Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Evening Sermon Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/ev/ev20030629.htm
1 AND 2 KINGS: ENJOYING GOD'S BLESSINGS IN AN APOSTATE ERA
Part XIV: Blessing By Trusting God's Appointment When Facing Oversight Competition
(1 Kings 15:1-8, 9-24 with 2 Chronicles 15:8-16:10)
Lesson: When Asa focused on heeding God, GOD created a great following for him; when he was opposed by Baasha, and VIEWED it as a THREAT so as to shift his focus from faith in God to try to tackle Baasha's THREAT on his OWN, Asa SINNED, and LOST God's best for him as a king!
- A critical challenge an overseer may face is the temptation to fear his subjects may not wish to follow or submit to his oversight, and that because of a perceived threat by some other competitor to his position.
- At that point, the overseer has one of two choices to make: he can either seek to enforce his oversight influence by trying to control matters on his own or he can focus on heeding the Lord, trusting God's assignment of his oversight, and let God handle the subjects and competitors Himself!
- The reigns of Abijam and Asa reveal the need for overseers not to try fending off competitors in some way on their own in such situations, but to trust the Lord (as follows):
- Blessing By Trusting God's Appointment When Facing Oversight Competition.
- As we learned in past lessons, God caused ten of the twelve tribes of Israel to follow Jeroboam's leadership (Northern Kingdom of Israel) and only Judah with Benjamin to heed Rehoboam's rule in Jerusalem (Southern Kingdom of Judah), cf. 1 Kings 12:1-24.
- This division created a perceived competition between the rulers of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms over who would influence the people of Israel, for the northern kings felt threatened that the place of worship God had appointed was in Jerusalem of the Southern Kingdom, cf. 1 Kings 12:26-27.
- Accordingly, war was common between Israel and Judah as is reported of the reigns of wicked Abijam, the son of Rehoboam in Judah and evil Jeroboam in Israel, cf. 1 Kings 15:1-8.
- In contrast, Judah's king Asa who came to power after Abijam sought to reform Judah from idolatry, and this resulted in a huge turn of the tide of many people of the Northern Kingdom to come to Jerusalem to worship the Lord under his reign, 1 Kings 15:9-15 with 2 Chronicles 15:1-9a, 9b, 10-19:
- When Asa came to the throne in Judah, he sought to purge the land of idols, 1 Kings 15:9-12.
- We know from 2 Chronicles 15:1-9a that when Asa was encouraged to continue following the Lord this way by the prophet, Azariah, Asa even removed his grandmother, Maachah from being queen due to her idolatrous influence, and he destroyed her idol in the Brook Kidron, 2 Chr. 15:16; 1 Kings 15:13.
- At this point, many people from the Northern Kingdom of Israel perceived the Lord was with Asa, so they started to travel down to Jerusalem to worship the Lord under his oversight, 2 Chronicles 15:9a,b, 10-15a. As a result, Asa began to enjoy peace from war in accord with the Mosaic Covenant, cf. 2 Chronicles 15:15b, 18-19 with Deuteronomy 28:1-2 with 10.
- However, not realizing it was God's work to cause his following, when Asa felt threatened by the reaction of the Northern Kingdom's ruler, Baasha to the drift of subjects down to Judah, Asa began to pressure and manipulate other people in sinful ways, leading to a loss of blessing, 1 Kings 15:16-24; 2 Chr. 16:1-10:
- Israel's king Baasha in the Northern Kingdom felt threatened by the southward drift of his subjects to Asa, so he fortified the border town of Ramah to restrict the flow of people into Judah, 1 Kings 15:16f.
- Failing to see God was responsible for his following, Asa reacted to Baasha's threat: he made a sinful league with Syria (cf. Deut. 7:2-4) to influence Syria to break her treaty with Israel, thereby weakening Baasha and pressed his subjects to dismantle Ramah to furnish his own fotifications, 1 Kings 15:18-22.
- Yet, the prophet, Hanani critiqued Asa's reliance on Syria instead of God to respond to Baasha's acts, 2 Chr. 16:7a. Hence, Hanani predicted Asa would fail to conquer the Syrians as God had planned for him versus how Asa had defeated the Ethiopians when he had initially relied on God, 2 Chr. 16:7b-9.
- Asa reacted to this news by imprisoning Hanani and oppressing other innocent folk (2 Chr. 16:10), so God afflicted Asa with diseased feet in his old age in accord with Deut. 28:15, 21 (1 Kings 15:23b-24).
Application: Leadership influence over God's people in any institution, be it in a marriage, family, church, business or government institution, is a GIFT from GOD: hence, we must handle any perceived human THREAT to that oversight by FAITH in GOD'S APPOINTMENT of us in that role!