Friday, August 21, 2009

Is Victory Achieved Or Received? (2)

In my previous post, I shared with you my personal experience of receiving victory but we must base our belief on the truth found in the bible, and not personal experience though our experience confirms the truth.

In 2 Chronicles chapters 14 to 16, we see two contrasting victories experienced in the life of King Asa of Judah; one victory was received while the other was achieved.

In 2 Chron 14:8, we read that King Asa had a well-equipped army of 300,000 brave fighting men but when Zerah the Cushite led his army to attack Judah (v9), King Asa did not rely on his military strength; instead, we see in v11 that King Asa prayed to God, relying on God for deliverance and most importantly, King Asa saw that the Cushites were coming not just against his people but in reality also against God Himself - "Then Asa called to the LORD his God and said, "LORD, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. O LORD, you are our God; do not let man prevail against you.""

After King Asa handed the battle over to God, he received his victory - "12 The LORD struck down the Cushites before Asa and Judah. The Cushites fled, 13 and Asa and his army pursued them as far as Gerar. Such a great number of Cushites fell that they could not recover; they were crushed before the LORD and his forces. The men of Judah carried off a large amount of plunder. 14 They destroyed all the villages around Gerar, for the terror of the LORD had fallen upon them. They plundered all these villages, since there was much booty there. 15 They also attacked the camps of the herdsmen and carried off droves of sheep and goats and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem." (2 Chron 14:12-15)

However, King Asa did not just receive victory for this one battle, in fact he received much more than that: 2 Chron 15:1-2 -"1 The Spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded. 2 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. "

King Asa, encouraged by God's promise, destroyed all the idols in his land and repaired the altar of the LORD. He led his people to enter "into a covenant to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul. They sought God eagerly, and he was found by them. So the LORD gave them rest on every side." (2 Chron 15:12,15)

God gave King Asa and his people rest for twenty years for "there was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of Asa's reign." (2 Chron 15:19) What happened after the thirty-fifth year of Asa's reign?

In the thirty-sixth year of King Asa's reign, Baasha King of Israel laid siege on Judah; he "fortified Ramah to prevent anyone from leaving or entering the territory of Asa king of Judah. " (2 Chron 16:1)

This time, instead of relying on God for victory, King Asa tried to achieve his own victory by entering into a treaty with a heathen king. King Asa gave silver and gold from the treasuries of the LORD's temple to Ben-Hadad king of Aram, asking him to break his treaty with Baasha king of Israel. Ben-Hadad agreed and sent commanders to attack all the store cities of Naphtali, so Baasha had no choice but to abandon Ramah and return to Israel. "Then King Asa brought all the men of Judah, and they carried away from Ramah the stones and timber Baasha had been using. With them he built up Geba and Mizpah." (2 Chron 16:6)

It seems that King Asa won, doesn't it? He was even able to build up two cities with the stones and timber that Baasha left behind at Ramah. However, this was not a true victory as King Asa had to pay a heavy price for it: 2 Chron 16:7-9 - "At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him: "Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the LORD your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand. Were not the Cushites and Libyans a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horsemen? Yet when you relied on the LORD, he delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.""

King Asa received his victory over the Cushites from the LORD and he had peace for twenty years but he achieved his "victory" over Baasha using his own means and lost the peace he had enjoyed for twenty years. In fact, three years later, in the thirty-ninth of his reign he was afflicted with a severe disease in his feet but "even in his illness he did not seek help from the LORD, but only from the physicians" and he died in the forty-first year of his reign. (2 Chron 16:12-13)

Is it easy to receive victory? Yes and No.

Yes, because victory is sure and complete since it is God who gives you the victory and hence He does ALL the work.

No, because we have to rest to receive victory and our default mode is we want to work. Like what King Asa did against Baasha, we naturally want to be doing something, and sometimes in our desperation to get out of a sticky situation, even anything, just to see a slight change in our circumstances.

Many of us tend to look to God as a last resort; we seek His help only after we have tried to do something about our situation and later realized that there is nothing more we can do. Let us change our mindset and look to God as a FIRST resort from now on.

Let us receive victory. Amen?


Kat said...

Amen! Thank you for this wonderful reminder. Let us labour to enter the rest...:)

Angie said...

Amen! Bro, your post just gave me a mini revelation on 'works of the law' & 'works of faith' that i'm 'working' on.

In 'doing good', we can 'employ' the works of faith anytime.

But in resolving problems, we should always seek REST first. ;)

Nevermind if you dun understand :p a part of my revelation. will articulate it on my blog when i've gathered more 'revelations' ;p

tks anyway! :D