In the Old Testament there are many stories about the Kings of Judah and Israel. Sometimes the stories are inspiring-good kings with great courage. But more often than not the kings did not measure up to God’s intention or King David’s example.
One of the kings, Asa, got my attention yesterday. He began as a very good king and did the right things. He honored God, removed the idols and always asked for God’s counsel and direction before he declared war or did anything grandiose. And God blessed him with success, peace and an extended kingdom.
But later Asa wandered away from God. Some trouble came his way (a nearby king declared war on him) and rather than turn to God, he turned to another mortal man—the king of another land—for help. He even gave that king the gold and silver from God’s temple as payment for helping him.
Point: God did not like what Asa did and sent a prophet to make it clear to King Asa that it was wrong. But again, foolishly Asa put the prophet in prison for speaking the truth! Later, Asa’s feet became diseased and rather than turn to God-the One who created and shaped Asa’s feet in his mother’s womb—he turned first to physicians. His feet were never healed and upon his death Asa’s kingdom diminished.
Okay, that’s a lot of narrative to take in, but I thought about myself and Asa. Am I Asa the “young” or Asa the “old”? Do I turn to God instinctively first when bad things happen, or to my own solutions, devices, friends and wits? God desires that we remain dependent upon Him in our relationship as a small child is to a father. It’s not that Asa did evil things, it’s that he “grew up” and no longer thought that he needed God. God has not called us to be teenagers or young adults in our relationship with Him t be children.
Just because I am walking with God now is now guarantee that I will be next year. If I start drifting away God. God will get my attention—with events, or something I read in the Bible, or perhaps with someone like this prophet coming into my life. I can pay attention to what God is saying, or get huffy and ignore it——but at my own peril.
Modern teaching tells us to constantly encourage and compliment children and youth. We also urged to be very careful with their “self-esteem”. But when we stray away from God we also need people in our lives who give us the naked truth about right and wrong. We NEED people in our lives that don’t always tell us what we WANT to hear but the hard truth. Those people are called “brothers and sisters in Christ"-all the others that way what you want to hear are mere “acquaintances” in comparison.