Yesterday was a good day for me on many fronts. It was an honor to speak at the two services of the Church at Briargate in Colorado Springs. Some of my family members from Colorado Springs visited the second service. In the afternoon, we visited Seven Falls with Stephanie and the boys. I had the best endurance and energy that I have experienced in about a month, so I was pleased with that.
BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9 ESV
Games are won or lost in the “second half” or the final innings. I was recently watching a baseball game between the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros. The Yankees were ahead 6-3 in the bottom of the eight inning, and seemed to have the “game in hand.” The Astros scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth, to lead for the first time in the game and shut down the Yankees in the top of the ninth inning to win the game.
It was good news for the Astros and a sad defeat for the Yankees.
Spiritually, as much joy as their is in an individual turning to Christ after years of rejecting Him, it is equally sad to see those who had a heart for the Lord, only to turn cold and reject the faith of their family and that which they had followed for a large part of their life.
We see in scripture that this had been the challenge for those of all time. King Asa of Judah had done many noble deeds. When he was challenged to follow the Lord, he took courage and action. He removed idols and even the “Queen mother” from her position because of her idolatry. With the Lord’s help and through trusting in the Lord great victories were won against armies far greater than his own.
But then without explanation when facing a battle against the King of Israel, King Asa took silver and gold from the Temple to pay the King of Syria so he would break his treaty with Israel and Israel would stop the attack. When rebuked by the prophet for failing to trust in the Lord, Asa hardened his heart and even began to mistreat the people.
A few generations later we see King Uzziah becoming king at age 16. We read of his reforms and victories, “And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that his father Amaziah had done. He set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God, and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper.” (2 Chronicles 26:4,5 ESV)
But after a time, he forgot about the connection between his faithfulness to the Lord and the achievements he accomplished. We read, “But when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction.” (2 Chronicles 26:16 ESV)
King Uzziah became a leper and lived out his days in isolation, refusing to submit to the Lord and the admonitions of the prophets.
Victories at “the end” are exciting, loses are devastating and sad. We don’t know all of what was transpiring in these lives and in others who have a sudden turn and change in their hearts. We see for Uzziah it was pride. Perhaps that was the same for King Asa.
The challenge for us is to “not forget the God who made us” – and to remember that our true source of life and strength is found in the Lord.
Prayer for today….. Lord, allow us to be faithful to the end. Allow our hearts to be fully committed to You for and be found faithful to You at “the end.”