Monday, August 11, 2014
Revival and Reformation Pt. 17: When Faith Fumbles, Fourth and Goal
[You can listen here while following the manuscript below]
Revival and Reformation Pt 17
2 Chronicles 16
When Faith Fumbles, 4th and Goal!
Rightly, Lord, your true word both disturbs the comfortable, and comforts the disturbed. Show us the secrets of our own hearts this evening, and apply your medicinal salve for Christ’s sake. Amen.
Consistency is not a normal human tendency. Blind spots, quirks of character, inabilities to see our own double standards – this is the normal human condition. And the same continues to haunt us once we have been brought into the family of God. In 2 Chronicles 16 we see an example of when Faith Fumbles, 4th and Goal and it reminds us “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10.12).
Chapter 16 is in the context of 14-15. Keep in the forefront of your mind 14.2 and 15. 17: God’s own description of Asa’s overall life and actions flavors even the final story with God’s mercy! But also this final chapter reminds us that Even in Reforming men there is still some foolishness!
1. A [Reliance] Alliance with the Ungodly 1-6. Isaiah 31.1-3: “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the LORD!” And a host of other statements in the prophets that describe these reliance alliances as harlotry, infidelity and adultery. And 2 Corinthians 6.14-7.1 that we read earlier.
2. At Odds with God 7-14
A. Out of sorts with God’s Word 7-10
V. 7-8 ‘Rely’ and 14.11.
V. 9 – A stout statement to remind Asa of what he once affirmed and believed. Meant to encourage and recover Asa!
V. 10 – “shoots” the messenger of God’s Word.
B. Out of Kilter with God Himself 11-14
3. The trends are set: 17.3-4, 6 (And then all of Chapter 20); But also 19.1-3. The consequences of foolishness is for real and can have multi-generational reverberations.
4. Lessons to Learn
A. Part of the significance for including this episode in the remembered story of Asa is rouse God’s people to have faith in the LORD God and his consistency, and to look for the one who is greater than Asa. “Put no confidence in princes, nor for help on man depend; he shall die, to dust returning, and his purposes shall end” (TH #57.1b); or “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes” (Psalm 118.8-9). “Oh, grant us help against the foe, for vain is the salvation of man! With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes” (Psalm 60.11-12). But all of this should take us straight to Christ – This is the One who is always faithful. Set your eyes on Him….he will never, ever fumble at 4th and goal!
B. In the Big things and Little Things – Rely on the LORD, not alliances with the ungodly, or past victories, or wealth!!!! “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3.5-7).
C. Though it’s not unanimous, nevertheless it’s a significant marker: Several of God’s faithful fumble at 4th and goal! David, Solomon, Asa, and Uzziah (Manasseh will be the inverse of this and will actually turn the game around in the 4th quarter).
D. Believing men and women whose hearts are “wholly true all” their “days” will continue to be inconsistent, and some will fumble at 4th and goal! Knowing this should temper your expectations with regard to people, especially Pastors, Elders, Dads, Moms, kings, etc. Failure and Sin is the Paradigm, while faithfulness is the Grace-filled work of God on us, therefore iIf there’s any triumphs, that’s great! Follow them as long as they follow Christ (1 Cor. 11.1), but always and in all ways, follow Christ, the Overseer and Shepherd of your soul! Leaders… Parents…. Children…
And so, let us pray for ourselves and each other, that by the grace of God we’ll be able to say with Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4.7).