Today we’re considering what it would take to keep a healthy life going all through the various stages of life. Our text is from an account of a king of Israel, King Asa, as we watch his life unfold. Is there a way to keep our life in God spinning until the end and beyond
Staying Full of Life Long Term: The Spin Cycle
From 2 Chronicles 14 – 16
Okay, so I like to surprise people in some ways, you know, play some music that you wouldn’t expect me to like, wear something a little not my age or do something unusual, like climbing trees with chainsaws. It may seem corny to some of you, but it helps me to stay fresh, in touch and not in a box.
So when certain fads come up, I tend to be drawn to them.
We’re pretty past it now, but for a little while fidget spinners were all the rage, so I bought one. And here it is. I think it’s pretty cool. And it makes me a either cool or wannabe cool father, grandfather and pastor, or whatever, but give me points for trying.
I think this thing is cool. You give it a spin and it goes on for nearly 5 minutes. Awesome. But what happens along the way? Natural forces of friction enhanced by gravity slow down the original spin force from me and what was spinning beautifully ends up still.
Spiritually speaking, life filled life speaking, all humans and human institutions follow the exact same pattern.
Today we’ll see that principle lived out in the life of a man in the Bible, a king, King Asa. And there’s a few points along the way that will help us to avoid this very human pattern.
2 Chronicles 14.1-7
So Abijah rested with his fathers, and they buried him in the City of David. Then Asa his son reigned in his place. In his days the land was quiet for ten years.2 Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God, 3 for he removed the altars of the foreign gods and the high places, and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the wooden images. 4. He commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers, and to observe the law and the commandment. 5 He also removed the high places and the incense altars from all the cities of Judah, and the kingdom was quiet under him. 6 And he built fortified cities in Judah, for the land had rest; he had no war in those years, because the Lord had given him rest.7 Therefore he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and make walls around them, and towers, gates, and bars, while the land is yet before us, because we have sought the Lord our God; we have sought Him, and He has given us rest on every side.” So they built and prospered.
Asa is just like you and I in a lot of ways. He was dropped into history at a specific time and place and family situation.
We don’t know how old he is when he becomes king, but if he lived into his 70’s he might have been around 30 when he took over.
His family was just so so. There was a shining moment in his father’s reign when he trusted God in a difficult spot, but he wasn’t exceptionally spiritual and his mom was an idolater, she worshiped a foreign deity. Not so great.
But Asa was different. He was spiritual in all the right ways, stood up to sin and established sinful patterns even in and through his mother, and was true to God in every good way. So there’s two points we have to stop at here and glean some truth.
1. Your destiny and purpose in life is not determined by your family, your locale or culture or the lack thereof.
Instead, your future purpose and design is found fully in God and who He has made you to be.
2. Be faithful to follow God and rest and order are the results. Even in troublesome circumstances.
Because in the next portion of the story, we see that following God fully isn’t a guarantee that there won’t be challenges. Serious ones.
2 Chronicles 14.9-12
9 Then Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and three hundred chariots, and he came to Mareshah. 10 So Asa went out against him, and they set the troops in battle array in the Valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. 11. 11 And Asa cried out to the Lord his God, and said, “Lord, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You!”12 So the Lord struck the Ethiopians before Asa and Judah, and the Ethiopians fled.
And that brings us to a third, important and obvious point.
3. Challenges in life are inevitable and can be overwhelming. Those who start out trusting God in the restful times need to trust God in the challenges too. And He will see you through.
A huge army of Ethiopians, one million fighters, were after King Asa’s country, Judah. That’s a little intimidating. Have you ever seen one million humans in a single group before? Me neither, but that’s scary impressive. How are your odds in that situation? That commercial for the Lottery?
And yet, Asa and his guys won the war. Why? Because in the great challenge they turned to an even greater God who was on their side as they trusted Him. How awesome was that? Asa was set for life after he saw that, right? Actually, no.
4. Time and other stages of life have a tendency to steal what was once great about you.
2 Chronicles 16.1-2
In the thirty-sixth year of the reign of Asa, Baasha king of Israel came up against Judah and built Ramah, that he might let none go out or come in to Asa king of Judah. 2 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
Did you notice the change here? There’s a reliance here on money and possessions, connections and position, without a reliance on God Himself.
2 Chronicles 16.7-10
7 And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said to him: “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. 8 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. 9 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. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars.” 10 Then Asa was angry with the seer, and put him in prison, for he was enraged at him because of this. And Asa oppressed some of the people at that time.
God became an interruption, an irritant, to his now established ways.
2 Chronicles 16.12-14
12 And in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa became diseased in his feet, and his malady was severe; yet in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but the physicians. 13 So Asa rested with his fathers; he died in the forty-first year of his reign. 14 They buried him in his own tomb, which he had made for himself in the City of David; and they laid him in the bed which was filled with spices and various ingredients prepared in a mixture of ointments. They made a very great burning for him.
And finally, we see that Asa was only committed to answers he could see and understand and was in control of.
The process of time has a tendency to take us from reliance on God, commitment to God and God’s oversight and interventions in our lives to reliance on what is earthly.
Are finances and possessions, connections and positions bad? No. But the reliance on them over time has the effect of gravity and friction and will wear you down to a standstill. Unless.
5. Returning, refreshing and renewing our relationship and reliance on God are lifelong necessities.
You will be absorbed by the spiritual to your benefit or you will decline to the natural state of things to your detriment. The only difference is made by embracing refreshing the Spiritual, all the way through the ordinary and the extraordinary.
Where are you in the spin cycle today? Where will you be if things keep going the way they’re going?
Return, refresh, relate and rely with God. No matter where you find yourself.