2 Chronicles 11–15: Be Strong & Do Not Lose Courage

Read the Bible in 2011Week 40: Tuesday

“For the Levites left their pasture lands and their
property and came to Judah and Jerusalem, for
Jeroboam and his sons had excluded them from
serving as priests to the LORD. He set up priests
of his own for the high places, for the satyrs and
for the calves which he had made.

“Those from all the tribes of Israel who set their hearts on seeking the LORD God of Israel followed them to Jerusalem, to sacrifice to the LORD God of their fathers. They strengthened the kingdom of Judah and supported Rehoboam the son of Solomon for three years, for they walked in the way of David and Solomon for three years.”
2 Chronicles 11:14–17

Tuesday’s Bible reading is 2 Chronicles 11–15. Chapters 11 and 12 record the rest of Rehoboam’s reign, describing his obedience to God and his later rebellion and repentance.

In chapter 13  only one event in the reign of Rehoboam’s son, Abijah, is mentioned, a battle in which, outnumbered two to one by Jeroboam’s warriors, Judah cries out to God for deliverance and He answers them with victory.

The final two chapters are about Asa, Abijah’s son, his many reforms and once again, the deliverance of God when Judah is vastly outnumbered—this time by the Ethiopians.

Now the Spirit of God came on Azariah the son of Oded, and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Listen to me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: the LORD is with you when you are with Him. And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.

“For many days Israel was without the true God and without a teaching priest and without law. But in their distress they turned to the LORD God of Israel, and they sought Him, and He let them find Him. In those times there was no peace to him who went out or to him who came in, for many disturbances afflicted all the inhabitants of the lands. Nation was crushed by nation, and city by city, for God troubled them with every kind of distress. But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work.”
2 Chronicles 15:1–7

I think one of the most sobering lessons to learn from the history of Judah and her kings is that a king can be faithful at one point in his life, but later fall into sin. There is vacillation between turning to and turning from God. Danger and humility precipitate calling upon the Lord, but once at rest there is subsequent forgetfulness of God, pride and rebellion.

Our lives are not static, and we are in a marathon, not a sprint. Paul wrote to the Galatians:

“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.”
Galatians 6:9

In writing on Galatians 6:9, the Puritan Thomas Watson wrote:

“The crown is not given to him who fights—but to him who overcomes.…”

If we would not grow weary, let us pray for persevering grace. It was David’s prayer, Psalm 119:117, “Hold me up—and I shall be safe.” It was Beza’s prayer, “Lord, perfect what You have begun in me.” That we may hold on a Christian course, let us labor for three persevering graces: faith, hope, and love.

Faith keeps from fainting. Faith gives a substance to things not seen, and makes them to be as it were present, Hebrews 11. As a telescope makes those things which are at a distance near to the eye, so does faith. Heaven and glory seem near. A Christian will not be weary of service—who has the crown in his eye.

The second persevering grace is hope. Hope animates the spirits; it is to the soul as cork to the net—which keeps it from sinking. Hope breeds patience and patience breeds perseverance. Hope is compared to an anchor, Hebrew 6:19. The Christian never sins, but when he casts away his anchor of hope!

The third persevering grace is love. Love makes a man so that he is never weary. Love may be compared to the rod of myrtle in the traveler’s hand, which refreshes him and keeps him from being weary in his journey. He who loves the world is never weary of following the world; he who loves God will never be weary of serving Him. The reason why saints and angels in heaven are never weary of praising and worshiping God, is because their love to God is perfect, and love turns service into delight. Get the love of God in your hearts—and you will run in His ways and not be weary!”1

May the Lord grant us His persevering grace, and may He find us faithful to the end.

__________
Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications
1Thomas Watson, Let Us Not Grow Weary, Grace Gems! I recommend this very brief and very edifying writing.

Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter

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8 Responses to 2 Chronicles 11–15: Be Strong & Do Not Lose Courage

  1. RJ Dawson says:

    It truly is a marathon and not a sprint. We must remain encouraged. We must endure, and endure to the end. So many of the OT Hebrew kings were ungodly jerks, and it was sad when a king started out good only to go bad, such as Saul and especially Solomon, whom much of Christianity still places on a pedestal. So much for “Once Saved Always Saved!”

  2. INC says:

    “Once Saved, Always Saved” has been used too many times for false assurance that someone is a Christian when his or her life after professing to be a Christian is followed by years of indifference to the Lord or by open rebellion and sin. This is not what Paul speaks of in Romans 10:9 when he says, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

    I know for a fact that my own childhood profession of faith was not a true confession of faith. I did not understand the Gospel. It wasn’t followed by years of indifference and rebellion, but years of searching for something more because I still thought I was missing something—and I was! When the Gospel is not clearly preached and/or the preacher appeals to emotions without clearly explaining repentance and faith in Christ, then people can be deceived as to whether or not they are Christians.

    “Once Saved, Always Saved,” is a true statement for those whose confession of Jesus as Lord is real. I’ve heard the doctrine of true assurance labeled, “The Perseverance of the Saints” or “The Security of the Believer.” In His Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24, Jesus said, “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” The Bible holds forth to the assurance that those who come to Christ in repentance and faith are His and are kept by Him forever. It also teaches that we are to examine ourselves.

    I have some verses I want to post them here in case a reader who is unfamiliar with them can see them, but I need to run and I’ll do that later.

  3. INC says:

    Assurance:

    John 10:27–29:
    “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”

    If you read Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians there are many indications of changed lives that are the mark of a true conversion:

    1 Thessalonians 1:2–10:
    “We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father, knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you; for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything. For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.”

    Assurance was the purpose of John’s first letter:

    1 John 5:13:
    “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

    In giving reasons to provide true assurance in 1 John, not surprisingly for John, his main marker is the love of a Christian for other believers—the great command given by Jesus in John 13:34-35, 15:12-14 and 17:20-23. That means, of course, this marker also defines those who are not believers.

  4. INC says:

    An initial response can be deceptive:

    Matthew 13:18–23:
    “Hear then the parable of the sower.When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.”

    Examining ourselves:

    2 Corinthians 13:5-6:
    “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test? But I trust that you will realize that we ourselves do not fail the test.”

    2 Timothy 2:19:
    “Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.””

    There will be imposters who deceive for a time:

    Matthew 13:25–30:
    “Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves *said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ But he *said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’””

    1 John 2:18–19:
    “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.”

    1 John 4:1–3:
    “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.”

    Jude 4:
    “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”

  5. INC says:

    There are severe warnings in Hebrews, James, 2 Peter and Revelation. There are promises of mercy, grace and the Holy Spirit and the Lord Jesus to help us in John 14–16, Romans 8, Hebrews and 1 John. I’m sure I’ve missed some.

    I think we all need to hear God’s warnings and God’s promises at various times in our lives.

  6. RJ Dawson says:

    Great research into a timely topic, even though John Calvin is generally credited with bringing forth the idea of Unconditional Eternal Security almost 500 years ago.

    It is obvious in the teachings of Jesus and the apostles that some people walk with God for a while then drift away. John the Immerser was insistent that there is no salvation without the true mark of salvation – a repentant heart bringing forth the fruit of a repentant heart. The Lord speaks clearly of being born again and becoming an entirely new person with new desires and hopes. The Parable of the Sower, as you stated, speaks of those who believe for a while until persecution or the troubles of life lead them astray. I say all this as a warning to those who have become complacent in their Christianity. How can one possibly be complacent when spiritual war is taking place all around, and casualties are common? Unreal Christianity could possibly result in more lost souls than any other single cause.

    Please see my posts: “Beware the Tare: False Messiahs, False Apostles, False Prophets, and False Teachers,” and “One Fruit Two Fruit Good Fruit Bad Fruit.”

  7. lmmaservant says:

    Thanks Bob, I believe I am getting a better handle on who JESUS (Name above all Names) really IS. He Really IS GOD. Also, what HE expects of me….total, enduring, sacrificial, committment, an abiding faith and MUCH FRUIT, born of HIS LOVE.

    Blessings, don

  8. INC says:

    Let me state unequivocally that the New Testament clearly teaches that those who come to repentance and faith in Christ cannot lose their salvation.

    The parable of the Sower does not teach that those who believe in Jesus can leave the faith, but speaks of differing responses to the Gospel; the good soil are those who believe.

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