Day #276: Daily Bible Reading Plan - September 30th
Scripture Reading: II Chronicles 11 - 15 …
If God is God … if He truly is the sovereign God who rules over the nations ... then to have a leader who seeks the LORD, the Almighty and only true God, and to be a people who will follow Him - and the leader whom He has appointed - would most certainly bring God's blessing to a nation. Yet there is no nation on the earth today of which that is true. There may be a godly leader somewhere, one who knows the true God and who truly lives to worship and serve Him through faith in His Son Jesus Christ ... and there may be a nation where there are many disciples of Jesus who would follow such a leader and who would hold up the banner of Christ, but there is no such leader and nation on the face of the earth today.
Rehoboam, and his son - and later his grandson, tried. David and Solomon had at times followed the LORD, their God, but the stubborn rebellion of the people continued to bring God's discipline and judgment upon the nation. Rehoboam sought God when he needed Him, but "after Rehoboam's position as king was established and he had become strong, he and all Israel with him abandoned the law of the LORD" (12:1). The result? "This is what the LORD says, 'You have abandoned Me; therefore, I now abandon you ..." (12:5). Once again the leaders of Israel (Judah) humbled themselves and God came to their rescue. "Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the LORD's anger turned from him, and he was not totally destroyed. Indeed, there was some good in Judah" (12:12).
"There was some good in Judah ..." I am reminded of Abraham's conversation in Genesis 18, when the LORD was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham asked if God would spare the city if there were fifty righteous people ... God said He would. Then Abraham wondered if there were that many, so he asked God if He would spare it if there were forty-five ... then forty, then thirty, then twenty, then ten ... Each time God answered that He would spare the city for the sake of the righteous - even if there were only ten! But God knew there weren't!!! And so God knows the hearts of those in every nation today. Only His patience holds back His wrath and the final judgment of the nations and all the peoples of the earth.
The compassion and mercy of God are seen in the fact that God spared Judah - for now, when they had a godly leader. Abijah stood against Jereboam, king of the northern kingdom, and said, "As for us, the LORD is our God, and we have not forsaken Him. ... God is with us; HE is our leader (13:10,12). "The men of Judah were victorious because they relied on the LORD, the God of their fathers" (13:18). Those are beautiful words, and they are a call to repentance for those who do NOT rely on the One true God. How foolish are the rulers and the nations of the world today who do not take into account the sovereign power of a holy God, before whom they are as nothing. God has removed leaders and put others in their place throughout the history of mankind and He will do it again. This is not like the rebellious, ungodly and unlawful terrorists of our day, who exert their own power and strength for their own ends. God Himself orders the events of our world!
King Asa, the son of Abijah, brought a brief reprieve to Judah. "Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God" (14:2). "He commanded Judah to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, and to obey His laws and commands" (14:4). He said, "The land is still ours, because we have sought the LORD our God" (14:7). He was right. Imagine a ruler today praying, "LORD, there is no one like YOU to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on You, and in Your Name we have come against this vast army. O LORD, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You!" (14:11). Our "fate" is in the hands of the same God to whom Asa prayed all those centuries ago.
Asa initiated a reform that brought a brief revival to Judah. He said to the people, "The LORD is with you when you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you" (15:2). This unchangeable principle was spoken as well by the prophet Isaiah: "Seek the LORD while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God, for He will freely pardon" (Isaiah 55:6-7). We know today that God's forgiveness is tied to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. God has revealed the one and only way to come near to Him, and that is through faith in Jesus, acknowledging Him, confessing Him as Savior and Lord. Through Him there is forgiveness and life for all who call upon His Name!
The people "entered into a covenant to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul" (15:12). "All Judah rejoiced about the oath because they had sworn it wholeheartedly. They sought God eagerly and He was found by them. So the LORD gave them rest on every side" (15:15). What was said of Asa could be said of few leaders or people, before or since: "Asa's heart was fully committed to the LORD all his life" (15:17). That's where it begins ... God's blessing upon a nation and its people - in the hearts of the leaders and the people. Whether in a nation or in the church, a godly leader brings benefits to all by seeking the LORD, our God, and encouraging others to do the same.
Rehoboam, Abijah, Asa ... the reforms Asa brought would be short-lived. All these were fallible human beings who ultimately could not sustain their devotion to the LORD, their God. Each at some point allowed the circumstances of their lives to dictate their actions, rather than their faith in the God who never fails those who cry out to Him. How often do we do the same? We desperately need godly leaders today, and people who will follow them. A godly leader seeks the LORD and relies on His wisdom, direction and strength. A godly leader knows that apart from the blessing of God there is no hope for "success," for God's definition of success is that which glorifies Him by proclaiming and expanding His reign. Everything else, no matter how "godly" or "good" it looks is only idolatry that brings praise to men rather than to God, who alone is worthy!
You and I need to seek the LORD, the One true God, today in the name of Jesus Christ and by the power of His Holy Spirit. People will follow anyone who promises them "blessings" ... they will "sow a seed into the kingdom" in order to bribe God for something they want ... healing, prosperity and the like. Television preachers and others crave wealth, power and influence and are willing to manipulate God's Word to achieve their goals. God watches ... God sees ... God hears! It is time to seek the LORD, the One true God, our Creator. It is time to humble ourselves before Him and to cry out for His mercy and His forgiveness. Perhaps He will yet answer if His people, who are called by His Name, will seek Him in righteous prayer, approaching His throne in the Name of Jesus. Perhaps He will yet spare us for another moment if we will commit ourselves to proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ to our world ... perhaps ...
"O LORD, my God, I read in Your Word the benefits of a godly leader and the blessings of a people who will follow him. Mold ME into the person You want ME to be, by the power of Your Holy Spirit. I rely on You, I depend on You, I seek You with all my heart! Help me, O LORD, to serve You without fear and to stand firm with all who know and love You, that together we may declare that You alone are God, today and forever! In Jesus' name, Amen"