems that his life is divided into 2 sections and each part remarkably different from the other. In some ways it was as if he was one person in the early years and yet his life changed somewhere and he became another person.

INTERACTION From the first 8 verses of chapter 14, develop a profile of this new King. Are their particular attributes or qualities that are commendable to you? Discuss and list your responses

As I read his story, I had some questions. What happened in the course of his life that brought about such a change? How much did the change impact his relationship with God? Are there lessons for you and me in Asas story; lessons that would be wise for us to learn and put into practice

A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF ASAS REIGN (2 Chronicles chps. 14, 15, 16)

With the division of the Kingdom of Israel following the death of King Solomon, there were a series of kings in both the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom. Many or most of those rulers did evil in the sight of the Lord. However there were a few whose lives and leadership were a standout in the example they set for the nation.

Asa became King upon the death of his father, Abijah, and he immediately set about making huge changes. The opening credits on his life are summed up in the phrase, Asa did what was pleasing and good in the eyes of the Lord his God. (2 Chron.14/2). What Asa did pleased the Lord.

INTERACTION Pleasing the Lord - a noble and necessary goal. Read and discuss the following verses and their relevance to this theme. What is the recurring word?

Matt 25:23 Luke 3/22 1 Corinthians 10/5 Hebrews 11/6

King Asa is setting a good course for his reign. Yet, at the end of his life, a seer says to him, What a fool you have been! (16/9). A good start does not guarantee a good finish. What happened to Asa that such a promising beginning ended with such a very different appraisal.

Where did he go wrong? What did he do or not do that brought about such a disturbing reversal? Is it possible to examine his relationship with God and his reign over his people so that we identify not only his wrong decisions or choices but to find their cultural equivalents in our day and age?

Who was it who said words to the effect, Those who do not learn from the mistakes of history are doomed to repeat them?

I would encourage you to anchor your devotional boat in 2 Chronicles chapters 14, 15 and 16 and fish them for all your worth!! There a great insights that will be very helpful as we seek to apply the truth of Gods word to our everyday live

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 cant provide an answer that directs you to be a doer of the word and not just a listener, then something is badly amiss in our presentation.

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

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

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