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Study Series:                          FINISHING WELL                           Session No. 7                             Bible Reading:  2 Chronicles 16/1-14


So we come to the final segment and, for me, the most challenging. It was these final verses that arrested my attention initially and sent me on the pursuit to answer the question, "What happened to Asa that he should have begun so well but ended so sadly?"

INTERACTION:   Do you recall the names of any Biblical characters who didn't finish well? Do you know of any contemporary examples of people who have not finished well? You may know first-hand of people who are not finishing well.

There is a strange contradiction in Asa's life. He didn't "do evil in the eyes of the Lord" like many of the kings around him. In fact, earlier in this series, we read these words,

Although the pagan shrines were not completely removed from Israel, Asa remained fully committed to the LORD throughout his life. (2 Chron 15:17)

Whatever else we may say about Asa, it must be subject to this summary statement of Scripture; Asa remained fully committed to the LORD throughout his life. We may not understand what he did and why he did it but he is affirmed in Scripture.

Yet in these final verses, there is a very obvious strain in Asa's relationship with God. How did this strain manifest itself? Well, there came into Asa's life another challenge.  In this case the 'enemy' was a diseased foot. This is almost humorous were it not so tragic.

In the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa developed a serious foot disease. Even when the disease became life threatening, he did not seek the LORD's help but sought help only from his physicians. 16:12

 Why would Asa not reach the point of abandoning his pride and seeking help from the Lord?  Why would he rather abandon his relationship with God and depend entirely upon human knowledge and skill.

IINTERACTION:   Have there been times in your life when you felt you could not pray? Times when you felt there was relational "distance" between you and the Lord so that the strained relationship meant you gave God "the silent treatment?

I can only guess why Asa adopted this attitude but I offer the following possibilities for you to consider:

1. Asa had allowed an attitude of presumption and arrogance to grow within him as evidenced when he took the Lord's property (the gold and silver) to buy a team of mercenaries.  Without so much as consulting the Lord on His strategy for defeating King Baasha, Asa's arrogance shows us that he believed he no longer needed God.

2. Although he remained faithful and committed to the Lord right throughout his life, he did so only in the sense that he did not pursue other gods and get caught up in false religion. He was no longer talking with God. There appears to be some area that was not resolved and Asa chose to put distance between himself and his God.

3. Maybe he was feeling unworthy of asking the Lord for anything? How could he ask God for help with his disease when he had, in the words of Hanani, been such a fool! Even though he had thrown Hanani into prison for such an outburst, perhaps those words finally hit their target. So he died without being reconciled to his God. Asa's last days were not rebellious. They were tragic and sad. They didn't have to be that way but that's what he chose.

I know people who once walked with the Lord in intimacy and joy but who now keep their distance and seek the Lord for nothing. Some of them (and I am convinced they are still saved) don't walk with the Lord anymore because God has not lived up to their expectations. For example, they believed God could and would heal their loved one but He didn't and the friend died a most heart-wrenching, painful death. Maybe they suffered a severe financial reversal. A marriage breakdown. A chronic and debilitating illness. We will never know the circumstances but I wonder if something like the above caused Asa to distance himself from God.

Gene Edwards in his inspirational little book , "The Prisoner in the Third Cell", puts the question thus: Will you follow a God you do not understand; will you follow a God who does not live up to your expectations?

I believe there are many people 'out there' who once professed faith in God. But through ignorance and disappointment they find it easier to pull back, unsure if they can handle this journey of faith. They have not abandoned their relationship with God. They just live at an appropriate distance and no longer enjoy fellowship as was once the case. They just feel that they cannot trust Him with the daily affairs of life so they have disqualified themselves.

But living at a distance from God means living at a distance from God's people. There is a loneliness in living life on the edge or just outside the fellowship of God's people; it's a loneliness that is unnecessary. There are those within the Church who can support you because they have been where you are now. They came in from the cold. So can you.

I don't think there is a definitive answer to "What happened to Asa "? But it is not too late for you to finish well.

 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?



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





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