Summary: 2 Chron. 16:9 gives a critical requirement for God's willingness to intervene: our full heart-commitment. King Asa is God's example for having it -- and NOT having it. The outcomes are striking and should make us sit up and take notice.
THE SECRET OF SPIRITUAL STRENGTH
2 Chron. 16:9
A. HUMOR: HE’LL BE THERE WAITING
1. A preacher who had suffered extremely strained relations with his congregation was finally appointed chaplain at the state prison.
2. Excited to be rid of him, the people of the congregation came in great numbers to hear his farewell sermon.
3. The preacher chose as his text, “I go and prepare a place for you…that where I am, there you may be also!”
14:2 Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God. 3 He removed the foreign altars and the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. 4 He commanded Judah to seek the Lord and to obey his laws and commands. 7 “Let us build up these towns,” he said to Judah, “and put walls around them, with towers, gates and bars.” 8 Asa had an army of three hundred thousand men from Judah, equipped with large shields and with spears, and two hundred and eighty thousand from Benjamin, armed with small shields and with bows. All these were brave fighting men. 9 Zerah the Cushite marched out against them with a vast army and three hundred chariots…. 10 Asa went out to meet him. 11 Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, “Lord, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us…we rely on You… don’t let mere mortals prevail against you.” 12 The Lord struck down the Cushites before Asa and Judah. 13 Such a great number of Cushites fell that they could not recover; 15:8 Asa…removed the detestable idols from the whole land….He repaired the altar of the Lord… 9 Then he assembled all Judah and Benjamin and….11 they sacrificed to the Lord….12 They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord….16 King Asa also deposed his grandmother Maakah… because she had made a repulsive image for the worship of Asherah. 16:1 In the thirty-sixth year of Asa’s reign Baasha king of Israel …fortified Ramah [for war against Asa]. 2 Asa then took the silver and gold…and sent it to Ben-Hadad king of Aram, who was ruling in Damascus. 3 “Now break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel so he will withdraw from me.”4 Ben-Hadad [attacked Baasha]. 7 Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him: “Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand. 8 Were not the Cushites and Libyans a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horsemen? Yet when you relied on the Lord, he delivered them into your hand. 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.”
10 Asa was angry with the seer because of this…he put him in prison [and] brutally oppressed some of the people. 12 Asa was afflicted with a disease in his feet. 13 Asa died. 2 Chr. 14:2-16:13.
1. Tonight we’re looking at a key concept, that the secret of spiritual strength and of God’s aid for us all depends on our commitment to the Lord.
2. The example we’re looking at is King Asa. The title of tonight’s message is “The Secret of Our Spiritual Strength.”
I. ASA STARTED OUT ON FIRE! 1-8
A. PUT DOWN YOUR IDOLS!
1. King Asa started strong. He first got rid of the false gods and the places of worship for them. Not since the time of Solomon had anybody done that.
2. Altars, idols, and groves were pulled down. AN IDOL IS ANYTHING THAT USURPS THE PLACE OF GOD IN YOUR HEART!
3. Asa pulled them down because he knew they were a provocation to a jealous God. We can’t allow sin in our lives: it makes us susceptible to God’s judgment.
a. A lot of us treat our sins like the psychiatrist who wanted to go play golf.
b. He had a patient come to his office. When the receptionist asked about his problem, the patient said he thought he was invisible.
c. When the receptionist told the doctor about the strange condition of the patient, the doctor rolled his eyes, looked at his watch, and said, "Tell him I can't see him."
B. REINITIATED THE TRUE WORSHIP OF GOD
1. Not only did Asa stop the negative things they’d been doing, He started doing the positive things.
2. Some people think that if they just quit the major areas of sin, they’ve arrived. But did you know we’re supposed to start showing kindness, forgiveness, mercy, compassion, love, generosity, good deeds?