The enemy of our soul can want us to believe we have gone one step too far, to be used, or to be blessed by God. In this message Evan shares about King Manasseh in 2 Chronicles 33 and his grandson King Josiah in 34.
Through the life of King Hezekiah (2 Kings 18 and 2 Chronicles 32), Pastor Evan Brown teaches how to recognize the tactics of our spiritual enemy, Satan who is the accuser of our soul. Our enemy seeks to steal, kill, and destroy the life that God wants to give us. God has the power to rescue and restore us in whatever trouble may come our way. Yet even when we get off-track, God calls us back to Him. If we return to God and take root in His ways, He has the power to heal, bless, and restore us to a life that bears great fruit no matter what our circumstances.
The story of King Hezekiah of Judah is the story of the Father heart of God, who wants to see His kids again. When Hezekiah became king, he had the priests and Levites remove all the objects of idol worship from the Temple, so they could resume sacrificing to the Lord in the ways Moses commanded.
Hoshea (in 2 Kings 19) was the last king of Israel, doing evil in the sight of the Lord by making alliances with the Assyrians and the Egyptians. Pastor Evan Brown draws out application for us from this rich story, on how we can be tempted to run back to the very things we have been freed from, hoping this time will be different, instead of running to the Lord. Gods plan for Israel was that they would influence the surrounding nations and point the way to the one true God. Instead, Israel adopted the surrounding nations' gods. In this message, Evan asks ‘Are you influencing others or are they influencing you?’, and offers a litmus test for us to help answer that question.
Pastor Evan demonstrated how we can learn much from the multi-generational ups and downs of the old testament kings. Just as many of the same temptations and choices of king-fathers re-appeared in their king-sons, so too can we look to our family history to recognize generational bondages we may be facing. Although the kings chose not to seek God’s wisdom, missing out on much of God’s blessing and setting a low bar for the following kings to pursue, we, not by our own steam but with active engagement with God, can break the chains of our inherited bondages.
We are each responsible for our walk with God and will influence those around us…pay it forward… by living within or without God’s guidelines. By avoiding ungodly patterns, we also avoid refusing the wealth He has given us, ending up empty and poor.
Our creator designed us. It breaks His heart to witness His beautifully wrought design rejected by those of us who think we can do a better job at shaping our own lives. Where is God’s altar within my heart?
Pastor Evan Brown continues the Conflict of Kings series, helping us through the unfamiliar names and relationships in a “made-for-TV-plot” of murder and intrigue from 2 Chronicles 22-24. Evan explains how yet another king, Jehoash started out following the Lord, yet later in life Jehoash fell away, after his Godly mentor Jehoiada, had passed away. Evan emphasized that while mentors are important in our life, we need to be personally anchored to, and actively following the Lord. We can’t truly prosper (be satisfied) in our life, when not following the words of the Lord, as the story of King Jehoash illustrates.
The good news in this Christmas season is that God loves you, wants to be with you, and wants you to prosper, which is why He sent His Son Jesus.
Human nature hasn’t changed since old testament times. As is true of us today, it was often two steps forward with God, three steps back for the OT kings we’re currently studying. Temptation was and is a stealthy, cunning enemy, at times requiring God to bring forth an extreme event into our lives to jolt us back to His center. Like Jehu, and as spirit filled children of God, we must be passionate and constantly diligent about allowing His direction to completely sever us from voices of influence that draw us temptingly close to self-destruction.
This might require changing the way we are used to living.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Pastor Evan Brown continues in the series, “Conflict of the Kings,” through a look at the life of King Ahab in I Kings 16:29-34 and I Kings 20-22. Ahab was more evil than any other king that had reigned before him. Yet for a short season, Ahab listened to the Lord and followed His instruction. As a result, God miraculously helped Israel win the battle over its enemies. In the end though, Ahab turned away from God sinking into self-pity and anger. From Ahab’s life, we learn that as believers, we are to be people who leverage for good our position of influence in the world to bring glory to God. If we call upon the name of the Lord, He will answer us. God is not limited in our limited situations. When we follow the Lord, we can experience the excitement of bringing the extraordinary into our ordinary circumstances and bring God glory.
Referencing 2 Chronicles 14-16, Evan created a baseline from the choices various old testament kings made in their day, then wove their stories into each of our lives today. For much of his reign King Asa of Judah, rather than follow the pattern of his father, King Abijah, sought God’s wisdom in all things, thereby opening the door for God to bless him and his people beyond expectation. God will know when we’ve chosen to break from inherited patterns and our hearts are truly seeking Him. We will then begin to fully experience the blessings of being in relationship with Him throughout the process as He draws us near to Him.
Pastor Evan Brown continues in the series, “Conflict of the Kings.” In 1 King’s 13, King Jeroboam’s fear turns into stubbornness and pride. Although God was faithful and confirmed His word through a miraculous sign, Jeroboam went back to his manipulative ways. In 2 Chronicles 13, Jeroboam's large army was defeated by King Abijah's small army through God's intervention. Yet after the battle, Abijah failed to dismantle the golden calf, and he continued to usher God’s people into sin. From these passages, we learn that there is vulnerability in trusting in the Lord. And yet, we should not be fooled by the momentary success of a path that is not of God. How is God trying to get our attention? Are we creating a cloud of confusion around us, or a path of clarity? Are we manipulating people, or are we leading them in God’s way? Our influence, whether it is good or bad, has a significant affect on others.
From 1 Kings 12:25-33, Pastor Evan Brown explains how King Jeroboam (King of Israel: 10 tribes) responded to his new position. Instead of trusting the Lord and the promises He made to him, Jeroboam quickly concluded that the people he was called to lead would kill him and go back to following King Rehoboam (King of Juda: 2 tribes). Jeroboam’s divination of his future led him to give fear and insecurity a place in his heart, and ultimately to manipulate the people of Israel into abandoning the true service and worship of the Lord.
How is it that Solomon, who is known for his great God-given wisdom, struggled so much with passion? This conflict of his heart eventually led him away from God for part of his life, missing out on the satisfaction only God can give.
When is passion a healthy part of our life, and when does it cause problems for us? Evan examines the original instruction giving for the kings of Israel and Solomon’s disregard for those instructions, resulting in Solomon’s amassing silver, gold, horses and wives for himself. Evan proposed three questions to help guide us in understanding the role and pursuit of resources in our lives today:
- What is the purpose of your resource: time and money, knowledge?
- What is the role of your resource in the mission God has given you?
- What is the priority pursuing those resources has in your life?