Transformation Garden - Aug. 22, 2012

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Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:

“The Lord is good to those who wait hopefully and expectantly for Him, to those who seek Him, inquire of and for Him and require Him by right of necessity and on the authority of God’s Word! It is good that one should hope in and wait quietly for the salvation (safety and ease) of the Lord.”
Lamentations 3: 25, 26
Amplified Bible

“One of the greatest strains in life is the strain of waiting for God. God takes the saint like a bow which He stretches; we get to a certain point and say, ‘I cannot stand any more; but God goes on stretching. He is not aiming at our mark, but at His own, and the patience of the saints is that we hold on until He lets the arrow fly straight to His goal. If we are willing to remember God’s call and assurance there need be no strain at all while we are waiting.”
Oswald Chambers

Today’s Study Text:

“And Asa did right in the eyes of the Lord, as did David his forefather.”
1 Kings 15: 11
Amplified Bible

EXPLORATION:

If You Talk The Talk – You’d Better Walk The Walk”

“Oh, study your hearts, watch your hearts, keep your hearts!”
John Flavel

What do I think it means to have a blameless heart?

“Neither prayer, nor praise, nor the hearing of the word will be profitable to those who have left their hearts behind them.”
C. H. Spurgeon

INSPIRATION:

“Yet Asa’s heart was blameless with the Lord all his days.”
1 Kings 15: 14
Amplified Bible

Our study text today, found in 1 Kings 15: 14, is like a beacon of light in a totally dark night. We find that one king after another, in both the northern and southern portions of the kingdom of Israel, defied God; disobeyed His commands; and certainly disregarded His word.

And then, along comes good King Asa, as he is referred to and he takes over on the throne of Judah. We are told that he, “did as David his forefather.”

Asa’s story shows each of us that even when confronted with society’s disobedience of God’s commands, we are not only called by God to live blameless lives, but what’s more, we can also be witnesses within our circle of contacts, including our families.

During Asa’s 41-year reign, 1 Kings 15: 10 gives us this piece of information. The Queen Mother, named Maacah, daughter of Abishalom, had a private stash of idols that were in her possession. She even had a private grove where her idol was placed.

When King Asa began to unite the people of Judah under the banner of the God of heaven and earth, we are told he, “put away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made, First Kings 15:12.” This took great courage on Asa’s part. As a young man, he stood up to the many years of idolatry engrained in the lives of the people of Judah and even within his own palace walls.

But Asa didn’t stop by just turning his own back on the idolatry so prevalent in both Judah and Israel. He also informed Maachah, the queen mother, that action was going to be taken and her idols had to go, too. 1 Kings 15: 13 tells us, “He (Asa) removed (her) from being queen mother, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron.” This act brings us to the core characteristic found in the lives of many of the kings in Israel and Judah.

While revenge was one of the most destructive qualities present in the lives of the kings of Israel and Judah, the characteristic of hypocrisy easily ranked second. The word hypocrisy means that you act like you possess certain abilities or attributes but in actual life, you do not reflect or ‘live out’ the behavior you pretend to have.

Jesus had quite a lot to say about hypocritical behavior, especially to the Pharisee’s who were coated with a veneer of hypocritical actions. In Matthew 23: 25, 26, Jesus had this rebuke for the religious paragons of piety in His world when He said, “How terrible for you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You clean the outside of your cup and plate, while the inside is full of what you have gotten by violence and selfishness…Clean what is inside the cup first, and then the outside will be clean too!”

If we look at king after king, their lives did not match up at all with the fact that they were supposedly the chosen leaders of God’s children. In the Greek, the word hypocrite means, “acting under an assumed character,” and this is exactly what these kings did. The result was a besmirching of God’s name and character. God’s reputation took a terrible beating! What if you lived under the rulership of the “supposed” representation of God and you were forced to watch as these leaders lived lives of debauchery.  How would you have felt?

David described this falseness represented by the human heart in this way, “They do but flatter with their lips, and dissemble in their double heart” (Psalm 12: 2, B.C.P.).

I love the fact that even in this hive of falsity, the Bible states: “Yet, nevertheless,” King Asa’s heart was totally committed in service to God. Just because there was a history of hypocrites as kings, didn’t mean that Asa had to go along with the crowd.

But there’s even more to King Asa’s story. Author Amy Vanderbilt, in her guide entitled, “New Complete Book of Etiquette,” calls a hypocrite an individual who has “one face to the world, another at home.” And she ends her observations by reflecting on the fact that behavior such as this, “makes for misery.”

This is why King Asa was such a stand-out during a time when idolatry was the religion of choice. When under his own roof, he found the Queen-Mother, Maachah, worshipping her idol hidden in a grove, not only was her title revoked, but the king personally sent a message to all his subjects: “I’m no phony. I’m not going to be hypocritical. Idol worship won’t happen under my roof, either.” Asa, himself, destroyed this family heirloom! No wonder the Biblical report on Asa was, “his heart was perfect with the Lord all his days.”

In describing hypocritical behavior, the great preacher, Jonathon Edwards said, “If we make a great show of respect and love to God, in the outwards actions, while there is no sincerity in the heart, it is but hypocrisy and practical lying unto the Holy One…To pretend to such respect and love, when it is not felt in the heart, is to act as if we thought we could deceive God.”

Throughout the 41-year reign of Asa, it wasn’t what he said which was a reflection of who he was -- it was what he did! He maintained a steadfast devotion to God. His actions spoke louder than his words. As Thomas Fuller expressed, “Virtue dwells not in the tongue but in the heart.”  And in 1 Kings 15: 14, we are reminded that King Asa’s heart, “was in the right place, in tune with God” (1 Kings 15: 14, The Message Bible).

“Lord, we Thy presence seek;
May ours this blessing be;
Give us a pure and lowly heart,
A temple meet for Thee.”
John Keble

AFFIRMATION:

“The more we appropriate God into our lives the more progress we make on the road of Christian godliness and holiness.”
Madame Guyon

“If only I possessed the grace, good Jesus, to be utterly at one with You! Amidst all the variety of worldly things around me, Lord, the only thing I crave is unity with You. You are all my soul needs. Unite, dear friend of my heart, this unique little soul of mine to Your perfect goodness. You are all mine; when shall I be Yours? Lord Jesus, my beloved, be the magnet of my heart; clasp, press, unite me for ever to Your sacred heart. You have made me for Yourself; make me one with You. Absorb this tiny drip of life into the ocean of goodness whence it came.”
Francis de Sales
1567-1622

Your friend,

Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
Dorothy@TransformationGarden.com

P.S. Just to let you know, Transformation Garden is now on FACEBOOK. Please come and see us and share the garden with your friends. The Daily Devotional is posted everyday, Monday through Friday on Facebook, too. 

My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, and www.Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian.  You may also call Transformation Garden at 480-281-1508. 

For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.

 
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