They Quit Relying Upon God 2 Chr. 16: 7 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
One of the most tragic things you find when reading the chronicles of the kings of Judah is that they quit relying on God. Many of them started out very humbly relying upon the Lord. But toward the end of their reigns, they quit seeking the Lord. We are going to examine the apparent reasons for their reliance upon other things besides the Lord. This study should instruct us to look out for these pitfalls in our own lives. They quit relying on God because:
For Solomon, it was his wives who turned away his heart – 1 Ki 11:3 – The Lord appeared to Solomon twice, because Solomon loved the Lord [1 Ki 3:3]. The Lord gave Solomon a wise and understanding heart when he appeared to him the first time [1 Ki 3:12]. And he assured Solomon that he answered his prayer of dedication when he appeared to him the second time [1 Ki 9:3-9]. But when he appeared to him the second time, the Lord warned Solomon to walk in his statutes. Solomon followed the Lord most of his life. But toward the end, his wives turned his heart away from the Lord and encouraged him to follow other gods [1 Ki 11:4-10]. Don’t marry a woman who is not a God-fearing woman. And if you have already married one who isn’t, don’t follow her if she tries to turn your heart away from following God.
For Asa, it was easier to rely upon an ally – 2 Chr 16:1-3 – Asa started his reign following the Lord [2 Chr 14:2-5]. When he was attacked by the Ethiopians and was outnumbered 2:1, he cried unto the Lord for help and the Lord helped him [2 Chr 14:11-12]. Azariah the prophet encouraged him to keep seeking the Lord [2 Chr 15:1-8]. However, late in the 36th year of his 41 year reign, Baasha built Ramah in Judah to stop the flow of traffic between Israel and Judah. Asa, instead of relying upon God, sent silver and gold to the King of Syria and asked him to attack Baasha, which he did [2 Chr 16:1-3]. So God sent Hanani to prophesy against Asa for this [2 Chr 16:7-9]. Asa’s life ended totally out of fellowship with the Lord. He died from a miserable disease [2 Chr 16:12]. No matter how wealthy you become, no matter how successful you are, no matter how influential your friends may be, no matter how good your doctors are, never trust these things or these people more than you trust God. Rely upon the Lord, seek the Lord first and then ask for your friends’ help only as the Lord directs you.
For Jehoshaphat, it was an agreement with the ungodly – 2 Chr 19:2 – Jehoshaphat was a very good king [2 Chr 17:3-4]. But he joined affinity with Ahab [2 Chr 18:1], meaning he married Ahab’s sister. Without going into a lot of detail, these two kings tried to reunite Israel and Judah. So, when Ahab wined and dined Jehoshaphat [2 Chr 18:2], Jehoshaphat agreed to help Ahab try to recover Ramothgilead. He was nearly killed in this attempt and Ahab was killed [2 Chr 18:31-34]. How foolish of Jehoshaphat. Notice that when Moab, Ammon and Mt. Seir attacked Judah, Jehoshaphat sought the Lord and the Lord helped him [2 Chr 20]. Nevertheless, he still remained united with Israel [2 Chr 20:36-37]. Thus, the Lord destroyed what they tried to do together. You and I cannot make these kinds of agreements with the ungodly [2 Cor 6:14-18]. We are to come out from among them and be separate.
For Joash, it was listening to the wrong counsel – 2 Chr 24:16-22 – Joash was only seven years old when he came to the throne [2 Chr 24:1]. And as long as Jehoiada the priest was alive, Joash did right in the sight of the Lord [2 Chr 24:2]. He ordered that the temple be repaired after the sons of Athaliah had broken up the house of God [2 Chr 24:6-7]. But when Jehoiada died, the princes made obeisance to the king and he was persuaded by them to leave the house of the Lord. You’d better stay in the “house of God” with God’s people and not get flattered by the world’s folks into following them. They will cause you to quit relying upon the Lord.
For Uzziah, it was relying upon his own strength and resources – 2 Chr 26:16 – Uzziah started out to be a great king [2 Chr 26:4-5]. God helped him [2 Chr 26:7]. After victories against his enemies, he “strengthened himself exceedingly,” [2 Chr 26:8]. He built up his army, he improved his defenses, and he invented better artillery and ordnance [2 Chr 26:9-15]. It was his reliance upon his strength that caused him to lift up his heart to his destruction. You’d better seek God’s grace for your strength [2 Cor 12:9-10]. Self-reliance will be your downfall.
Conclusion: look at what turned these kings’ hearts away from following the Lord. Following your wife when she’s wrong, trusting men instead of God, getting into a yoke with unbelievers, being persuaded by worldly friendships, or relying upon your own strength will ruin your relationship with the Lord and your reliance upon him. Take heed lest these same things bring you down.