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The Failure of Fear

Devotions

Elite professional athletes always face the difficult decision of when to retire. Should they leave at the top of their game? Or should they eke out as many years of playing time as possible? Should they remain loyal to their current coach or team, or see if they can find success with a new program? Fans often feel torn between wanting to enjoy their sporting hero’s exploits as long as possible and the painful realization, “He should have quit long ago.”

King Asa had been blessed with decades of spiritual success. But after 35 years of serving the Lord, Asa made a fateful error in judgment. When the king of Israel set up a blockade around Judah, Asa appealed to the king of Aram for help (vv. 1–6). The core problem was not the political alliance but that Asa had neglected to seek spiritual guidance first (vv. 7–9).

Sadly, when confronted with his sin, Asa reacted in anger and defensiveness. He imprisoned the prophet. He lashed out at his own people (v. 10). Even after he became ill, he stubbornly refused to turn to the Lord. We cringe when reading about Asa’s disregard for God at the end of his reign.

We can make the same mistake as King Asa. Rather than trusting the Lord with as much confidence and humility as we did at the beginning of our spiritual walk, we grow first complacent, then indifferent, and then embittered.

Like Asa, we turn on the people around us in harshness and harm rather than in love and grace. We must always remember that it is God who shields and defends us regardless of our age, health, or creative ideas. Our confidence must always be in Him.

Apply the Word

There is no time to coast on autopilot in the Christian life. No matter how long we have been journeying with Jesus, we must continue to seek the Lord. Ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart for any complacence, indifference, or bitterness. Confess any sin and renew your commitment to have a heart fully committed to living for God.

BY Eric C. Redmond

Eric C. Redmond serves as an assistant professor of Bible at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and as associate pastor of adult ministries at Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, Ill. He is married to Pam and they have five children. He is the author of Where Are All the Brothers? Straight Answers to Mens’ Questions about the Church (Crossway), a commentary on Jonah in the Christ-Centered Exposition Series (B&H Publishers), and a study guide on Ephesians in the Knowing the Bible series (Crossway).

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