God answered the desire of my heart by giving me the fellowship of these Christian blogger sisters, that Blog Through the Bible with me. Having grown out of the Titus Women's Gathering study ministry called Revel in the Word, it is great fun and encouragement for us all, to take turns writing blog posts to cover chapters as we endeavor to read the Bible cover to cover.
I'll be the first to admit that the task is sometimes intimidating. I will disclaim that my posts in particular are more the bringing forth of talking points than summarizing. You are missing out if you do not read the Bible text for yourself, but you will be blessed if you additionally read our BTTB posts. We are blessed by writing and reading...
Recent links would be Stacey @ Words From the Wheel, Angela @ No Longer Lukewarm, Tatiana @ The Musings of Mum, and some posts will be at Telling Hearts, our collaborative blog as well as here at Grandma Mary Martha.
Repeated Bible Themes
One of the reasons that I find Old Testament study so rewarding is for the insight on God's character, and appreciation for Him, that grows. I see these themes repeating in this chapter, how about you?
~Obedience begats reward!
~God desires our attention, loyalty, faith!
~Disobedience leads to God's protection being lifted, and some bad consequences...
2 Chronicles chapter 16
Chapter 16 opens at Asa's last years. In the 36th year of his reign of Judah, (recall the internal unrest, and national division) King Baasha of Israel took control of Ramah, which seems to be somewhat of a pawn city in the way it is treated. So here we have God's people divided politically and fighting. Baasha has control of Ramah until Asa goes behind his back and "buys off" his ally Ben Hadad, king of Aram in Damascus.
Political Buy-off I find it interesting that in this "buy off," King Asa literally spent treasures from "the treasuries of the Lord's temple." YIKES. But jimmenies, the king wanted peace and victory, and he was the king who followed God. (2 Chronicles 14:2 "And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the Lord") Made mistakes? Apparently, but he tried.
God's reaction considering above:
2 Chronicles 16:7
"...because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand."
God did not address the issue of spending form the treasury of the temple of the Lord, at least not in chapter 16 or 17. Maybe He did not care so much as some might think.... because he is GOD. What are earth's riches to Him, if not a gift of the heart?
See-er Imprisoned Did you read this from the Bible? Note that God did not say this directly to Asa, but His word came from a "see-er" which in some scriptures is called a prophet. This would be someone who has a special relationship with God or a special talent from God. How do we recognize or measure prophets today? FIRSTLY ALWAYS MEASURE BY HIS PRESERVED WORD- the Bible. Just worth clarifying!
Back to king Asa. He was not humble or receptive to this word from God. Infact he had the seer put in prison and he abused or oppressed some of the people under him.
A Foot Ailment From there it REALLY did not go well for Asa. He came down with a foot ailment that lasted the next few years until he died. The Bible tells us that he looked to his modern physicians for healing but did not consult God at all for this matter, and if you study Old Testament and New Testament, you can see plenty of evidence that God and Jesus advocate prayers for healing and God indeed is in the business of healing if He so chooses. Ultimately those saved in Jesus Christ, get healed in Heaven and for that I am so grateful.
If you do not know if you are saved or not... I invite you to read this post written to explain what the Bible teaches about salvation. Telling Hearts post on salvation.
2 Chronicles chapter 17
Asa's son Jehoshaphat succeeds him on the throne over Judah.
2 Chronicles 17:3
"The Lord was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the ways of his father David before him."
He was a descendant of David.
Blessings begat reward? A lot of chapter 17 tells specifics as to the great success, riches, power and influence of Jehoshaphat.
2 Chronicles 17:6
"His heart was devoted to the ways of the Lord....he removed the high (idolatry) places..."
Public Education, and Power for Good Verse 7-9 even tells about a public education program that he initiated, in attempt to bring the people back to their God, to remind them of what instruction and heritage they had forgotten.
Obedience to God begats reward? Verse 10 basically tells us that during this man's reign, the surrounding people did not want to attack Judah and furthermore, many people brought him GIFTS. The last verses of this chapter tell about the HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of men who served under him, for Judah, at the time, a very blessed nation.
Does this make you think about present political situations? How so?
What is our role in the political world?
How do we determine our values and path of activism?
Is prayer activism?
What do you think led to the civil unrest and division of this period between Israel and Judah?
Asa did not consult God for healing, but instead he consulted physicians of his day. Does this quandary confront us today? What is your position about consulting God and or physicians for healing? From where do you think wisdom and insight and skill and talent in medicine come from? Who has the final say? Who deserves glory and gratitude for any healing?
(Want to discuss answers in the comments? I know my answers....)
Dear God, teach us how to hear You, follow You, and do Your work, even in complicated situations, in our personal life, professional life, community life and in broader politics. Teach us how to trust You, and grow us in faith and courage. In You is all our hope! In Jesus's name we pray, amen.