Text: 2 Chronicles 14.
Delivered on: July 27, 2008. Streetsboro.
Jesus warned us that, in times of trial, some will fall away.
Matthew 13:20-21. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.
We see this happen quite often.
What can we do to stop this from happening to us?
Let’s look at an Old Testament example for an answer.
DURING TIMES OF PEACE – FORTIFY.
During times of prosperity, man has a bad habit of forgetting God.
God knew that this would be a problem for the children of Israel.
Deuteronomy 6:10-12. “So it shall be, when the LORD your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build, 11 houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant—when you have eaten and are full— 12 then beware, lest you forget the LORD who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
It seems to be unavoidable. When people are doing well, they forget God.
The wealthy and powerful… Exodus 5:2. And Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, nor will I let Israel go.”
1 Corinthians 1:26. For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.
Proverbs 30:8-9. Remove falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches—Feed me with the food allotted to me 9 Lest I be full and deny You, And say, “Who is the LORD?” Or lest I be poor and steal, And profane the name of my God.
During times of prosperity, man has a bad habit of getting too comfortable.
We saw that in this country’s history leading into WWII.
We tend to rest upon our past successes and get complacent.
Asa was not a complacent person.
2 Chronicles 14:2-8. 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. 8 And Asa had an army of three hundred thousand from Judah who carried shields and spears, and from Benjamin two hundred and eighty thousand men who carried shields and drew bows; all these were mighty men of valor.
Asa understood that peaceful times were not an excuse for complacency.
He used his time wisely and fortified the nation of Israel during a time of peace.
We must fortify our faith in times of peace.
We do that with Bible study.
Matthew 4:4. But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
Matthew 4:7. Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’”
Matthew 4:10. Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”
2 Timothy 2:15. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2 Timothy 3:16-17. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Acts 20:32. “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
We do that by fellowship with brethren. Hebrews 10:24-25. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
We do that by prayer. Ephesians 3:14-17. For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
TRIALS WILL COME.
It was a good thing that Asa had prepared. 2 Chronicles 14:9-10. 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.
It has been correctly said that Everyone is either going through a trial, coming out of a trial, or about to enter a trial.
2 Timothy 3:12. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
Matthew 5:11-12. “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
These trials will come in many forms.
Some will be persecution because of your faith.
Some will be random.
Loss of job.
Some will be problems we bring on ourselves.
How we deal with these trials depends on how we have prepared ourselves.
DURING TIMES OF TRIAL – TRUST IN GOD.
Even though Asa had prepared, he was still greatly outnumbered. He couldn’t do it alone.
He put his trust in God. 2 Chronicles 14:11. 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!”
We need to learn to lean on God when we face our trials.
Hebrews 11:6. But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
1 Corinthians 10:13. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
1 Peter 5:6-7. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
Too often, we try to rely on our own strength and wisdom. 1 Corinthians 10:12. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
Trials will come in our lives.
Let us strive to fortify our faith in times of rest.
Then when those times of trial come, we will trust in God and make it through.