Thursday, June 13, 2019

Fortified Cities in a Time of Peace

King Asa was a good king; he was known for doing what was right in the Lord's eyes. And because of his goodness and righteousness, the land of God's people had peace. And it was on account of this peace that Asa began to fortify his cities. 

That means that he built up the walls around them, strengthened their defenses, ensured their protection. All at a time when there was no threat. 

Because Asa understood that if there is already a threat - and there will at some point be one - it's too late. You can't build walls while your enemy is building a siege. You can't forge shields when the arrows are already flying. You can't structure yourself for war if you've already in the battle. At that point, all you can do is whatever you can do, whatever you have to do to stay alive. 

The middle of the fight is no time to discover your weakness; you have to look for it in the midst of peace. 

It's counter-intuitive to everything we think, everything we're prone to think. We are a people who don't know what we need until we need it, and it's why we spend so much of our lives scurrying around, frantically trying to find the things that are valuable in whatever season we find ourselves. We live in the moment, and if this moment is peace, then we aren't thinking about much of anything, except how to enjoy it. We pour ourselves a latte, click on the playlist, kick up our feet, and settle into "the life." 

And being Christians doesn't really change this for us. Want to get real for a second? We are a so-called "faithful" people who are content to read our Bibles only when we need to. Who pray only when we have a need. Who cry out to God in desperation and ignore Him the rest of the time. We go to church when our souls are thirsty and somewhere else on Sundays when they're not. We listen to worship music when the mood strikes us, but our regular radio dial would probably make our brothers and sisters blush. We are a people of God when we need Him, but in times of peace, we just live "the life." 

This example from King Asa reminds us how backward that is. It's in times of peace that we ought to be reading our Bibles more. Praying more. Worshiping more. Attending church more. It's in times of peace that we start building up our defenses, setting our cornerstones, sharpening our arrows. It's in times of peace, when we don't "need" God," that we learn to love Him. Not because He rescues us...again...but because He is who He says He is. It's in times of peace that we prepare ourselves for war because, friends, the battle is coming. 

It's our failure to prepare in peace that only perpetuates the cycle above. We're kicked back, relaxing, enjoying "the life" when the other shoe drops, the storms hit, the winds blow, and our ships start to rock and all of a sudden, we're those "Christians" who go running back to church. Who finally crack open their Bibles. Who all of a sudden remember how to pray. Who turn the dial to worship. By then, it's too late. It is. The battle is already raging; this is no time for basic training. 

The faithful life, the truly faithful life, is built in times of peace. The cities, our hearts, are fortified when there's no enemy coming against them. Our righteousness is built up in loving God in calm seasons.

So, then, the question is this: what are you doing with God when you don't "need" Him? Are you still loving Him? 

When the battle is on, this will make all the difference. 

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