Entry Eighty-Two: Two Kingdoms in Contrast

Submitted by johnlo on Tue, 2008-06-03 10:06

 

 ENTRY EIGHTY-TWO – JUNE 4, 2008

 82-THE DIVIDED KINGDOM - PART II (aka "Two Kingdoms in Contrast") I Kings 15, 16, 22; II Chronicles 14-18

 

  • Almost 25 years after God’s people split into two nations, Rehoboam and his son in the nation of Judah have made way for two good kings and the nation of Israel has gone off from bad to worse. This entry, which is one day’s reading, covers topics such as GOD IS THE ONLY GOOD, HOW QUICK IS THE SLIDE DOWN THE SLIPPERY SLOPE, and WITHOUT ONE ANOTHER CHRISTIANITY WE ARE DONE FOR! 

 

  • Asa, great great grandson of David, did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord. He got rid of the idolatry that his father had allowed, and commanded all in Judah to seek God and obey his laws. Basically, he built his leadership on a strong foundation. And he knew that God was with him because of these things. (In other words, he didn’t think that he was being blessed because he himself was so awesome of deserved it.)

 

  • On the other side of things, the nation of Israel began to see treachery, betrayal, assassinations, murder, and whole families wiped out, all because they had forsaken the ways of the Lord. And this was only after twenty-five years!

 

  • The lessons I learn from the above are
  • Anything good we do as leaders comes not from our own strength or goodness but because we did what God told us to do, (or became what God told us to become) and
  • When you leave God, it doesn’t take long before you become completely warped. A look at western culture will surely verify this, but even for us as disciples of Jesus – we may have led a spiritual life for a while, but if we forsake it and follow the world, we will see our lives and families turned upside down, not to mention be lost to hell after we die! How sad! What a waste!

 

  • As proof that Asa relied on God, see the prayer he prayed in desperation when he was about to be attacked by the Ethiopians. So humble! God sent a message to him from a prophet that inspired him and urged him on to go even further for God, and the bible says that “Asa’s heart was fully committed to God.”  Wow! This is how we should be in times of victory – not complacent, but grateful, using the victory to give us the energy for more battles for God. He had everyone seek God with all their heart and soul. One of the most encouraging parts of this story is that many from the other tribes (in Israel, not Judah) came over to be with him because they could see that the Lord was with him. It just goes to show that when we live according to the bible, people who love God will be drawn by God to our fellowship. Of course, Asa was a bit draconian – he said that all who would NOT seek God first would be put to death. Well, I don’t think that would be the best course of action for a modern day church, but in those days, God needed his people to be separate from the world. (Remember Wee Keong’s sermon on Moral Development?)
  • There was much celebration and rejoicing, so it doesn’t seem like the people were actually “forced” anyway; they WANTED to seek God cause they understood what it meant for them.

 

  • Asa was also not afraid to get rid of “sentimentality”, which is difficult for me. He deposed his grandmother from the pagan role of “queen mother”, a role that had never been instituted by God, because she was still promoting idolatry!

 

  • Amidst all of that victory, Asa did make a blunder – he became afraid of Israel and instead of going into civil war with God on his side, he took the worldly path and enlisted the aid of another nation to be his ally. He still won, but God was displeased and had a prophet rebuke him. Sadly, Asa pouted in self-pity about this and never really got back to his old “pure-hearted” self. He even became harsh, which I think was a defense mechanism so that he didn’t have to think about his own sin. This reminds me of a lesson that I heard once which asserted that when godly and zealous leaders get older, they must get more humble as well, like King David, or their pride will take them off the rails, which is what happened to Asa and to others we will see in later chapters. The sad ending of Asa’s life saw him with a feet disease, and he was too proud and “hurt” to ask God to help him. May I never end up like that, O Lord!!

 

  • In Israel, there is more intrigue, family murder, suicide and betrayal as kings depose of each other one after another. A man with no fear of God or his word rebuilt Jericho, and, just as God had promised through Joshua many generations before, his oldest and youngest son died! Talk about stubborn disobedience!! Omri eventually became king and made Samaria the capital of Israel, but his biggest (and worst) contribution to history was his son, Ahab, the worst king ever!! We’ll see more of him in the following two chapters.

 

  • Asa’s son, Jehoshaphat , was another good king, and the bible says that the Lord was with him because in his early years he walked with the Lord. However, with so much sin built up little by little, it was very difficult to get rid of all the idolatry. This should be a lesson to us today – that when we allow a little yeast to get in, as Jesus says, it mixes with the rest of the dough very quickly and is almost impossible to remove. We must ensure that we do not let ourselves get worldly!! Let’s make sure that it is not only in our EARLY YEARS that we walked with the Lord, but that we continue until we die.

 

  • One of Jehoshaphat’s best moves was to send teachers around to every town in Judah, carrying the Law of the Lord with them, so that they could teach all of the people. This kind of devotion to the word has to be the foundation so that the people will know WHY they are doing what they should do. When this happened, not surprisingly, great fear fell on the nearby countries, and the land flourished with peace and honour and riches. Let us be “people of the Book”, as I have heard it said, and let us know God’s word so that we have his commands in our hearts at all times.

 

karenlouis@seachurches.org