How Will You Finish?

How Will You Finish? Loving God, part XVI

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Have you ever thought about how your life will end? Not how you will die, but on what terms you will be with God when you finish the race. Do you assume that you’ll always walk closely with God?

I’m just being curious, not that I expect anyone to answer these questions, but I wonder about people and how they ponder their future. Why is it that people can be on fire for God today, but fall from the faith later?

I can relate to this, this has happened to me. I can look back and see times that I was committed to God, other times that I was far from God, and for much of my life, I was lukewarm. I’m just sort of fascinated by it I suppose.

What got me thinking about this subject is reading about the Judean kings and how the Bible sheds light on their relationship with God.

Have you read about King Asa?

What I find really fascinating is that if you were to use the book of 1 and 2 Kings to base your opinion on the spiritual lives of these kings alone, you would not have an accurate picture.

This week I’d just like to consider the life of King Asa.

This is what 1 Kings has to say:

1 Kings 15: 11 Asa did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, as his ancestor David had done.

and

1 Kings 15: 14 Although the pagan shrines were not removed, Asa’s heart remained completely faithful to the Lord throughout his life.

Sounds great right? Makes you want to name your child after him, which some have done.

Now let’s read the account from 2 Chronicles:

The beginning of King Asa’s reign

2 Chronicles 14: 2  Asa did what was pleasing and good in the sight of the Lord his God.

The end of King Asa’s reign

2 Chronicles 16: 7 At that time Hanani the seer came to King Asa and told him, “Because you have put your trust in the king of Aram instead of in the Lord your God, you missed your chance to destroy the army of the king of Aram.

10 Asa became so angry with Hanani for saying this that he threw him into prison and put him in stocks. At that time Asa also began to oppress some of his people.

12 In the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa developed a serious foot disease. Yet even with the severity of his disease, he did not seek the Lord’s help but turned only to his physicians.

What really happened?

What we have here is an apparent contradiction. I think the author of 1 Kings simply did not know about Asa’s relationship with God near the end of his life. The Chronicles’ author must have had more historical texts at his disposal (Or the Holy Spirit) in order to write his account.

Doesn’t this make you pause to think about what happened to King Asa? How did someone that had a great walk with God earlier in their life end up like he did? You should read the full accounts in 1 Kings 15 and in 2 Chronicles 14-16.

May it be said about our lives as Paul said about his:

2 Timothy 4: 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.

“Dear Lord, You are the author of my life and my future is in your hands. Please help me know you more. I believe if I knew you better, you will teach me how I can trust in you more. Thank you in advance for what you will do in my life. I am excited about my future with you.  In Jesus Name, Amen”

 

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2 comments

  1. John Brown

    Some Thoughts on How Will You Finish?
    By
    John W. Brown

    Dear Brother Larry

    In a recent post you on King Asa you asked or wondered how someone could go from loving and being on fire for God to later falling away and wanting nothing to do with Him. I would like to try and answer that by looking at another man who did exactly that King Solomon who went from a worshiper of God who built the temple for God at Jerusalem to a person who worships many gods and pursues a life of hedonism and pleasuring self to ultimately returning back to God again. How can the wisest man in the world do this and produce a fool Rehoboam for a son. So with your permission I would like to proceed with this thought. If you like feel free to share or use in your next post.

    I. The Start of King Solomon’s Reign
    In the beginning when King Solomon becomes king upon the death of his father King David he is really close to God. In II Chronicles 1:8-12 God appears to Solomon in a dream and tells him he can have whatever wants. So Solomon asks for wisdom on how to rule the people which pleases God, God then also grants wisdom, riches, and honor more than any other kings who preceded him or would come after him. Thus he became the wisest man to have ever lived. Later after the dedication of the temple in II Chronicles 7:12-22 God again appears to Solomon and says he has heard his prayer and will do what Solomon has asked Him to do. So how does Solomon go from this promising beginning to a backslider who worships many gods and infuriates the true God?

    II. King Solomon Turns From God

    In I Kings 1:1-13 we read that Solomon loved many foreign women who turn his heart from God. They get him to worship and offer sacrifices to their gods and to build temples for his wives to worship their gods in all of whom were abominations in the eyes of the Lord. Solomon should have ever married foreigners and if he did not allow them to build their temples or entice Solomon to worship their gods. Here it seems to me that he put pleasing his wives before pleasing God. In the book of Ecclesiastes we see him pursuing a life of pleasure without regard to God until the King comes to the conclusion that it’s all vanity. At this point in his life King Solomon has only things that interest him pleasing his many wives and pleasuring himself. Thus he is drawn away from God and the love he had for Him at first.

    In Matthew 13:22 Jesus says there are people who receive the word among thorns and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches chokes out the word and it produces no fruit. This how I believe we can go from being an onfire lover of God to one who is backslidden and indifferent to God. We let all the cares of the world going to work, taking care of our family, paying the bills, getting food to eat and shelter for us to live in, getting a paycheck etc. to consume us with worry and cloud our vision of God. Then we look at the riches of the world and what money can buy then we think if I can just make money get all the things I want that will make me happy and comes to become our god rather than the true God. All of the things I have mentioned are good and needed but its how we go about obtaining them that is important. In Matthew 6 Jesus gives a list of all the things that the Gentiles and people of the world seek after but then says

    “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

    This is I believe is the key to victory and finishing our race successfully. I have a 50 year track record of following the Lord and always trying to seek after Him. Thought not always successful and at times either angry or indifferent to God yet on the whole my life has been one dedicated to God, seeking Him and looking forward to the day I cross over and meet Him face to face. As long as we seek Him, His kingdom and His will to do it I believe we will succeed and spend eternity with in heaven.

    III. King Solomon’s Ending

    We have seen Solomon start as a devoted follower of God to what most would consider a backslidden state where he becomes indifferent to God as he seeks after other things. However he does not stay there. I believe he returns back to God. In Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 King Solomon concludes the book by saying
    “Fear God and keep his commandments. For this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil”.
    This I see is how to be successful by fearing God and remembering there is a coming day of judgment when only that which is done for Christ will last everything else will be destroyed. (See I Corinthians 3:12-17).

    Pray you enjoyed this and I have given you further food for thought and understanding on the topic which by the way was a great article that I enjoyed. Look forward to hearing from you and seeing you on the call Monday

    John Brown

    1. Larry Pittman

      Thank you, Brother John, I will use this! See you on the call!

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