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Route. Revival. Rebuke. (2 Chronicles 14,15,16)

Sermon on 28 Jun 2021 by Ps Justin


The book of Chronicles is a book of restoration. It talks about King David’s reign until his death, the transfer of power to his son and the reign of King Solomon. We have learnt from King Solomon to seek one of the most important gifts which is wisdom. The fear of the Lord is the greatest gift of all. When you fear the Lord, you will have wisdom. After the death of King Solomon, Israel divided into the north and south. If you continue reading 2 Chronicles, the whole 40 years of history was ruled by kings, that’s why it’s called the kingdom period. From 2 Chronicles chapter 10 onwards till chapter 36, there is a record of the 20 rulers in the southern kingdom. However, there were only 8 good kings.


2 Chronicles 14: Route - in our obedience and faith


2 Chronicles 14:2 - “Asa did what was pleasing and good in the sight of the Lord his God.”


The kingdom was passed on to Asa, the third king of Judah. He is the fifth king. He was a wonderful king and he loved God. He is obedient and faithful. When he took the reign over from his dad, he removed all the foreign god images and the sacred pillars. He also demanded Judaea and Benjamin to seek the Lord. This is something that pleases God and God granted him rest such that the kingdom has no war. He had peace for 10 years. This is because he did one thing right. He did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord. It is not based on our own preferences. In Romans 12, we don’t want to follow the pattern of this world. The world died to me and I died to the world. My mind is renewed. You will be able to discern what is right and acceptable in the eye of the Lord. Seeking God is representative of your daily prayers and reading of the bible.


Deuteronomy 6:18 - “Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight, so all will go well with you. Then you will enter and occupy the good land that the Lord swore to give your ancestors.”


2 Chronicles 14:9,11 - “Once an Ethiopian named Zerah attacked Judah with an army of 1,000,000 men and 300 chariots. They advanced to the town of Mareshah, Then Asa cried out to the Lord his God, “O Lord, no one but you can help the powerless against the mighty! Help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in you alone. It is in your name that we have come against this vast horde. O Lord, you are our God; do not let mere men prevail against you!””


The enemy came with a million strong army and 300 chariots. He is against all odds. They advanced so near to the kingdom of Judah. When we have a swarm of enemies knocking on our door, what will we do? We will kneel down and pray. That is what king Asa was doing.


2 Chronicles 14:10 - “so Asa deployed his armies for battle in the valley north of Mareshah.”


We must continue to do the things that God wants us to do. At the same time, we need to seek the Lord. This is one of the most powerful prayers we can pray as a Christian. We pray with the heart of seeking Him. We pray with the heart of surrendering. It is in my weakness that I am strong. The outcome is always in the hands of the sovereign God.


2 Chronicles 14:12 - “So the Lord defeated the Ethiopians in the presence of Asa and the army of Judah, and the enemy fled.”


When there seems to be no way, God will make a way. God will make a route.


Isaiah 43:16-17 - “I am the Lord, who opened a way through the waters, making a dry path through the sea. I called forth the mighty army of Egypt with all its chariots and horses. I drew them beneath the waves, and they drowned, their lives snuffed out like a smoldering candlewick.”


Matthew 11:29-30 - “Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.””


Even if you are going through a difficulty right now, if God is able to root a million soldiers away because of King Asa’s obedience and faith, He will make a way for you. The enemy can come to you in one way but God will turn the situation around. They will flee in seven ways. Jesus has always been inviting us to come to Him. God will always fight for you and always waits to lift you up. We just have to humble ourselves. There’s so much power in humility.


2 Chronicles 14:14 - “While they were at Gerar, they attacked all the towns in that area, and terror from the Lord came upon the people there. As a result, a vast amount of plunder was taken from these towns, too.”


2 Chronicles 15: Revival - in our obedience and faith


They enter a new season. Azariah approached King Asa with a word of encouragement. He further reminded King Asa about the cycle of sins that the Israelites are living in. The kingdom is being treated with a lot of war.


2 Chronicles 15:7 - “But as for you, be strong and courageous, for your work will be rewarded.””


This is the word for us. Don’t give up. He who began a good work in you will bring it into completion. Stand firm and be steadfast. Your labour will not be in vain. In due season, you will reap what you do. Be courageous. Your God is with you because you seek His face.


Revival of Judah: 2 Chronicles 15:8-18 - “When Asa heard this message from Azariah the prophet, he took courage and removed all the detestable idols from the land of Judah and Benjamin and in the towns he had captured in the hill country of Ephraim. And he repaired the altar of the Lord, which stood in front of the entry room of the Lord’s Temple. Then Asa called together all the people of Judah and Benjamin, along with the people of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon who had settled among them. For many from Israel had moved to Judah during Asa’s reign when they saw that the Lord his God was with him. The people gathered at Jerusalem in late spring, during the fifteenth year of Asa’s reign. On that day they sacrificed to the Lord 700 cattle and 7,000 sheep and goats from the plunder they had taken in the battle. Then they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and soul. They agreed that anyone who refused to seek the Lord, the God of Israel, would be put to death—whether young or old, man or woman. They shouted out their oath of loyalty to the Lord with trumpets blaring and rams’ horns sounding. All in Judah were happy about this covenant, for they had entered into it with all their heart. They earnestly sought after God, and they found him. And the Lord gave them rest from their enemies on every side. King Asa even deposed his grandmother Maacah from her position as queen mother because she had made an obscene Asherah pole. He cut down her obscene pole, broke it up, and burned it in the Kidron Valley. Although the pagan shrines were not removed from Israel, Asa’s heart remained completely faithful throughout his life. He brought into the Temple of God the silver and gold and the various items that he and his father had dedicated.”


2 Chronicles 15:12 - “Then they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and soul.”


2 Chronicles 7:14 - “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”


When you have a big crusade, people say it’s a big revival. But the Bible says that a true revival is when your heart changes. When you seek the Lord with all your heart, you cry out to God and say that all that I have is yours. A true revival is always to put off your old nature and to renew your mind. Then you put on the new man in the likeness and image of God. King Asa gathered all the people and removed all the foreign images and then he restored the altar for God. He removed then restored. They made a covenant and sought the Lord with all their heart and soul.


2 Chronicles 15:19 - “So there was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of Asa’s reign.”


When you have revival, God will reward revival with deliverance and peace. There was no war until the 35th year of the reign of Asa. Everyone lived in the blessing of the Lord.


2 Chronicles 16: Rebuke - in our disobedience


When we disobey, there is a dislocation. Every season is to plan for the next season. The next thing to plan for is a revival. When we have a revival, we seek Him humbly and turn away from our weakness. We align back again.


Baasha is the third king of the northern kingdom.


2 Chronicles 16:1-4 - “In the thirty-sixth year of Asa’s reign, King Baasha of Israel invaded Judah and fortified Ramah in order to prevent anyone from entering or leaving King Asa’s territory in Judah. Asa responded by removing the silver and gold from the treasuries of the Temple of the Lord and the royal palace. He sent it to King Ben-hadad of Aram, who was ruling in Damascus, along with this message: “Let there be a treaty between you and me like the one between your father and my father. See, I am sending you silver and gold. Break your treaty with King Baasha of Israel so that he will leave me alone.” Ben-hadad agreed to King Asa’s request and sent the commanders of his army to attack the towns of Israel. They conquered the towns of Ijon, Dan, Abel-beth-maacah, and all the store cities in Naphtali.”


He invaded King Asa by building a border at a place near Ramah. He did that because he wanted to take over Jerusalem. King Asa forgot his covenant with lord. He sought his own clever ideas. He sought the King of Syria. The King of Syria accepted the offer and they conquered Israel. When Baasha heard it, he stopped the building of the wall.


Rebuke of Hanani:


2 Chronicles 16:7 - “At that time Hanani the seer came to King Asa and told him, “Because you have put your trust in the king of Aram instead of in the Lord your God, you missed your chance to destroy the army of the king of Aram.”


2 Chronicles 16:9 - “The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. What a fool you have been! From now on you will be at war.””


Once we disobey and seek our own cleverness, many things will turn contrary. God is looking and the devil is monitoring. In times of adversities, the devil is looking for Christians to devour. He’s monitoring what we see and hear. When you keep feeding on sin, it’ll lead to death. The Lord will look at your heart. This is such a powerful verse. We want to come in reverence and respect Him. When your heart is right, the world is right for you.


The lesson of rebuking is a lesson of disobedience. We want to seek mercy. We want to kneel down and thank God for his mercy. Prayer is so powerful. Rest doesn’t mean we’re in the absence of struggle. Be thankful always. When you give thanks, it’s part of worship.


2 Chronicles 31:2 - “Hezekiah then organized the priests and Levites into divisions to offer the burnt offerings and peace offerings, and to worship and give thanks and praise to the Lord at the gates of the Temple.”


In all things, let your heart not be anxious. Thanksgiving is an illustration of a contrite heart, a revival in a person. You seek the face of the Lord. It is an attitude. We will be able to touch God. In all circumstances, give thanks.


The glorious reign of King Asa came to a sour end. There’s an invasion of the kingdom from the north by King Baasha. In the 36th year onwards, there was no peace. In the 39th year onwards, he was struck by illness.


2 Chronicles 16:12 - “In the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa developed a serious foot disease. Yet even with the severity of his disease, he did not seek the Lord’s help but turned only to his physicians.”


The sin that King Asa committed was not because he sought the doctor but it’s because he failed to seek the Lord. You must put yourself in a position where God is always the beginning.


2 Chronicles 16:13 - “So he died in the forty-first year of his reign.”


We must run and finish the race well. We must finish strong. We must strive. There is still this flesh that’s holding on to us. There are times where our emotions will pull us away. We have 3 enemies - the world, the flesh and the devil. They will come to you so you must stand firm. Keep our faith so strongly. When we disobey, we dislocate straight away so we need to repent and come back. God is looking around for fully devoted followers. God is looking and the devil is monitoring.


Amen.


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