Making a Bad Thing Worse
Today’s reading: II Chronicles 26-28; John 17
22 In the time of his distress he became yet more faithless to the Lord—this same King Ahaz. 23 For he sacrificed to the gods of Damascus that had defeated him and said, “Because the gods of the kings of Syria helped them, I will sacrifice to them that they may help me.” But they were the ruin of him and of all Israel. II Chronicles 28:22-23
15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. John 17:15-17
The world is a hostile place for God’s people, but He sends us into it, and He preserves us in it by His power and His word.
King Ahaz rebelled against the Lord which led to defeat in battle and distress. Did he learn to turn to God through His failure? No. He took his disobedience to the next level and began worshiping the god of the Syrians. Some of the kings we have studied were corrupted by success. Others were corrupted by failure. In some cases, they turned to God in defeat and were delivered. The circumstances seem to be neutral factors. What is the difference? It is the work of God in the hearts of those kings that either turned them toward Himself or let them go on in apostasy and error.
Jesus knew the kind of world into which He was sending His disciples. He prayed for them and gave them God’s word. They were not perfect, but, in the end, they succeeded in proclaiming the gospel far and wide and laying the foundations for the Church.
What do we need in order to stand firm in the faith in a hostile world? Like the Apostles, we need God’s word and we need God’s power working to keep us in the midst of adversity and spiritual danger. Do we have that? Yes, Jesus is at the right hand of God interceding for us (Hebrews 7:25). He has given us His Spirit (Romans 8). We have the completed revelation of God in the Scriptures to equip us for every work He calls us to do (II Timothy 3:16-17).
Do not fear the world, but do be vigilant of your heart that the distresses of the world not turn you away from the Lord who keeps His own. Do not make a bad thing worse. Trust Him, His Word, and His preserving power.