Pastor Chuck: Venture of Faith—Part 4

Venture of Faith—Part 4

Pastor Chuck Smith: Venture of Faith—Part 4

Originally published in Issue 29 of Calvary Chapel Magazine

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

There’s a passage of Scripture that has meant very much to me through the years. Second Chronicles Chapter 14 begins the story of the reign of King Asa over Judah. He was 25 years old when he ascended to the throne. Shortly after the beginning of his reign, the Ethiopians invaded the land, joining together with a confederacy of other nations with an army of a million men plus chariots. When Asa received the report of this huge invading army, he prayed unto the Lord and said, “Lord, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You!” (2 Chronicles 14:11).

Now, I like this. He wasn’t saying, “God, I have a plan. I want You to bless the plan.” He wasn’t saying, “Now God, I have it all figured out. Please bless our program.” It wasn’t, “God, get on my side.” Instead, it was, “God, I’m coming on Your side. In Your name we’re going to go out against them. Don’t let man prevail against You. They aren’t going to prevail against me because I don’t have anything. I don’t have any power. But, Lord, that doesn’t make any difference to You. I’m going out in Your name. Don’t let them prevail against You. They can beat me, but don’t let them beat You.”

God gave Asa the victory over the Ethiopians. As Asa was coming back, the prophet of the Lord came out to meet him, and the Lord said through the prophet, “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you” (2 Chronicles 15:2). As he began his reign as king over Judah, Asa received a great word from the Lord: The LORD will be with you as long as you be with Him. If you seek Him, He will be available. He will be found of you. But if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.

Under the reign of Asa, the kingdom was prosperous, and the people were blessed. But toward the latter part of his reign, when he was wealthy and successful, the northern kingdom of Israel decided to invade Judah. They began to build fortified cities north of Jerusalem. They prepared to set up a siege prior to attacking Judah.

When Asa saw them building their fortified cities, he realized what their plan was and took money out of the temple treasury. He sent it to Ben-Hadad, the king of Syria, to hire the Syrians to attack Israel from the north. The Syrians came down from the Golan Heights and began to attack the northern part of Israel. The king of Israel then had to take the troops that were building the fortified cities and deploy them northward to defend against this attack by the Syrians. As the troops left the fortified cities, the men of Judah went out and dismantled the cities.

It seems that the strategy was successful. Asa was no doubt smug and glorying in what money can do. We can hire the Syrians. They’re mercenaries, and they’ll protect us!

Hanani the prophet came out to Asa and said to him, ““Because you have relied on the king of Syria, and have not relied on the Lord your God, therefore the army of the king of Syria has escaped from your hand. Were the Ethiopians and the Lubim not a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet, because you relied on the Lord, He delivered them into your hand” (2 Chronicles 16:7–8). When you had no strength and were faced with the invading army of the Ethiopians, you trusted in the Lord, and He delivered you. But now that you’ve grown powerful and strong, you’re trusting in your own devices. Don’t you know that “the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars” (2 Chronicles 16:9).

God is simply looking for people who are in harmony with what He desires in order that He might show Himself strong on their behalf. And as we abide in Him, step out in faith, and remain open and flexible, He will guide us and He will work.

We will conclude our Ventures of Faith series and our look at Calvary Distinctives in the next installment.

All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

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