Week 40 Let’s Choose the With-God Life!

By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell (Guest Blogger)

Week 40

Scripture Readings: 2 Chronicles 11-15

Key Scripture Verses: 15:1-3 (NIV, Life Application Bible)

“The Spirit of God came on Azariah son of Oded. He went out to meet Asa and said to him, ‘Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.”

In our scripture readings for today, we read that Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, has become king of Israel. He is greedy and uses poor judgment, so he ends up with a divided kingdom. He continues to rule the southern kingdom while his enemy Jeroboam has been established over the northern kingdom. We read of successive years of fighting among the two kingdoms as the sons of Solomon each take their turn at the throne, die, and eventually Asa becomes king by succession of his father Abijah. Up until now all of the Solomon’s sons who succeeded him to the throne were mostly wicked and worshiped idols, although the book does give Abijah some credit for challenging Jeroboam for his low standards in choosing priests.

In any case, in chapter 14 we find the southern kingdom under the rule of Asa who is now the king of Judah. And 2 Chronicles 14:2 says that “Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God.” He removed all of the symbols and altars to foreign gods and removed the idols and incense altars that were not of God. And God gave the people of Judah rest and peace in their land.

Finally, God’s people in Judah listened and for a while did what was right before God with Asa’s leadership. The commentary in the NIV, Life Application Bible says that Asa spent time with people who trusted God and had a relationship with God and welcomed their advice. Azariah advised them that if they kept in regular contact with God and were faithful in worship to him, he would give them wise counsel in dealing with their enemies and warned them not to turn away from God as the northern kingdom had done and that they would bring evil consequences upon themselves if they did.

As you can see, the message given here in the key verse is one that is repeated in the New Testament. Those who seek God will find him. If you forsake God, he will forsake you.

Historically in the Old Testament God’s people waxed and waned in their devotion and faith. At least for this time period under Asa’s reign there was some peace and some devotion and worship of God.

The message is that God is always there waiting for us to accept his love and his favor. He loves us and wants so much to give us peace, to give us rest, to shower his abundance on us. We need only to accept it and to live on his terms which are all about loving one another—isn’t that something we would want?

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)

“For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:8)

His call to us is not for a passive affirmation but for active devotion, active relationship. We can have an ongoing relationship with God himself which he has initiated. God wants you and me to be in a loving relationship with him—it’s such an awesome idea that we have heard so many times, I wonder if we can even fathom it. Do we even understand what that actually means?

I hope I’m beginning to understand this and that when life gets tough, I will remember not to try to handle things on my own, but to seek his wisdom, to seek his comfort, to seek his love. He’s waiting for me to do that. And you, too. Let’s choose the With-God Life!

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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