Sermons

Summary: God has not abandoned us. As He so often does, He has allowed his creation to make choices and reap the benefits of good and righteous and wise decisions or suffer the consequences of bad and sinful choices.

Sermon

Lanier Christian Church – David Simpson

January 10, 2021

Who Has Your Heart?

2 Chronicles 16:9

“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.”

2 Chronicles 16:9 NIV

As I shared last week, just because we changed the calendar to a new year, does not guarantee smooth sailing ahead. The pandemic is the worst it’s been since it started. Our local hospital is full. Patients are now in the gym at Laurelwood and in the hallway of the Medical Center. This is most concerning.

The political and social unrest in our country throughout the last year and this past Wednesday has scarred our nation. The storming of the capitol building on Wednesday and the deaths that resulted is unacceptable in a peaceful democracy that we have fought to maintain over all these 240+ years. I’ve been in the capitol rotunda and the halls of congress. It is an awe-inspiring place. The lack of respect and the criminal behavior that took place Wednesday cannot be tolerated. This too is most concerning.

For those of you who don’t know me very well, I want you to know that I do not talk politics in the pulpit and I’m not planning to start today. But, I do have a response to the pandemic virus that has ravaged our nation and all the social unrest that has caused upheaval across our land.

Know this: God is watching.

God has not abandoned us.

As He so often does, He has allowed his creation to make choices and reap the benefits of good and righteous and wise decisions or suffer the consequences of bad and sinful choices.

God gave us a brain that he expects us to fill with His inspired wisdom. He gave us a heart - emotions that he expects us to devote to love, compassion, humility and mercy. He gave us hands and feet that he expects us to use for honest endeavors and service to others. He gave us a voice that he expects us to use for proclamation and praise of His mighty name. He gave us ears – two of them in fact - that we might listen more than we speak, filter out the noise and focus on His truth.

So, I say it again…God is watching. And do you know what He’s looking for?

…hearts that are fully committed to Him.

And what does He want to do when He finds such hearts? He wants to strengthen them.

That’s exactly what his word tells us as recorded in 2 Chronicles 16:9

“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”

2 Chronicles 16:9 NIV

So, I ask you today.

Do you have a heart that is fully committed to God?

A little background…This verse in 2 Chronicles comes from the story of King Asa of Judah, who at one time had a history of trusting God and avoiding idolatry. But near the end of his life, He feared the wicked King Baasha of the northern kingdom, Israel (which was completely wicked and filled with idol worshiping at this time.) King Asa feared invasion and the loss of his kingdom.

So…he took all the treasures from the temple and bought an alliance with King Ben-Hadad, King of Aram (today’s Syria). Simply put, King Asa traded the treasures of God’s temple for protection from an idol worshiping king. Instead of relying on God, Asa began to rely on the Syrians for protection.

So…God confronted Asa by sending him a prophet named Hanani. The prophet reminded Asa about God’s powerful protection in the past. Now, as a result of Asa’s failure to rely on God, Judah’s peace would end. Let me read this one time and add the last sentence of the verse:

“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.”

2 Chronicles 16:9 NIV

On hearing the prophet’s declaration, Asa became angry rather than humble. So angry was the king that he imprisoned this prophet and began to oppress many of his own people. So prideful and angry was King Asa that three years later as he lay dying of an unnamed disease, he refused to seek help from the Lord.

The story of King Asa reminds us how easy it is to start off well with God and then fall away. And the truth is….We are all faced with daily choices to rely on God or self.

It’s time for some honest introspection. Humility is what we need first. C.S. Lewis once wrote: Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less. We need to humbly ask God through prayer to show us if we are relying on Him or on worldly supports. We need to confess the times when we have chosen to rely on ourselves rather than on Him.

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Gordon A Ward Jr

commented on Jan 19, 2021

Are you referring to king AHAZ...or are they both the same? The one who passed with leprosy inflicted by G O D.

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