Offbeat #20 - Asa

To round out advent season, we look today at one more offbeat ancestor of the Messiah. Last week, when I wrote about Jehoshaphat, I mentioned that he carried on the religious reforms that were started by his father, King Asa. Today, I want to look at the moment that inspired Asa to seek out God and his ways once again.

Asa wasn’t necessarily raised in an environment of shalom (i.e., peace, wholeness). In fact, under the leadership of his father and grandfather the united kingdom of Israel fractured and eventually split in two. This division was driven primarily by pride and idolatry. Asa himself seems to have been inclined toward the Lord, at least seeking his help in battle against aggressors. It was, however, a direct word from God, spoken through the prophet Azariah, that spurred Asa into high-geared pursuit of God.

2 Chronicles 15:1-4 tells us, “The Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded, and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, ‘Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin (the tribes under Asa’s rule): The Lord is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. For a long time Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest and without law, but when in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them.’”

What I love about this word is that it’s clear that prior unfaithfulness doesn’t disqualify someone from finding God again. I think that sometimes we feel we have to earn God’s favor before we can be in a “good place” with him again. I used to have moments of longing for God, but then discouragement because I hadn’t read the Bible in awhile. Surely, I needed to get in a good rhythm again for God to be pleased with me. Sin patterns can have an even stronger effect. We can feel we need a few months of good behavior built up before we seek God. God’s word to Asa teaches us differently, “If you seek him, he will be found by you.” Of course, God wants us to live in freedom from sin, and of course, he wants us to consistently read his word, but the only qualifier for finding God is seeking him.

This falls in line completely with the gospel. We believe that Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection accomplished all the prerequisites required for relationship with him. Jesus says that to find him, we need only ask, seek, and knock. The enemy wants to use shame to keep us from going to God, but “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). To find Jesus, you need only to seek him. This doesn’t meant the response will be instant, but he will be found by those who seek. Jeremiah puts it this way, “you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13). Once again, this isn’t about earning. God won’t respond, “oh, you’re only seeking me with 85% of your heart, so I’m not talking to you.” Jeremiah is speaking instead of the quality of our pursuit. Is it genuine? We could summarize all this by saying, “Those who have a sincere desire for God and are willing to seek him out, will find him.”

At advent we remember a savior who doesn’t require us to jump through hoops to find him, but rather one who came to us; a savior who doesn’t require us to make ourselves faultless, but one who washes us clean; a savor who satisfied all the requirements so that all that is left for us is to turn, to seek, and to find.

Sean's Picks

Baby Son - This week I'm recommending some more Christmas music. This song and video by John Mark McMillan does a beautiful job of capturing the upside down nature of God's method of bringing salvation into the world. 

Missions Spotlight:
The Hoops

We are all doing good. Theo and Kate are well and the girls are loving their baby brother. We're really glad that everyone is staying healthy.

As a result of some changes on our field, we are now stepping into the role of Field Director couple. So, please pray with us as we wait upon the Lord and His wisdom and guidance.

One of our recently ordained local pastors is now taking the leadership role at Mosaic. This is a really great step forward. In a way, we are handing over Mosaic to the local church. Kate and I will still be involved, but we want our local pastors to take the primary leadership role.

We are so grateful to you all for your partnership. May the Lord continue to be with you in these unique times.

Jeff and Kate Hoops
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