Monday, June 18, 2012


For the eyes of Yahweh roam throughout the earth to show Himself strong for those whose hearts are completely His.” (2 Chronicles 16:9a HCSB)

They call them, “headhunters”—and I’m not talking about some primitive jungle tribe that stalks their enemy, cuts off their heads and mounts them as trophies.  The term is used in the corporate world for someone whose profession is to scout and sign talent in a particular field.  It might be to find an executive, a coach, a business manager, a salesman—or any of a myriad of other jobs.  This person is always looking for someone who has the ability to excel.

God isn’t a headhunter.  He is a “heart-hunter.”  He is able to look beyond the surface to the core of our being.  His evaluation is always perfect.  He is seeking the one who has a perfect heart—not sinless, or He would never find one, but for one that is “completely His.”  That is, a heart unreservedly committed to God.

When he finds such a one, His intention is to invest in them His resources and use them to extend the Kingdom of God in the earth.  There can be no half-heartedness, no blockage in the spiritual arteries to impede the life-giving flow of grace.  This is what God is looking for and longing to do.

Asa could have been such a King.  The potential was there.  We look into his life and leadership for some lessons to lead us to examine our heart.  We may be sure that God is thoroughly examining it!

What kind of heart is God looking for?

He seeks a heart that is set on RETURNING TO THE LORD (2 Chronicles 14).

“Asa did what was good and right in the sight of the Lord his God.  He removed the pagan altars and the high places. He shattered their sacred pillars and chopped down their Asherah poles.  He told [the people of] Judah to seek the Lord God of their ancestors and to carry out the instruction and the commands.” (v.2-4)

God’s people were on a downhill slide.  Following David’s reign, Solomon had led them to military power, economic prosperity, but in the end spiritual poverty.  He had opened the door to idolatry and the Enemy of the Soul had flooded the land with filth.  Solomon’s son, Rehoboam  piled up more spiritual trash and his successor Abijah just slogged along through the cesspool of iniquity.

Then Asa came to the throne.  But, he did more than ascend to an earthly throne, he sought the throne of grace!  He led the people to return to the Lord.  By his example and his edicts, he inspired a nation to yield to God—and God blessed them accordingly.

The return to God brought them rest.  Asa also removed the high places and the incense altars from all the cities of Judah, and the kingdom experienced peace under him.

Because the land experienced peace, Asa built fortified cities in Judah. No one made war with him in those days because the Lord gave him rest.  So he said to [the people of] Judah, ‘Let's build these cities and surround them with walls and towers, with doors and bars. The land is still ours because we sought the Lord our God. We sought Him and He gave us rest on every side.’ So they built and succeeded.” (v.6-8)

Peace brought the opportunity for prosperity.  The Lord was showing Himself strong on behalf of these yielded hearts. 

The nation experienced His power in protection.  An army of a million men came up from Africa against them.  The odds were overwhelming—against the invaders—for God was on the side of Judah!  Victory was secured.

Asa had an army of 300,000 from Judah bearing large shields and spears, and 280,000 from Benjamin bearing regular shields and drawing the bow. All these were brave warriors.  Then Zerah the Cushite came against them with an army of one million men and 300 chariots. They came as far as Mareshah.   So Asa marched out against him and lined up in battle formation in the Valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. Then Asa cried out to the Lord his God: ‘Lord, there is no one besides You to help the mighty and those without strength. Help us, Lord our God, for we depend on You, and in Your name we have come against this large army. Yahweh, You are our God. Do not let a mere mortal hinder You.’  So the Lord routed the Cushites before Asa and before Judah, and the Cushites fled.  Then Asa and the people who were with him pursued them as far as Gerar. The Cushites fell until they had no survivors, for they were crushed before Yahweh and His army. So the people of Judah carried off a great supply of loot.” (v.8-13)

No matter the size of the problem you may be facing today, God is longing to show His power on your behalf.  That way He receives all the glory.  Our nation is in as much of a mess as Judah was in and only a miracle will suffice—but God delights in making miracles and manifesting His might.  All we must do is return to the Lord and seek Him whole-heartedly.  Let it begin with me—today!

The positive side of this is that we have a heart set on returning to the Lord, but with that, the flip-side, is a heart set on REMOVING OF THE EVIL (2 Chronicles 15).

When Asa heard these words and the prophecy of [Azariah son of] Oded the prophet, he took courage and removed the detestable idols from the whole land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities he had captured in the hill country of Ephraim. He renovated the altar of the Lord that was in front of the portico of the Lord's [temple].” (v.8)

King Asa also removed Maacah, his grandmother, from being queen mother because she had made an obscene image of Asherah. Asa chopped down her obscene image, then crushed it and burned it in the Kidron Valley.  The high places were not taken away from Israel; nevertheless, Asa was wholehearted his entire life.” (v.16-17)

God wants a complete heart—and that necessitates a clean heart.  He cannot fill us with righteousness, if our soul is cluttered with wickedness.  The sewage of sin had to be flushed away.  Whatever it took, Asa was willing to do—even kicking out his grandmother for her evil ways!  Now, that is being serious about sin!

What is hindering you from receiving all that God has for you?  What skeleton is in your closet that you refuse to remove and bury forever?  No one else may know its there—but God sees.  Confess the sin—expose it for the evil it is, rather than excusing it—and the blood of the Lamb will cleanse it!   Here is the promise:  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 HCSB)

God wants to show His power to a heart devoted to Him.  This is displayed by returning to the Lord and removing of the evil.  One other thing is needful: RELYING ON HIS POWER (2 Chronicles 16).

At that time, Hanani the seer came to King Asa of Judah and said to him, ‘Because you depended on the king of Aram and have not depended on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand.  Were not the Cushites and Libyans a vast army with many chariots and horsemen? When you depended on Yahweh, He handed them over to you.  For the eyes of Yahweh roam throughout the earth to show Himself strong for those whose hearts are completely His. You have been foolish in this matter. Therefore, you will have wars from now on.’" (v.7-9)

In the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa developed a disease in his feet, and his disease became increasingly severe. Yet even in his disease he didn't seek the Lord but [only] the physicians.” (v.12)

A surrendered heart is a submissive heart.  Our strength is found in heavenly reliance on God, not in human resources.   The promising reign of Asa never reached all that it might have attained because of his trusting in man, rather than God.  He was good—but not great—because, at the last, he was more concerned with making himself great rather than staying good.

The final pages of the last chapter of Asa’s life portray a hurting, angry and bitter monarch—stubbornly trying to work things out instead of crying out for God to work.  To his credit, he never abandoned the worship of God and plunging back into idolatry.  But, in the latter years, he was just going through the motions.  This is how the New Testament describes it:  holding to the form of godliness but denying its power.” (2 Timothy 3:5a HCSB)

This seems to be the problem in much of orthodox Christianity today.  Old Vance Havner said, “You can be straight as a gun barrel theologically, and empty as one spiritually.”  Such churches hold to doctrinal fidelity, they practice Biblical morality, but never experience the manifestation of God powerfully.  The former is not negotiable, but the latter is indispensable. 

Think of it as a three-legged stool.  Take away any of the legs and it cannot stand.  We must believe the right things, we must behave the right way, but we must also trust in the right power.  God is looking for someone this day who will be that man or woman.  He longs to pour His power in and through such a heart.

No comments: