Summary: God strengthens those who are sold out to Him.
God Uses Ordinary People: Asa
Rev. Brian Bill
When I was in junior high, I remember one of my teachers being frustrated with our class because we had a hard time following directions. Can you imagine that? One day when we stumbled sleepily into our classroom, she announced that we were going to have a pop quiz. She passed out the test and told us to not turn it over until she told us to begin. She explained that it was a timed test and that we had only three minutes to complete it. Whoever finished first would get a prized Green Bay Packer pennant (yes, Favre is coming back; no, he’s not playing for the Bears). Well, that was like gold to me so I eagerly waited for the signal to begin.
I can’t remember exactly what the test was but it went something like this.
1. Read everything before you do anything.
2. Print your name in the upper right corner of your paper, using all capital letters.
3. Draw two squares in the lower left corner, one-half inch apart.
4. Place an “x” in one square, an “o” in the other and then lightly shade the first.
5. Write your grade level in the lower right corner, using Roman numerals.
6. Sign your name in the lower right corner, using your non-dominant hand.
7. Draw a perfect circle around your signature.
8. Write your birthday under your signature.
9. On the back of this paper multiply 1234 x 4567 and then divide by 89.
10. Now that you have finished reading all the directions, do only as directed in the second sentence and turn your test in.
As I was laboring over this long list, a goody-two-shoes student got out of her chair after about 20 seconds and turned her paper in. I couldn’t believe it. How did she get done so fast? As she was waving the Packer gold and green in triumph, the rest of us thought that she must have cheated to finish that quickly. After letting us complain for awhile the teacher went back over the test and showed us how “little miss teacher’s pet” had simply followed what appeared at the end: “Now that you have finished reading all the directions, do only as directed in the second sentence and turn your test in.” She received an “A” and the rest of the class got an “F” – I wish I could say that was my only failing grade in my academic career!
I don’t know of too many people who like taking tests but I’ve discovered that even when we’re out of school, the tests keep coming. I had lunch with a young man who attends a different church this week. He’s going through a rough time and needed to talk to someone. As he was explaining what has been happening in his life, he said, “I think this is a test.” I agreed with him and then told him that there will be additional exams on the way. I then created a few hypothetical tests and asked him how he would respond to each one.
Most of the tests we face in life come out of the blue, like pop quizzes. Sometimes we can see our examinations coming and we have plenty of time to prepare but other times we’re in a situation and we need to decide right then and there what we’re going to do, and it’s critical that we follow God’s directions.
In our continuing study of the ordinary people that God uses, today we’re going to look at six exams that a man named Asa took. He scored pretty high on the first ones but his grades took a dive on the final ones. We’re going to learn that God strengthens those who are sold out to Him.
I can tell from the looks on your faces that you’re saying, “Asa? Who’s Asa?” I’m glad you asked. I’m excited for us we take a journey into the Old Testament book of 2 Chronicles and look at some lessons from the life of a king. No, really I am. In order to understand Asa we’re going to have to set the historical context. I’ll do my best to teach if you’ll do your best to learn. Together we’ll see that every section of Scripture as 2 Timothy 3:16 says is useful for “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” Romans 15:4 declares: “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Let’s let God’s Word do its work of restoring hope in our lives.
This brief lesson can unlock some of the mysteries of the Old Testament and help all of us not only understand it better but apply it to our lives.