Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 6 years ago

Asa's Continued Success (2 Chronicles 15)

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christopher Chelpka

He may be seated. Let's turn our attention to second chronicles, Chapter Fifteen. Second Chronicles Chapter Fifteen, this is part two a three part story about King Asa. Second Chronicles Chapter Fifteen. This is God's word. Let's give our attention to it. The spirit of God came upon Azarai, the son of obd, and he went out to meet ASA and said to him, hear me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin, the Lord is with you, while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. For a long time, Israel was without the true God and without a teaching priest and without law. But when in their distress, they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them. In those times, there was no peace to him who went out or to him who came in, for great disturbances afflicted all the inhabitants of the lands. They were broken in peace. Is nation was crushed by nation and city by city, for God troubled them with every sort of distress. But you take courage, do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded as soon as asa heard these words, the prophecy of Azariah, the son of Obed, he took courage and put away the detestable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities that he had taken in the hill country of Ephrium, and he repaired the altar of the Lord that was in front of the vestibule of the House of the Lord, and he gathered all Judah and Benjamin and those from Ephraim, Manassa and Simeon who were residing with them, for great numbers had deserted to him from Israel when they saw that the Lord, his God, was with him. They were gathered at Jerusalem in the third month of the fifty fifteen year of the reign of ASA. They sacrifice to the Lord on that day, from the spoil that they had brought, seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep, and they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul, but that whoever would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, should be put to death, whether young or old, man or woman. They swore an oath to the Lord with a loud voice and with shouting and with sumpets and with horns, and all Judah rejoiced over the earth, over the oath, for...

...they had sworn with all their heart and had sought him with their whole desire, and he was found by them and the Lord gave them rest. All around. Even Maka, the mother, or his mother, King Asa, removed from being Queen Mother because she had made a detestable image for Asherah. Asa cut down her image, crushed it and burned it at the book Brook Kid drawn, but the high places were not taken out of Israel. Nevertheless, the heart of asa was holly true all his days and he brought into the House of God the sacred gifts of his father and his own sacred gifts, silver and gold and vessels. And there was no more war until the thirty five year of the reign of ASA. May God bless his words to us. Well, I said, here we have the second of three parts of ASA's reign, and here, in this account of a great success during Asa's kingdom, we have a story that tells us something about the past so that we can understand what God is doing in the present. God reve feels these things to us in the Old Testament, not just so that we might be interested or here a nice story, but so that we might know something of him. He tells us these things so that we might know who he is and the things that he's done and the things that he's doing even now. And so I want to start with speaking about an ever true promise. Then will promise that comes from the Lord, and then will consider ASA's response, a model response, I think, and then finally we'll finish with an assuring action, God's reward and what he gives to asa fulfillment of these promises. So first the ever true promise, as Ariah comes to King Asa by way of God. The spirit of God, we read, came upon Azariah, the son of Obed and now, as God's spokesman, is what this is, what prophets are, he goes and he goes to King Asa and he speaks to him and all jude and and Benjamin. He speaks to the southern kingdom and he says these words. Is we read in verse two. The Lord is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. There's something very simple about this, but it's also very profect sound. There are some things that we seek that we do not find.

It's a remarkable thing to say that if you seek it, you will find it. It's often not true. I don't know how many of you are searching for your keys before you came here, I was. I found them, fortunately, but there are often times we don't find the things that we're looking for, and not just possessions, but the big things love, peace, meaning or truth, justification, holiness, forgiveness of our sins. Some people go their entire lives seeking these things, hope, promise, salvation, something spiritual, something meaningful, something heavenly, and they seek and they seek and they never find it. For Asa to say, for God, to say through Asa, if you seek me, you will find me, is an amazing promise, especially because God is higher than all of these things that we seek, higher than our possessions, higher than the things that the relationships that we might have, higher than even these great blessings I mention, peace and Truth and love and forgiveness and all the rest. The flip side is also true. If you forsake God, he will forsake you. It's a very simple and profound thing. When we come to the Lord, he gives himself to us. When we leave the Lord, well, we are left from the Lord. He gives us over to our own forsaking, our own turning, our own unrepentance. But here we have this, this beautiful promise, and it's a promise of grace, isn't it? God doesn't owe us are finding him. God doesn't owe us peace and love and truth and hope and forgiveness. But that's what he's promising. When he says you will find me, he means find me in this blessed way. When you read about the gods of the various belief systems, various pagan gods, Astra that we as mentioned here and others, they're not always that predictable. Sometimes there are there like a surprise. You don't necessarily know what you're going to get. Maybe one day the God will be angry with you, maybe one day the God will be pleased with you. There's a kind of capriciousness that we read in the stories of the gods desiring appeasement and all kinds of ways. It's never predictable, it's never knowable, but here the God the one true...

...living God, makes himself extremely predictable, reveals himself in this extremely simple way. If you seek me, you will find me and you'll find him in in blessing. It's a promise that God made in Deuteronomy. I want to read to you this. It's similar, but I want to read it to you to remind you of the main point here, that it's an ever true promise. So Deuteronomy a chapter four, verse Twenty Nine. Deuteronomy for twenty nine. But from there you will seek the Lord, your God, and you will find him if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. And then again, listen to God's words. Let Me Book Mark My page there so I can find my way back. Listen to God's words in Luke, Chapter Eleven, verse nine. Luke Eleven, verse nine, Jesus says, and I tell you, ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and it will open to you, be open to you for everyone who receive, everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. And then Jesus goes on to use this very tender analogy. He says what father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will, instead of a fish, give him a serpent, or if he asks for an egg, will give him a Scorpion? If you, then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, excuse me. How much more will the heavenly father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him? These promises are repeated throughout the Gospel. There are reminders of of this Great Truth and there are parables as well. I remember the parable of the Prodigal son, one who was not seeking communion with his father, but sus the opposite. He forsaked his father, he left him, he moved away. But what happened when he decided to turn again and to seek his home and his father? Didn't just find his father, his dad was running towards him. There was no mystery, it was no wondering, there is no searching really, he simply went home and there he was, his father running toward him. And this is the promise of God. This is the great and gracious promise of God. Then, when...

...we seek him, he reveals himself to us. Not It's not a it can't be a double minded seeking, of course, a kind of let's philosophizes about esoteric things and maybe something wonderful will happen. It's not a halfhearted seeking, seeking but not seeking, a wanting to know but not really caring. Honestly, but when we go to the father of Heaven, the one who created the heavens and the earth and has revealed himself in the world in these saving ways and says to us, when you come to me in faith, when you seek me with your heart and your soul, I will be there, it's a wonderful promise. It's a gracious promise, it's a promise filled with hope. So that's the promise of the Lord. How are we supposed to respond to that? Well, you already know. You don't respond to a gift like that with ungratefulness. You don't say never mind, you don't walk away, you don't forsake the Lord lest he forsake you. Instead, you do what asa did. ASA gives us a model response to this ever true promise. What does he do? He does exactly what God says is to do. He turns with all his heart and his soul to God. He turns to God as the true God and he puts away all the idols, he takes them out of Judah and Benjamin, even this one that his own mother made, a detestable image reread in verse sixteen for Astra. He cuts it down, crushes it, Burns it at the Book Brook Kid Drawn. It's pretty dramatic, right. Asa makes a statement and perhaps a hard thing to do. I'm not sure who knows what his mother was like, but then you imagine any family situation, that even the lowest level, and I think you can imagine that these things would not be easy. But now we're talking about someone who is described here in our passage as the Queen Mother. And he doesn't just do he doesn't just destroy this image and cut it down and crush it, etc. But it says he removed her from being the clean mother. Obviously she's always his mom, so to speak, put in that informal way, but this title that she held, this place in Israel. He says you're done because of this thing you've you have done. He does what Jesus says sometimes happens when we come to the Kingdom of God and are faithful in it. We have to forsake even our family them to...

...follow after the Lord and encourage. That's the word that is used by the Prophet. Take courage, he says in verse seven, and that's the word, that's the very action that asa takes. In Verse Eight. He took courage and he put away the detestable idols. Following after the Lord sometimes takes courage. Following after the Lord, seeking him that he might be found, is not always easy. Sometimes we see it seems like such an easy choice. We think of the Prodigal Son. Say you're eating slop with the pigs. Why in the world would you not go home to your heavenly father? And yet, when we're often in those same situations, we have hundreds of reasons why we don't want to do the thing that would seem so right to do, so obvious to do. What are the consequences? All? All be embarrassed, I don't know how. What if he's not there? And on and on and on. We have fears. There's a very real fears. Sometimes it's very real consequences attached to those. But we're called in faith to trust the God who has made the promise. That's where the courage comes from. It's not just from some kind of in word strength it's from trust in the Lord. He takes courage because he believes with the spirit of God has said through has a Riyah. He believes what the Lord had said and promised to Solomon, his promised to Solomon in his prayer and David in the Covenant and Moses Back in Deuteronomy. And he takes that courage, and it's not only a personal one, but as king as leader of his people. He eliminates false idols, he turns away from them and then he calls his people together to renew the Covenant with God. And they do that. We read and verses ten and following. They gathered in Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteen day of the reign of asa and they sacrifice to the Lord on that day, from the spoil that they had brought seven hundred action oxen and seven thousand sheep and they enter into a covenant to seek the Lord Asa. Or, I'm sorry, as a Riah says, a said Judah Benjamin, this is what you must do. And they all stand together and they say that's what we're doing, that's where we're going, that's the direction we're heading, full speed ahead. Take down the idols, take down the Ashra Poles destroy them in the cities and they make a covenant. They make sacrifices with all their heart and soul. They even declare that whoever would not seek the Lord would be put to death. They are serious, in fact,...

...they're so some they're so committed in this way that they swear an oath with a loud voice and shouting and trumpets and horns. Can you imagine the fervor of the moment? We were reading in our men's Bible study or reviewing some chapters and acts and from the Ephesian City, and there in these stories, and I think it's an axe twenty, there's this great uproar, there's this huge crowd and commotion going on. This riot in ephesis so bad that people didn't even know why they were there. You see the exact opposite having happening here at this Covenant Renewal Ceremony. They say isn't a riot. It's loud, but it's not a riot. They are all there with singleness of purpose and of mind, before the Lord to seek after him. And you know, they do in some ways what the Christians and ephesis did, when the Christians in ephesis turned to the Lord. What did they do? They compiled all of their magic books, their sorcery, all of it together, and they burned it. They put it away. It was expended and s of yeah, it was worth a lot of money. Yeah, but who cares when it comes to knowing the Lord and seeking after him? Their response, ACE's response, Judah's response, Benjamin's response, these are the responses of faith and when you hear the promise of the Lord, it should be your response as well. When we come to the Lord, we should seek him with all of our heart, all of our soul, and turn away from everything that's false. Don't kind of cling on to the old garbage, wondering if there might be some use for it in the Kingdom of God. Maybe this idol might still approve helpful somehow, maybe these old sins might serve some purpose in the service of the Lord. Of course not. No, we go to the Lord, rejecting all that belongs to the Kingdom of the evil one, all that belongs to the world, the flesh, the old way of the life, and we go to your way. We go to the God of our fathers, we go to the one who has made these promises again and again, and you know what happens? Exactly what the Lord said would happen. He gives them peace. We read in Verse Fifteen. The he was found by them and the Lord gave them peace all around, just like he did with Solomon. It's like he did with David, just like he...

...does with Jesus. When we come to the Lord, when we seek after the Lord, he gives us peace, he answers his promise, he confirms that he fulfills it. God doesn't leave us hanging. He doesn't offer a thing halfheartedly and say, never mind, I changed my mind. He says he will be found, and to find the Lord means to find peace. We read in Verse Nineteen. There was no more war until the thirty five year of the reign of ASA. If you under why the thirty five year business, well, you'll have to come back next time. But here we have an assurance of God, we have this confirmation of his promises, this moment in history where God promised one thing and he fulfilled it. And this, of course, isn't the only time. God does this over and over and over and over again, and these is why these things are recorded for us in the Old Testament and in the new testament as well, God fulfilling his promises again and again and again, so that we might remember them, that we might call these stories in our minds and in our hearts and follow after the Lord, remember his promise, remember that he fulfills them, that he stands firm a by them. And of course he does this in Jesus, the Great King, much greater than a so much greater than any King God ever raised to the throne of Israel, the once and final king who comes to create a reign and a rule of peace forever. He does this first in our own hearts, by reconciling us to God. This is what Paul says in Romans. He says, therefore, you now have peace with God, you who were once enemies, you who once fought and we're combative and pushed against him and wanted your own way and went after other idols. You now have peace with God through Jesus Christ. Jesus sought after the Lord, he sought after the will of his heavenly father. He came to do all that he was sent to do, and everything was found. Jesus took courage, Jesus acted as the perfect king and through him he secured our and by his works in Him we have a peace that is secured for us forever. Nothing changes about the promises of God that those who seek him will find him. But Jesus tells us and teaches us. God teaches us by his spirit in his son, the here is how we come to the Lord.

Here is how we seek after him, through the king, through the savior. We all into seeking after the Lord. Need to come under his rule and his reign. To come to the Lord, to seek after him isn't to find someone other than Jesus or in addition to him, it is to find Jesus himself. and Jesus secures this peace for aught for us, on between us and God, and he does it forever through his blood and his work on the cross. And that spiritual peace that we have with him and the bond of peace that we have with one another through communion with him will one day be a political one. Is Well, not here on earth and these kingdoms, but when the Kingdom of God comes in consummation and with power and with glory, we will have peace forever and ever. The kinds of victories that God gave Israel over her enemies were modeling, were typify, were foreshadowing that peace that we would have and the Kingdom of Heaven forever. The resurrection is proof of these things. God's rising victorious over his enemies. Death could not hold him, the enemy could not hold him, our sins could not hold him. Jesus is victorious and he secures our peace and so beloved. That's why we go to him. That's why we seek this king and this king alone. That's why, when we seek after God, we can be assured that he we will find him, because he's given to us, because he's given himself to us, even in his very own son, all the various moments of fulfilled promises throughout the ages come to this consummation in Jesus, and so go to him, seek him, knock, ask and you will find him. You will find peace and God and all the things that people seek apart from him, love and forgiveness and hope and salvation and truth, justification, forgiveness, all of these things that people seek apart from him you will find in him and you will know it forever, not for a decade, not for a few decades, not just for your earthly life, but for or ever. You will know the Lord Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch Mike like me. I once was lost,...

...but now was found. Was Blind, but now I see. We don't just find the Lord, but he finds us and he blesses us very much in him. So let us pray, let's thank him, Lord, as we consider your promises, your great promises of grace and your warnings that those who turn away from you will be rejected by you and will find only curse and wrath and slavery and and and and great terror. These two truths we hold as everlasting, as something that is always been true, ever since you first promised it, and always will be true, and we ask that, while there is yet time for you to be found, that each and every soul here would seek you and would find you. We pray, Lord, for our lost friends, family members. We lift them up to you, and we asked that you would work in their souls, that by your spear right, you would bring about a seeking in them, a courage in them to flee from the wrath that is to come and instead find the peace that we know, the peace that we love and enjoy each and every day, peace that passes even understanding what a joy it is to know you. Lord, we lift up our particular prayers this evening and asked that you would answer them according to your wisdom, your will and your grace. We pray for summer's grandparents. We asked that you would bring them salvation, that you would comfort them in their failing health and that they would know that every grace and every good gift, every breath they have, comes from you. We pray the same for Cora, though she is young. Lord, we ask that you would teach her to number her days, that you would cause her to continue to seek after you. We thank you that she continues to join us and come among us and desires to know water. This in her Lord, continue to work in her and bring her to salvation, that we all might praise your name and call her a sister. We pray for Charlie and Ian, and they are salvation. We asked that you would convict them of sin, that you would draw them to yourself, that you would teach them where peace in truth may be found. We pray for our sister, Elysia. We thank you for her and the gifts that you have given her. The blessings that we received through her. We asked that you would heal her and...

...continue to help her to be well. We look forward to worshiping with her again soon. We pray for Tory and we ask that you would help her as she moves her dad here to Tucson. We pray for that transition. We asked that you'd heal him of his pneumonia. May She and and and him as well see your grace and your movement and in their lives. We pray for help and ask that you would help her tonight, even now. Would we ask that you would comfort her soul, that you would assure her of your promises. We also I'm hear her prayer request and join our hearts with hers. As we pray for president trump, we asked that you would be with him and his cabinet is new administration. We asked that you would give him wisdom and God that he might guide the country and in wisdom and in Godliness. We asked that you would work your saving power in him, that you would draw him to yourself, that you would work mightily in his life that he might know the goodness of your grace. We ask that you would keep him well and secure, that you we pray for our entire nation and we asked that you would, you would be with us in whatever times we find ourselves. We Lord, as we wonder about the future and we think about the difficulties that we might face. We asked that you would give us courage and perseverance, that you would teach us that we may not be afraid, knowing that you are king and God above all. We pray for. We pray for Vannie's cousin, UNICE. We asked that you would be with her at the end of her days, bring her your comfort and encouragement. We pray for Rachel and Christopher. We praise you for their desire to marry. We asked that you would help them with their plans, the upcoming plans, and that you would prepare them for a long life together, of enjoying one another and growing in godliness together. We also pray for Harold. We asked that you would be with him and his upcoming heart procedure. Please help us to find ways, very practical ways, to encourage him and Carol. We asked that you would help us to provide for their every need while he goes through this heart procedure, that you would watch him, over him and bring him through that well. Finally, Lord, we we consider the great sadness the way in which the unborn are treated in our country, that...

...the most a fragile and helpless and weak and those who don't have a voice are murdered so cruelly, so thoughtlessly, so terribly. We asked that this as something that would change. We thank you for the progress that has been made in this area. We thank you for the people that fight to overturn this decision and work against it. We ask that this great evil would be put away from us. We asked that you would do this by your grace, in that you would be with all those who feel the the great consequences of this, that there would be forgiveness and joy in knowing your grace. Our heavenly father, our comfort is in you. Are Only Comfort is in you. All blessing is in you, and so we seek you and we ask that you may show yourself to us. We pray this in Jesus name. Let's stay.

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