June 4 | Daily Devotion

June 4 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a complete reading of the passage

Lectio Semi-continua: a shorter reading of the passage

Lectio Divina

In today’s reading, Judah (the southern kingdom) is portrayed as the more faithful of the divided kingdoms. Jeroboam, the king of the north, had so thoroughly rejected God that the priests of the Lord fled his lands. Men abandoned their own inheritance to move to Jerusalem in Judah’s territory to carry out their work leading the community in worship. Since Judah did not forsake the Lord, He does not forsake them. God gives them victory in battle.

When Asa is crowned king, he is commended for his faithfulness to God. He deposes his idol-building grandmother (1 Kings 15:13), smashes idols, and relies on God for victory in battle. “There is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you” (2 Chron. 14:11). What faith! And God does indeed bless the king and grant him victory. Asa came to the throne during a period of conflict and moral decline. Crime was up, wars were raging, and false religions were proliferating as the true faith descended into decay. Asa’s bold action leads the people to seek the Lord, and, in return, God grants him peace and blessing (see 2 Chronicles 15:1-7).

But as is so often the case, as Asa ages, he relies more and more on his wealth, experience, and power. He has become a great strategist, so in battle, rather than praying, he maneuvers. There’s nothing wrong with political and military strategy; we should indeed prepare the horse on the day of battle. The problem is that Asa totally leaves God out of the picture, relying solely on his own skill. When he sickens in his old age, he relies solely on expert physicians rather than looking to the Lord for healing. Again, it is good to seek medical care, but one can (and should) do so while also seeking the Lord. The Lord is the one who heals, even if He uses doctors and medicine.

It is in this context that we find one of the most memorable lines about God in Scripture. It is one of my favorites. “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chron. 16:9).   I love that. Asa knew it, and lived it, early in his life. The Chronicler’s theological statement is intended to encourage the exiled community (and all of us) to rely on God for victory and blessing! God is looking for someone to do awesome things for. He wants to help. But He wants to find someone who says, “God, I trust you. I know you are great, and I know you can do whatever you want. Even though I’m working hard and doing my best, I know that blessing comes from you. Bless me!” That’s the kind of person God delights in helping. May the Lord see you in your need and bless you with victory and strength!

Lectio Divina  is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the Senior Pastor of  Calvary Church  in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of  A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.