12:1-13:22 - ‘He did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord’ (12:14). Read these words, and pray - ‘Lord, may these words never be true of me’. These words are a warning to us. Things will only go from bad to worse if we turn back from following the Lord. ‘As for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not forsaken Him’ (13:10). Read these words, and pray - ‘Lord, may these words always be true of me’. This is the better way - God’s way: ‘God is with us; He is our Leader’ (13:12). We read about unbelief and disobedience. We read about faith and obedience. “Do not fight against the Lord... you will not succeed’. ‘Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey’ (13:12; Mission Praise, 760).
14:1-16:14 - Keep on going! Don’t give up! Asa began so well - ‘Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God’ (14:2). He led the people to the Lord. Under his leadership, the people ‘entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and all their soul’ (15:12). Everything seemed to be going so well - until Asa let things slide. He acted ‘foolishly’. He ‘relied on the king of Syria’. He ‘did not rely on the Lord his God’ (16:7-9). There were difficult times ahead for Asa. He became seriously ill. Sadly, he did not return to the Lord - ‘even in his disease he did not seek the Lord’ (16:12). ‘No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God’. ‘He who endures to the end will be saved’. ‘Let us go on...’ (Luke 9:62; Mark 13:13; Hebrews 6:1).
17:1-18:34 - In 17:3, we read of backsliding - in David, Asa and Jehoshaphat. ‘Jehoshaphat walked in the first ways of his father David’(Authorized Version). David, Jehoshaphat’s ancestor, started off so well - ‘the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power’. Things fell apart for him when he set his eyes upon Bathsheba (1 Samuel 17:13; 2 Samuel 11:2-5). ‘Jehoshaphat walked in the earlier ways of his father’(Revised Standard Version). Asa, Jehoshaphat’s father, began well. He did not finish well (14:2; 16:12). ‘In his early years Jehoshaphat walked in the (good) ways that his father David had followed’ (New International Version). Sadly, he lost his way - ‘he made a marriage alliance with Ahab’, ‘a man... who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord’ (18:1; 1 Kings 21:25). It can happen to anyone! We must be careful!
19:1-20:37 - ‘I have the desire to do what is good , but I cannot carry it out... When I want to do good, evil is right there with me’ (Romans 7:18,21). In 19:2-3, we see the two sides of Jehoshaphat. In his heart, he wanted to do God’s will, seeking and serving Him. Sadly, however, he did not always follow the promptings of God’s Spirit. He allowed himself to be influenced by ‘those who hate the Lord’. The godly side of Jehoshaphat - ‘O Lord... our eyes are upon You’ - was in conflict with his sinful side - ‘Jehoshaphat... made an alliance with Ahaziah... who was guilty of wickedness’ (20:5-12,35). ‘The desires of the flesh... and the desires of the Spirit... are opposed to each other...’. ‘Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature’ (Galatians 5:16-17). May God help us to live His way.
21:1-23:21 - We live in difficult times. Many are choosing to do what is ‘evil in the sight of the Lord’ (21:6). We must make another choice, a better choice. We must choose to ‘be the Lord’s people’ (23:16). In this time of great darkness, we have ‘the lamp of the Lord’: ‘Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path’ (21:7; Proverbs 20:27; Psalm 119:105). We must let His lamp shine brightly: ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven’ (Matthew 5:16). The darkness will not overcome the light (John 1:5). Satan will be ‘slain by the sword’. He will be ‘thrown down’. All God’s people, from every land, will rejoice - ‘Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ’ (23:21; Revelation 12:9; 5:9; 1 Corinthians 15:57).
24:1-25:28 - ‘He turned away from the Lord’ (25:27). Things have not changed. Many are turning away from the Lord. We must search our hearts. We must pray for God’s help: ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me, and know my thoughts! And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!’ (Psalm 139:24). We read about the kings who ‘turned away from the Lord’. We must learn from their mistakes. These things are ‘recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord’ (Psalm 102:18). If we don’t learn from their mistakes, we will repeat their mistakes. Don’t turn away from the Lord. Turn to Him. May God help us to live as His faithful people - ‘Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong’ (1 Corinthians 16:13).