Passion without action is just poetry. 2 Chronicles outlines many stories of the kings of Judah who embraced their passion with decrees and actions which directly affected their citizens. Consider King Asa’s rule:
Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God,
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. He commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers, and to observe the law and the commandment. ( 2 Chron. 14: 2-4)
Early in his reign, King Asa witnessed God’s supernatural rescue. When a million Ethiopians marched against Judah, he cried out to God:
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!” ( 2 Chron. 14:11).
Mercifully the Lord Himself fought the Ethiopians and the broken army were chased out of Judah with an mighty show of supernatural force. as God declared, “Not on My Watch!”:
So the LORD struck the Ethiopians before Asa and Judah, and the Ethiopians fled. And Asa and the people who were with him pursued them to Gerar. So the Ethiopians were overthrown, and they could not recover, for they were broken before the LORD and His army. And they carried away very much spoil. Then they defeated all the cities around Gerar, for the fear of the LORD came upon them; and they plundered all the cities, for there was exceedingly much spoil in them.They also attacked the livestock enclosures, and carried off sheep and camels in abundance, and returned to Jerusalem (2 Chron. 14: 12-15).
In King Asa’s fifteenth year, the Prophet Azariah came to the King and challenged the king:
The LORD is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. For a long time Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law; but when in their trouble they turned to the LORD God of Israel, and sought Him, He was found by them. And in those times there was no peace to the one who went out, nor to the one who came in, but great turmoil was on all the inhabitants of the lands.So nation was destroyed by nation, and city by city, for God troubled them with every adversity. But you, be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded!
King Asa heard the prophecy and took courage. He implemented a national reform by removing all idolatry from the land. Then King Asa gathered Judah to Jerusalem to renew covenant with Almighty God. After sacrificing seven hundred bulls and seven thousand sheep, Judah entered back into a worshipful relationship with God:
Then they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul; and whoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. Then they took an oath before the LORD with a loud voice, with shouting and trumpets and rams’ horns. And all Judah rejoiced at the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and sought Him with all their soul; and He was found by them, and the LORD gave them rest all around (2 Chron. 15:12-15).
Note the issue of covenant begins in the heart. They swore with all their hearts. They promised to seek God with all their hearts and He was found by them.
Thirty years later, Israel amassed an army against Judah with the brutal threat of civil war, Asa removed gold and silver from the Lord’s House and purchased protection from Syria against Israel instead of seeking God’s help. In fear and faithlessness, Asa disavowed his loyalty to God as the Protector of Judah, despite the incredible victories God had given both him and his father with Israel in the past (see 2 Chron. 13 for his father’s battle story).
When Asa turned to Syria for a military alliance, I expect his heart for God had turned as well. When a prophet carried a word of correction to challenge the king’s choice, he was thrown in jail. The remainder of King Asa’s life were marked by loss, disease, “And in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa became diseased in his feet, and his malady was severe; yet in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but the physicians. So Asa rested with his fathers; he died in the forty-first year of his reign”(2 Chron.16:12-13).
When King David surrendered the plans of the temple to his son Solomon, he prayed that Solomon would have a perfect heart, a heart of peace with God and wholeness therein. David had discovered the office of king required a heart loyal to God. From there, all good governance flowed. Thus David charged Solomon:
As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.
Solomon began his rule gloriously, but like Asa finished his rulership disconnected to Almighty God and plagued by idolatry. The difference between righteous rule and vain governance rests in the heart of a king before his God.
The Hebrew word for loyal is often translated as perfect. The Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon translates loyalty, or shalem as: complete, safe, peaceful, perfect, whole, full, at peace, complete, full, perfect,finished,safe, unharmed,peace (of covenant of peace, mind), perfect, complete (of keeping covenant relation).Vines Complete Expository of Old and New Testament Words suggests shalem relates to obedience and walking out a loyal relationship.
Loyalty means living in peace before God, a heart condition of dependence and expectation upon God which in live time looks like submission, surrender and expectation in the God who loves us. Whether king, priest, prophet or son, “the eyes of the Lord are roaming to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are loyal to Him”. Loyalty begins with a heart that trusts the covenant of peace God offers to everyone He calls His own. Loyalty walks with feet in righteous ways and lives in love with our God. May each of us finish well, not like Asa or Solomon, but like our Lord, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, that we too, may carry one and follow Him.
Let’s Pray: Father God, we choose to walk, live, serve and excel in this covenant of peace which You offer with such kindness. Anchor us to Your heart of love, Lord, that You may show Yourself strong on our behalf. Search our hearts, Holy Spirit, and see if there be any anxious way within us and lead us into repentance and freedom once again. We choose to be loyal to You, Lord God Almighty by the power of Your Grace. We cry out, Lord Jesus, that Your peace would guard our hearts this day and fight the fear that seeks to dominate. By Your Love, in Your Power and through Your Spirit, keep us obedient and trusting in You, this day and every day. Amen
This Week’s Reading: 2 Chronicles 10-20
Next Week’s Reading: 2 Chronicles 20 – Ezra 1
- When have you walked in loyalty to God? What was the outcome?
- When have you betrayed your God and walked in fear and faithlessness? What was the outcome?
- How do you guard your heart?
- Do you have great expectations in God?
- When conflict comes, do you pray or war or both?
Strong, J. (1996). The exhaustive concordance of the Bible : Showing every word of the text of the common English version of the canonical books, and every occurrence of each word in regular order. (electronic ed.) (H8003). Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship.
Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W. (1996). Vine's complete expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words (1:44). Nashville: T. Nelson.