Thursday, May 31, 2012

finishing poorly

Then Asa was angry with the seer and put him in the stocks in prison, for he was in a rage with him because of this. And Asa inflicted cruelties upon some of the people at the same time.
2 Chronicles 16:10

Many leaders in the Old Testament start promisingly but do not end well. Asa unfortunately continues that trend. At issue was the way in which he handled an incursion by Israel. The Northern Kingdom was building a city blocking a travel route north of Judah. Asa used political pressure and bribery with Syria to exert pressure on Israel to stop progress. It worked. Israel abandoned the project and Judah sacked the city in progress to build two protective outposts. But the problem was that Asa never once stopped to enquire of God about the matter.

The Lord sent a prophet to Asa with a simple message. Because he had not sought God, there would be wars fought for all the entire final years of his reign. And Asa did not like the message God gave through His prophet. So he locked the prophet in stocks in prison. He has definitely turned from listening to and following the Lord.

Only the exceptional leader in the pages of scripture stays true to the Lord all of his life. And I find that reality to be a tragic experience among Christian leaders in my lifetime. Ironically, success does not keep a leader true to God. It seems to have the opposite effect, pulling him into pride and self-trust. And that is why I must place careful watch over my soul. I am zeroing in on almost 25 years of ministry experience. And for the most part, it has gone well... much better than I deserve to know. But that does not guarantee that my soul will always go well, which is why I need to keep doing what I am doing right now... reading the truth of God's interactions with humanity and learning from them. Only when I apply these lessons to my own situation do I stand a chance of finishing strong!

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