Tuesday, September 15, 2015

SSMT Verse 17 - 2 Chronicles 16:9a

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

I'm going to be one verse behind now, but that's ok.

Once again, I've pulled a verse from our lunch group to commit to memory.  One I should've memorized by now, to be sure, but it struck me as particularly pertinent to this season.

Because the first part of the verse, which is what was listed on our study sheet, is a promise:

For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.  (2 Chron. 16:9a, NIV 84)

And, I'll confess, I didn't go back and get the context of it as I considered it; that really  had enough right there to give me pause.

He's looking for fully committed hearts.

Where in that is there room for 'I'm a Christian, but...'?

We have forgotten the origin of the term 'Christian'.

We have forgotten that it was originally a derogatory, marginalizing term meaning 'Little Christs', only not in a good sense. The New Testament authors never referred to themselves as Christians, although they did acknowledge that they would suffer in being called Christians.  The closest equivalent phrase we would  have today is 'Jesus Freak'.

How much sense would it make to stand up and say 'Yeah, I'm a Jesus Freak, but...' ?   To claim radical commitment to following Jesus, and yet point out that one really isn't any different than the popular culture?

God is looking for people whose hearts are fully committed to HIM.  When I read the whole verse in context, all that feel good about God looking for people to strengthen takes on a whole 'nuther concept, because it actually is part of a prophetic scolding.  Asa, the king of Judah, had hired Ben-hadad, the king of Aram, and his army to come and fight with him against Baasha, king of Israel, who was blockading Judah.   Asa and Ben-hadad had actually conquered several cities and ended the siege.

But Asa had not relied on God, and the prophet took him to task, reminding him of the time that he had been under attack by a large army and had been delivered by the hand of God and pointing out that now he would not be able to defeat Ben-hadad.   The rest of verse 9 shows the consequences:

You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.

Asa aligned himself with an unbelieving nation in order to strengthen himself, when God was waiting to give him the strength necessary to not only conquer those who were against him but also to conquer the very pagans to whom he had paid tribute.

God says it's a foolish thing to align oneself with those who do not follow Him.  For those who are fully committed to Him...no 'ifs', 'ands' OR 'buts'....there is strength.

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