Summary: Would you love to see God as active in your life as you read about Him being in people’s lives in the Bible.
We read frequently in the Bible of God moving and even doing miraculous things in the lives of people and nations. We read these biblical stories with excitement as we observe God being so active in their lives. And yet here in modern times, at the beginning of the 21st century, we tend to think that God is much less active than He was in biblical times. But I think it would be safe to say that most, if not all of you, would love to see God as active in your life as you read about Him being in people’s lives in the Bible.
If you would love to see that, then I have some great news for you this morning. Now we cannot put God in a box - we agree on that right? And one must be very careful about coming up with some kind of formula whereby you are guaranteed God will respond in a certain way. Many times it is presented like this: "If you will do these 4 steps, then you can be assured that God will do ____." Formulas are dangerous. God cannot and will not be manipulated. Yet, and I almost hesitate to say this, in these passages we are going to look at whenever I read of a person doing this particular activity, alongside of it I also read of God responding to that person and doing something special in their life. In fact, and this may surprise you as we look at some of the examples, even when a wretched wicked sinful person did this particular activity, it still prompted God to respond to that person. That’s pretty significant. Please understand, I am not trying to offer you some formula, but what I am saying to you this morning is this: there is something about this particular activity that causes the heart of God to be compelled to respond to you.
The activity is this: humbling oneself before God. And we drew this contrast last week between Esther, who humbled herself before God and Haman whose chief characteristic was pride.
One of the hardest things for a man, woman, young person, even a child to do is to humble themselves be it before another person or God. And yet I declare to you today that it is one of the things that will bring the richest blessings from God. If you want to know something that moves God to work on your behalf, to bless you, to involve Himself in your life it is in the act of humbling yourself before God. And so today I want you to see, even among some the most wicked people who have ever lived, the response of God to that person who will humble themself before Him.
As we look at these passages they will not require a lot of explanation, maybe some explanation concerning the context but they speak pretty powerfully by themselves of God’s response to the one who will humble himself before God.
2 Chronicles 12 - 2 Chronicles 12 describes the reign of Rehoboam, the son of Solomon. He is the 1st king to reign over Judah since the division of the kingdom. Rehoboam was not the wisest of fellows. In fact, it was because of his unwillingness to heed the godly counsel and wisdom of the elders and rather accept the counsel of his peers that led to the 10 tribes splitting off and forming the northern kingdom of Israel.
But we are told in 2 Chronicles 12:1-2 that after Rehoboam was established and strong that he forsook the law of the Lord. And because of his unfaithfulness, the Lord allowed the king of Egypt and some of his allies to come up against him. In 12:5, the Lord sends a prophet to Rehoboam and says to him, "Thus says the Lord, ’You have forsaken Me, so I also have forsaken you to Shishak’" (who was the king of Egypt.
Now watch - 12:6 - There’s the humbling before God.
Watch what happens? There is an immediate response from God - 12:7-8
We do need to note something important here. Please observe that God did forgive Rehoboam and He did turn away from His judgment but He did not totally deliver him. He did not allow them to be destroyed (12:12a) but He did allow them to become slaves, not because He was still stewing over their unfaithfulness, but in order that they might understand the difference between having God as their King and master vs having an earthly king as their master. He lets them come under the rulership of another master so that they will understand how good it is to have the Living God as your master.
So one of the things we need to learn here is don’t think that just because you humble yourself and repent of your sin that God will immediately wipe out all the consequences of that sin which is what we frequently expect Him to do. He will not necessarily "fix" everything we messed up by our sin. But also note that the reason why God does not fix everything is not that He is still angry but because He wants you know that it is much better to be under His service than the service of sin.