For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. (16:9 NIV)
Asa was a reformer—he removed altars, commanded obedience, tore down high places, and fortified cities. Like all good reformers, Asa called his people to commitment (15:10-15). One of the reasons churches fail is because they don’t call their people to commitment. An 1860 ad for the Pony Express read:
“Wanted: Young, skinny, wiry fellows not over 18. Must be expert riders willing to risk daily. Orphans preferred.”
Amazingly, they never had a shortage of riders. Too many churches give the opposite message:
“Wanted: vaguely spiritual, cultural Christians. May attend worship sporadically, give miserly. No serving required. Will tailor music, aesthetics, and preaching to fit your style. Ethical standards are minimal and beliefs negotiable.”
And we wonder why congregations dwindle. The church needs to compromise less and call for commitment more.
The Lord is looking to help those who are committed to him. This is the theme of Asa’s life, positively and negatively. When he was committed to the Lord and called out for help, the Lord answered. When he was half-hearted, or too stubborn to rely on the Lord, he suffered. The Lord longs to be gracious to us; but he’s not interested in lukewarm commitment.
Lord Jesus, we take up our crosses and follow you. Amen.