ODB: Not a Simple Story

June 1, 2016

READ: 2 Chronicles 16:7–14 

The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. 2 Chronicles 16:9

Life seems straightforward in the laws of the Old Testament. Obey God and get blessed. Disobey Him and expect trouble. It’s a satisfying theology. But is it that simple?

King Asa’s story seems to fit the pattern. He led his people away from false gods and his kingdom thrived (2 Chron. 15:1–19). Then late in his reign, he depended on himself instead of God (16:2–7) and the rest of his life was marked by war and illness (v. 12).

It’s easy to look at that story and draw a simple conclusion. But when the prophet Hanani warned Asa, he said that God will “strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (16:9). Why do our hearts need strengthening? Because doing the right thing may require courage and perseverance.

Job got the starring role in a cosmic tragedy. His crime? “He [was] blameless and upright” (Job 1:8). Joseph, falsely accused of attempted rape, languished in prison for years—to serve God’s good purposes (Gen. 39:19–41:1). And Jeremiah was beaten and put in stocks (Jer. 20:2). What was the prophet’s offense? Telling the truth to rebellious people (26:15).

Life is not simple, and God’s ways are not our ways. Making the right decision may come at a cost. But in God’s eternal plan, His blessings arrive in due time. 

— Tim Gustafson

Lord, thank You for the examples of courage and obedience in Your Word. Help us learn from their mistakes and from their wise choices, as we make our choice to serve You.

God helps those who depend on Him.  

Source: Our Daily Bread

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