Summary: The reign of Asa and it’s resulting spiritual revival in Judah demonstrates that peace with God, other believers and unbelievers cannot be achieved until we first destroy that which prohibits the growth and life of peace.
DESTRUCTION THAT BRINGS PEACE
First in Series – “Peace That Expands & Lasts: Lessons from Asa”
Rev. Todd G. Leupold, Perth Bible Church, Sunday 8/3/2008 AM
As we naturally struggle to find and understand our current place in the history of PBC & God’s work in our community, it is helpful to recognize that we may find both commonality and wisdom from Israel’s similar struggles and questions in years past.
Last summer, we spent 2 months learning about revival from 2 Chronicles 7:14. For the last five weeks of this summer, we are again going to take time to explore lessons in revival from 2 Chronicles. Through Scripture we will travel together to a time and place far removed and yet in many ways remarkably similar to our own. We will encounter a special, ’called out’ group of God’s people who are just beginning with their fourth generation as an established nation. What started gloriously, and at times continued so in spite of many mistakes and loss of vision, has now reached a critical time that will do much to determine if, how and with what identity this special group of God’s people (Israel) will continue to exist.
As we celebrate 50 years as Perth Bible Church, we too will intentionally or unintentionally determine the shape of our next 25-50 years based on the ideas, attitudes, actions and associations we choose in ALL of our relationships – with the LORD, with each other, and with unbelievers. What will we choose?
SCRIPTURE: 2 Chronicles 14:1-5
I.) A COMMUNITY THAT NEEDS PEACE
The biblical Book of Chronicles was originally written for the Israelite community at a time when this once great nation had been reduced to a tiny minority living in conquered exile among the Babylonians. They were a confused, shattered, divided and dwindling people struggling to understand their place in the world and in God’s Plan. They had little hope or confidence that there even was anything that could be done to improve their long-held situation, overcome past sins and mistakes, or reclaim past glories. In short, they were a people in desperate need of encouragement.
The mighty LORD God provided just that through His inspired Book of Chronicles, a historical review of God’s faithfulness to the Israelites! This encouragement, however, came not from a miraculous or instantaneous act of God to change their present situation, but rather a reminder that God is always faithful to those who are committed to be true to Him. That God keeps all of His promises (in His time) and that He can be trusted even in times such as this, because He has proven it before. And He will do it again – for a truly committed and faithful people!
And so God chooses to encourage the nation-less people of exile with a reminder of the revival their people earlier experienced after Judah and the monarchy appeared doomed at the start of it’s fourth generation.
The Kingdom of Israel was truly established and first experienced peace and prosperity under the godly rule of David.
David was succeeded by his son Solomon. At various times and in various ways Solomon ruled both with godly wisdom and with sinful foolishness. On the surface, the Kingdom continued to grow and prosper, but underneath the foundations began to crack.
Next Solomon’s rebellious son Rehoboam assumed the throne. Under his carnal rule, the Kingdom divided into two nations: the Northern Kingdom of Israel (10 of the 12 tribes) and the Southern Kingdom of Judah (the tribes of Judah and Benjamin). God’s Hand of blessing withdrew from Israel, but continued with Judah (as the inheritors of God’s promises to David) when they righteously turned to Him.
After Rehoboam died, his son Abijah became the King of Judah. Abijah spoke strongly of following the Lord, but did not do much about it. He allowed idol worship to continue to grow and flourish. His reign was marked by continued, bloody civil war with the Northern Kingdom of Israel, in which God gave Judah the greatest victory.
His son, Asa, then assumed the throne of Israel.
With the split of the Kingdom under Rehoboam, the succeeding years became less and less focused on the Davidic monarchy, and more and more focused on what scholars refer to as the “Second Temple life.” That is, their focus and main concern, rather than politics and federal government, was now centered around their life together as defined and maintained by their relationship to the Temple.
Under Asa’s leadership, great and necessary but difficult and very unpopular reforms were undertaken, and God responded by blessing Judah with a spiritual revival, a national revival, and ten years of peace and prosperity!
II.) ACTIONS THAT BRING PEACE THAT EXPANDS & LASTS
A.) Destruction – 14:1-5