God's Strong Support - 2 Chronicles 16:9

Strong Support for Our Purpose

When we hear “You’re here for a purpose,” what do you think? Many people seem to think that it means that you are going to be accomplishing a pre-set list of things. What if, however, there is a broader meaning to purpose that can open up some powerful truths for living?

In 2 Chronicles 14-16 we meet a king of Judah who was a Godly king, Asa. He sought the Lord and he fought against the idolatry in his lands. Among the other events of Asa’s life, we see two battles that he fights. One, he fights with purpose and one he fights without it. The results? He wins both.

The first battle is Judah verses the Ethiopian army. Asa goes before the Lord and he asks for the Lord’s help and blessing. He acknowledges that they fully rely on the Lord for victory. The Lord gives them victory and much riches and spoil are collected from the army and the surrounding cities.

The next battle happens much later in Asa’s reign. After many years of peace, the king of Israel decides to cause trouble with Judah. Asa, being savvy, goes to their ally with a big army: Syria. He sends them money and asks them to break their treaty with Israel. Syria agrees and the ensuing fighting sends Israel packing back home. Asa comes in and takes over the land they had encroached on and gains all the spoils they left behind.

From an outside perspective, Asa won both battles and he gained material goods in both cases. Once cost some money and one cost a fight, but they both ended up in a way that benefited Asa and Judah. We can’t stop reading there though. The Lord wasn’t as pleased with the second outcome as the first one.

A seer comes to Asa with a message, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars.” (2 Chronicles 16:9 ESV) Asa’s reign that had years of peaceful living was now doomed to trouble. In fact, Asa ends up not putting the Lord first and ends up being cruel to his people and suffering from disease (vs. 10, 12).

Our purpose is to put God first and let Him take care of accomplishing what He sees is good for us.

Promise of Perfect Peace - Isaiah 26:3

Perfect Peace From Trusting the Rock

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock. – Isaiah 26:3-4 ESV

Isaiah 26 has a promise of perfect peace. That sure sounds nice, especially during one of the busiest times of year. As easy as it would be to simply say, “God promises me perfect peace! Yay!” There’s a couple things that need to be considered in this passage in addition to that.

There are two types of promises in the scriptures, unconditional promises and conditional promises. Unconditional promises are the ones that we don’t have to do anything to get and conditional promise are ones that requires something of us first. The easiest type of conditional promise to see is the “If you…, then God …” format. For example, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15 ESV). The “if’ section is clearly defined in that passage.

Other verses are conditional promises but don’t contain the word “if”. Isaiah 26:3 is an example of this. Yes, it promises us perfect peace, but there’s a condition to it. In order to receive the promise of perfect piece, first I must stay my mind on God, meaning I must keep my mind focused on God.

The second things this verse tells me is how to stay my mind. It’s easy to say I’m going to stay my mind on Him. Then as the day gets busy and the world starts trying to distract me, I wander and lost my focus. As my focus wanders away, so does my peace. Fortunately for me, God tells me how to keep my focus on Him: trust Him. The person who trusts God is able to keep their mind focused on God and will reap the benefit of perfect peace.

Merriam-Webster defines trust as, “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.” In order to have a firm belief in God’s reliability, truth, ability, or strength, we have to first know what His reliability, truth, ability, or strength are. We gain trust in God through two ways. One, we find it out through personal experience with Him. This can be different things in our lives, but many times it’s some kind of experience where we ask Him for something and we see the results. Because of that, we choose to have more trust in Him. The second way is through the scriptures. We see a promise in the Word and we choose to put our trust in it, even though we’ve personally not experienced it. For me, the second way is much harder but reaps much greater benefit when I do it.

I wish that this was a one-time process. Instead, this process is cyclical. Once you’ve started trusting in Him, you begin to reap the promises. Then, because you’ve seen the blessings, you begin to trust Him deeper and the promises become more real. This process of trusting more and reaping more continues for our whole lives. Our relationship with God should never be static or boring. God is always calling us deeper in and blessing us more and more. Verse 4 of Isaiah 26 says, “Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.” The stability of God compared to the ups and downs of life is like waves against a rock. God never moves or budges, no matter how much we do and no matter how much life throws at us. We can trust Him forever and stay our mind on Him, because He is a rock today and always.