Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Cause Of Our Spiritual Weakness

There is a spiritual truth that is almost impossible for us to live in our current age where the almighty dollar reigns supreme. For years we have allowed the seed in our heart grow, the seed that says "money makes the world go round". Everyone wants a comfortable life with enough money to do what they want and what most people want is to be entertained. So we work to spend, and what we don't have, we borrow. We lean heavily on credit cards and enslave ourselves to the financial system of this world; and we think it is good.

How can we discover the greatness of our God when we are enslaved to another? How can we discover the wonderful provision of our God when we are enslaved to another? How can we discover that he is mighty to save, whether by many or few, when we trust another god for our salvation?

You may think I am being a little over dramatic but that's because we have become blind to our own condition. We have become spiritually weak for several reasons but this is one of the big ones. It is not unlike the kings of old who trusted their own resources instead of Yahweh. Over the last couple of days I have been using king Asa as an illustration and today is no exception.

You will recall that Asa was a great king, bringing spiritual renewal to Judah as he encouraged everyone to turn back to Yahweh. He was a king who leaned on his God, who trusted him and as a result the land was blessed. During an invasion of the Ethiopians, when he was outnumbered 3 to 1, Asa cried out to Yahweh and trusted him in the battle. He easily defeated the army and gained great riches. Because Asa and Judah sought the Lord, they found him, and he gave them peace for 35 years, during which time they prospered. It was a golden age, until Asa made the same mistake we make today.

The King of Israel attacked and was building a city to cut off a major trade route. Israel's army was nothing compared to the Ethiopian army Asa had defeated in trusting Yahweh but during the 35 years of peace Asa seemed to have forgotten. He panicked and made a bad decision:

Then Asa brought silver and gold from the treasuries of the house of the Lord and of the king’s house, and sent to Ben-Hadad king of Syria, who dwelt in Damascus, saying, “Let there be a treaty between you and me, as there was between my father and your father. See, I have sent you silver and gold; come, break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel, so that he will withdraw from me.” (2 Chronicles 16:2-3)

The fact that Asa trusted his riches and paid a foreign king, who was actually an enemy, to get him out of trouble was distasteful to Yahweh. He sent his prophet to tell Asa what he had done was wrong:

Because you have relied on the king of Syria, and have not relied on the Lord your God, therefore the army of the king of Syria has escaped from your hand. Were the Ethiopians and the Lubim not a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet, because you relied on the Lord, He delivered them into your hand. ( vv. 7-8)

Now pay attention to the next part and understand how wrong we have been and why we struggle in spiritual weakness:

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. (v. 9)

Our Lord looks for opportunities to show his strength through the weaknesses of his children. It brings to mind the Lord`s response to Paul`s prayer for deliverance, when he said that his grace was sufficient for Paul because he reveals his strength through our weakness. But we refuse to be weak in this age. We turn to other sources for salvation. We rely on the wisdom of man. We lean on credit. We run after means to feed and clothe ourselves. We wear ourselves out, ignoring Jesus entirely, as if he were some decorative ornament that adorns our lives; totally useless but pretty to look at.

Now that you are aware of this you have an opportunity to repent of it. Father wants us turning to him in our weakness. He wants us to lean on him so he can glorify himself through us. But please do not react like Asa. He had an opportunity to repent here. He had made a mistake but our Lord is the source of all grace. He only looks to us to repent and be restored. But instead of repenting, Asa allowed his heart to be filled with anger, bitterness and resentment. He threw the prophet into jail. He became a tyrant, oppressing the people because his heart had changed. And even when the Lord used disease to bring correction and to soften his heart, Asa refused to turn to him for help, instead choosing to die in suffering with the disease. We can be stupidly stubborn in our disobedience.

Face it, we are a distracted people who lean on other gods for salvation. We are wrong, we are weak, and we are in much need of repentance. Just for this moment, be honest with yourself. In your weakness, who or what gets glorified? If the answer is not Jesus then fall on your face before him. And don't lie to yourself. This could be a major turning point in your spiritual maturity. Allow Jesus to be glorified in your weakness.

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