Vol.5, No. 10 – March 29, 2020
Leadership in a Time of Crisis
2 Chronicles 16:9
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward Him. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars. 2 Chronicles 16:9
Great beginnings do not guarantee great finishes. Being fast out of the gate is not the same as breaking the finish tape. It is amazing how backward our culture is regarding this bit of wisdom in today’s COVID-19 situation.
Paul mentions this in Galatians. You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from Him who calls you. –Galatians 5:7-8 But then, we hit the same stumbling, do we not?
King Asa blew it (and then blew it bigger). It is interesting how we seem to hold others to a greater expectancy that we hold to ourselves. We were going swimmingly, until someone else cut in on us; deflected us from a true course. We are the victim, of course. What detours us? It certainly cannot be our fault; can it? Really???
King Asa met with little drops of poison (it does not take much). Three small spots of mildew that spoil his bread. Three tiny cracks in his armor. It brings him down.
How did it begin? With ease and self-satisfaction. There are two phases. Phase one, All Judah rejoiced over the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and had sought Him with their whole desire, and He was found by them, and the Lord gave rest all around (15:15).
Then phase two kicks in, And there was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of the reign of Asa (15:19).
There was rest in the kingdom, and there was no more war. Twenty years of rest and peace. Positives that turned negative. There was time to forget what God had done; weeks, months, and years to get comfortable and secure. Muscles and energy get soft; flabby and atrophied.
How can you possibly look back at what God has done . . . and not stare!
Then follows the fodder for failure. There is the compromise with Benhadad, king of Syria. There is a covenant between me and you, as there was between my father and your father. Behold I am sending to you silver and gold. Go, break your covenant with Baasha, king of Israel, that he may withdraw from me (16:3). Let’s renew our pact. So Asa prefers to rely on Syria, rather than rely upon God. Asa, in chapter 15 appears in the strength of reliance upon a reliable God; now in chapter 16, he appears in the weakness of self-reliance.
Finally, Asa fails in a personal crisis. Diseased in his feet (Gangrene? Or maybe a novel virus?), he does not seek out God; he instead relies upon the local witch doctors. Wow. In the last two years of his life he is shipwrecked, put on the shelf by Almighty God. His earlier faith no longer gives him meaning, because of his present unbelief. Sad. Horrible.
There is that within us that runs to accept great challenges, often because they flatter us and bring us celebrity and recognition. We recoil at those tasks where there seems little to gain, everything to lose. Asa concludes his life politically correct, but spiritually he is in disaster.
There is a true statement: Few lives end well. Not that they die (they all do), but something within dies while they live. God allows us to live in order to fulfill His expectations, but too many sit on their rusty dusties, instead of living.
Perhaps we are recognizing we are depending upon ourselves, or on scientists, or doctors, or the philosopher next door, rather than depending on the One whose thoughts are higher than our thoughts, whose ways are higher than our ways.
Therefore, let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. –1 Corinthians 10:12
Leadership in a time of crisis is always available—if we would but ask our Almighty God!