Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Wholeheartedness = perfection?

My searching for some information about wholeheartedness in the Bible had me checking out Asa King of Judah. You can read about him in 1 Kings 15:9-24 and 2 Chronicles 14-16. Asa was a good king. 2 Kings 15:14 and 2 Chronicles 15:17 both say "Asa's heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life".

When you read that don't you get the feeling that Asa must have been perfect, or at least as close to perfect as a person can be. He must have done everything right and nothing wrong. Wrong!

The verses that I quoted above start with these words "Although he did not..." Asa didn't do all that you would think he would have done, but yet he still is recorded as having been fully committed to the Lord. There's hope for me yet. :-)

Reading the story of Asa in 2 Chronicles you see some of the good things Asa did but you also see where he fell short. Verse 11 of chapter 14 records a powerful prayer that he prayed asking for God's help in a battle. "Lord, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you..." After winning the battle Asa was met by a prophet that told him "The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you." (15:2) He also said "Be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded." Asa took courage from these words and led the people into "a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul." (15:12) About 15 years later, however, Asa took a different path. Chapter sixteen tells about a time when he turned to a human king for help rather than to the Lord. This time he received a message from a seer that he did not like. God was not pleased with him having relied on a human king rather than on God himself. Rather than respond with humbleness and repentance to this message Asa became angry and had the seer put in prison and "brutally oppressed some of the people." (16:10)

Inspite of this downfall the Bible records that Asa's heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life. Isn't that amazing! If only Asa had remembered the words of the first prophet when he said "be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded" and then listened to the words of the seer when he said "the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him." How differently his life could have ended if he had responded differently.

Hopefully I will learn a lesson from Asa. Asa's life proves that wholehearted devotion to God is not easy and doesn't have to be perfect. I can't rely on my own strength or the strength of those around me - I must rely only on God. He is with me if I am with Him. He is looking to strengthen me if my heart is fully committed to Him. If I depend on Him, stay strong, and don't give up my work will be rewarded.

1 comment:

Dee said...

Jacqueline, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts here. I enjoy reading them when I have a few minutes and mulling over your observations. :) Keep it up!