2 Chronicles 14:2-5 “And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God: For he took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves: And commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment. Also he took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the images: and the kingdom was quiet before him.”
I don’t usually start this blog with a question, but, today it seems appropriate.
“How quiet is your kingdom?”
Your kingdom is the reality in which you live. Your relationships with your family, friends, church, pastor, neighbors, and God are all brought into this thing called your ‘kingdom.’
It struck me that King Asa did all those things to obey God, and peace followed. He cleaned his kingdom of all that was offensive to God. But, if that wasn’t enough, God sent a prophet to instruct him further.
2 Chronicles 15:2 “And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.”
Through His prophet, Azariah, God spoke to instruct king Asa to bring what deeds he had already done and establish a closer relationship with God.
It shows that we can do all the outward things to conform to what we know pleases God, but God desires our heart. What actions Asa took were motivated by a love for God. The sacrifices we make, the good deeds we amass, and the outward service we perform is nothing without our hearts in tune with God.
David, known as a ‘man after God’s own heart,’ wrote Psalm 51 after being called out by Nathan, the prophet. He relates this matter beautifully.
Psalm 51:6 “Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.”
His plea for an actual cleansing was so thorough; he didn’t want to leave anything covered.
Psalm 51:10-12 “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.”
Before this, David had no peace. Depression, division, and desolation filled his life. You can bet there were no songs of joy, praise, and worship. There were no times of rest or quiet meditation.
Once Nathan’s finger pointed at David and said, “Thou art the man,” David’s heart melted. He no longer wanted to hide or pretend. The fight wasn’t with those around him; he was fighting God.
There was no peace. Not in David’s heart, not in his relationships, and not in his kingdom.
Today, there is much that presses upon our spirit. If we allow it, the fear of an unseen virus can change how we live, think, act, and feel. We distance ourselves from everyone for fear of the possible death that might come because of this pandemic.
I am not making light of those who have died due to this virus. Nor the cautionary measures that are taken by those with compromised immunity. I do want to say that, as a child of God, we should not allow any circumstances to govern our behavior.
We will all die one day of something. Sickness, accident, cancer, or violence may take our life. This life here on earth is temporary. Our eternal destination is eternal. Knowing the promise of Heaven and a place prepared for us should comfort our hearts.
John 14:1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
Translating the knowledge of that truth into the peace that can govern our hearts is the need of the hour. Many who have suffered extreme persecution, have faced far worse with grace and peace that passes all understanding.
Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
The need today is for the church to show the world how to weather such things as we are seeing with the grace and peace that reveal Christ to them. If we cower in fear like the world, what difference is there between them and us?
2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
Fear is a spirit that preys upon weak minds. It is not a matter of character, talent, or giftedness. It is a gift from God to those who seek to live without fear. God is the source of all power and love. He alone can bring that peace we so desire.
Again, I ask:
“How quiet is your kingdom?”
Does peace rule and reign in your heart?
Colossians 3:15 “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”
The key to that peace ruling our hearts comes by only one way.
Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
It is both personal and collective with the church. We need to be at peace with God in our hearts. Then, we need to be at peace with those around us.
Some have held on to unforgiveness and are at risk of becoming bitter. Others have gathered evidence to justify their anger, selfishly wanting justice or revenge instead of forgiveness and restoration.
Dear reader, where is your heart today? Is there peace in your ‘kingdom?’ If not, why not?
There is only one path to take. It begins with cleansing our house of all that displeases God.
Asa tore down altars to false gods.
He took away the idols from among the people.
He destroyed the temples of all but those of the one, true God. Asa sought God with his whole heart and found peace.
Might we today do the same?