Thursday, January 31, 2008

2 Chronicles 14

What is this passage all about?

In the early years of Asa's reign, Judah experienced peace and rest from God; later God struck down Cushite invaders.

What can I learn from this passage?

Three times in this passage, the word peace is used, twice rest is used. These words describe the situation in Judah in the first 10 years of the reign of King Asa (v1). The peace and rest were gifts from the LORD (vv6,7). These gifts may have been from God's grace, but they may also have been in response to Asa and Judah's obedience. "Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God. ... He commanded Judah to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, and to obey his laws and commands." (v2,4.) Asa knew and acknowledged that the source of the peace in Judah was God's protection. He told the people (v7b), " 'The land is still ours, because we have sought the LORD our God; we sought him and he has given us rest on every side.' So they built and prospered."

Asa did not expect that they would continue indefinitely in the LORD's favour and protection, despite continuing in their obedience to Him. He organised the Judeans to build up and fortify their towns (v7a) and to equip and maintain an army of 300,000 brave fighting men (v8), three-quarters the size of Abijah's army which, under God, routed Jeroboam (2Ch13).

After ten years of peace (v1), Zerah from Cush (Ethiopia) challenged Asa with a vast army of chariots (v9). Asa and the army of Judah went out to meet them (v10). Asa showed that he knew Who would be in charge of the battle's outcome. "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, 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.' " (v11.) As He had with the battle of Abijah's army against Israel, God ensured that Judah won the battle (vv12-13). "The LORD struck down the Cushites before Asa and Judah. The Cushites fled... they were crushed before the LORD and his forces." This time, the men of Judah were also able to take plunder (vv13-15).

I am particularly drawn to the use of possessive pronouns in this passage. God was not just the God of Asa's fathers, he was "the LORD his God" (vv2, 11); He was the God of Judah, "the LORD our God" (vv7, 11 twice). Furthermore, the army was not just Asa's, it was God's: "Asa and his army... the LORD and his forces" (v13). These possessive pronouns do not signify ownership, in the traditional manner. Rather, they indicate belonging and relationship.

How can I apply this to my own life?

Firstly, I need to continue to seek God. I know that Romans 3:11 says "there is no one who... seeks God." But this text is written with regard to unbelievers, as a descrip[tion of our situation outside of God's grace, and does not relate to Christians, within whom the Holy Spirit resides. As a Christian, I can and should follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit on my conscience and heart and seek God wholeheartedly.

I need to remember that I belong to God, and thank Him for choosing me and predestining me to be one of his adopted children (Ehesians . Ephesians 2:8-9 ascribes my relationship with God to His grace. Thank you God for choosing me!

No comments: