Summary: That troubles me, for there may be some great challenges coming our way. Let me show you what I mean by telling you about King Asa. (PowerPoints available - #169)
MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
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A. I think I can say without fear of contradiction that these are good days in the life of our congregation. We have had a spurt of growth with new families attending. There are also more children here, & there has been a marked growth in our Sunday School & Wednesday evening groups too.
We have experienced a renewed emphasis on prayer, & our giving to Missions continues to grow. It really is a thrilling time to be a part of Ridge Chapel!
But in the midst of all these blessings, sometimes a nagging thought arises, a voice from God speaking to our hearts saying, “Remember who has done all this. And don’t forget that your need for me hasn’t shrunk at all.”
B. If you have been a Christian for any length of time, that same voice may be trying to get through to you, too. Much has probably happened since that first rush of love & dedication for God filled your heart & life.
God has showered you with His blessings. You have seen & heard & learned a lot from those around you, & you feel ready to face any challenges that may come your way.
PROP. That troubles me, for there may be some great challenges coming our way. Let me show you what I mean by telling you about King Asa.
I. A GOOD START
A. King Asa was King Solomon’s great-grandson. And God must have had a reason for using 3 whole chapters of 2 Chronicles to tell us about him. I think his biography is an important one in Scripture, especially for us today.
Asa was not brought up to be a spiritual person. His great grandfather, Solomon, as you know, wandered from God for a while during his 40-year reign.
After that, Rehoboam - Solomon’s son who was Asa’s grandfather, & then Abijah, Asa’s father, also turned away from God & began to introduce the worship of pagan gods & goddesses into what was supposed to be a godly nation.
The god Baal & the goddess Asherah were worshiped as symbols of fertility; & people even offered children as sacrifices to the fire god Molech. In such a spiritual climate, who was it who got through to young King Asa & convinced him to seek the Lord? We don’t know.
2 Chronicles 14:2-4 tells us that early in his reign Asa “did what was good & right in the eyes of the Lord his God. He removed the foreign altars & the high places, smashed the sacred stones & cut down the Asherah poles.
“He commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, & to obey His laws & commands.”
In essence, Asa was saying, “Time out! We have a mess on our hands. The pagan altars & immoral practices must go. We’re going to clean house throughout the kingdom. We have to start obeying the Lord’s commands & call out to Him with all our hearts. We must obey Him in order to receive His blessings.”
B. Now please notice: The first step in any spiritual awakening is demolition. We cannot make headway in seeking God without first tearing down the accumulated junk in our lives. Rationalizing has to cease. We have to start seeing the sinful debris we hadn’t noticed before, which holds back the blessings of God.
I wonder if anyone said to him, “Excuse me, King Asa, but your father built that particular shrine…. Your grandfather dedicated that incense altar. Are you sure you want them demolished?”
If they had, Asa would have replied, “Tear them down – now! They’re wrong. This idolatry came from the Canaanites. And God will never bless us as long as these things remain in our land.”
Whenever people truly get hungry to know the Lord, the Holy Spirit puts a shovel & broom into their hands. Husbands & wives begin to deal with long-buried issues hurting their marriages. Adults take a closer look at their choice of TV programs & movies.
Church members begin to see the damage caused by gossip, racial attitudes, & criticism. Sin grieves the Holy Spirit & quenches His power among us. Without His blessing we miss out on what God has for us & wants us to be.
SUM. King Asa’s early years were marked by a national housecleaning. And God’s blessings were poured out upon the king & his people as a result.
II. A GREAT CHALLENGE
A. Unfortunately though, seeking the Lord wholeheartedly does not exempt us from attack, & Asa’s godliness did not guarantee him a smooth road for the rest of his life. After ten years of peace & prosperity, Asa’s kingdom was suddenly invaded by a huge Cushite (Ethiopian) army.