The LORD is with you when you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you abandon Him, He will abandon you … When Asa heard these words … he took courage.
2 Chronicles 15:2,8
When the word of God comes to us, that is our moment of response, that is our opportunity to draw near to God, that is the time we need to weed through every distraction to our response of faith, to filter every partial truth through the pure knowledge of God and determine to let God have our whole devotion and to search after the true over-flowing fullness of God. Yet it is so tempting for us to do otherwise, to take pleasure in the blessings of the moment, to immerse ourselves is a limited experience with a lesser cost to us and a lesser reward from God.
Azariah the prophet spoke these words to King Asa of Judah after the great defense against an attack from Ethiopia. It would have been a simple thing, the natural thing actually, for Asa to think he had won his place in history and that the victory was enough. Many lesser men would have taken these words as an affirmation of the past deed and have basked in the glory of the moment. Instead, Asa saw these words as an indication of what the future held, the past was merely a prologue to a greater future. A great revival of faith came to Israel because Asa continued to seek the Lord and asked what else he could do for God.
Our current fascination with “Christian celebrities” seems to be a symptom of this type of thinking that basks in the moment, and that sometimes steals glory from God. There are seemingly countless individuals who want to be like the latest popular Christian singer, who envision themselves in the limelight of an audience (not a congregation) , or the would-be Christian author who wants the accolades of a readership, or the newest popular speaker. Those who labor seriously for Christ know the temptations of alluring fame, the temptation to think the rewards of service to Christ and dedication to His name are anything like the rewards of secular work: fame, fortune, power, rest. The only type of service to Christ that the Bible knows of is a crucified disciple following the crucified and risen Lord, who lives in His power and puts aside all personal glory and credit.
Azariah said, “But as for you, be strong; don’t be discouraged, for your work has a reward” (2 Chron. 15:7). Asa, however, was encouraged to go further by the word that what he had done to that point had been noticed by God, not to secure his own glory but to bring all of his people back to God. He had tasted the real thing, the genuine movement of God in his heart , his life, and his world, that left deficient the taste of everything else earth offers. If God has touched you, has used you, you know in your heart that nothing else truly satisfies. Only God’s Spirit truly fills our hearts. Christ said, “Whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again – ever! In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life” (John 4:14).
The truths do not mean that there will be no moments when we need rest – Christ often took His disciples on retreats to regain their spiritual strength. They do, however, call us to dream with God of the future victories He has for us. All that God has done in your life and through your life to this point is merely a prologue for the future. Put aside your vanity, rise up on your feet, take up your cross, and follow Christ. The best days are yet to come.
Lord, teach us not to be satisfied with anything less than You, with receiving anything less than Your best, with giving anything less than our all. Amen