WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
MARCH 09, 2023
TOPIC: DON’T LET YOUR FIRE GO OUT
BY T. O. BANSO
“Never let the fire in your heart go out. Keep it alive. Serve the Lord” (Romans 12:11 New International Reader’s Version).
King Asa of Judah spent forty-one years on the throne, but the last four years made a mess of his good record of thirty-five years. However, he is not the only Bible character who didn’t finish well.
1 Kings 15:11-15 tells us this about Asa: “Asa did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did his father David. And he banished the perverted persons from the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. Also he removed Maachah his grandmother from being queen mother, because she had made an obscene image of Asherah. And Asa cut down her obscene image and burned it by the Brook Kidron. But the high places were not removed. Nevertheless Asa’s heart was loyal to the LORD all his days. He also brought into the house of the LORD the things which his father had dedicated, and the things which he himself had dedicated: silver and gold and utensils” (New King James Version).
Without a doubt, this passage gives us a very good report about Asa. However, if one stops here and does not read other things said about Asa later, one would go away with a wrong conclusion about his life.
Indeed, “Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God” (2 Chronicles 14:2 New King James Version). You read a similar thing earlier: “Asa did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did his father David” (1 Kings 15:11 New King James Version). Despite his previous religious reforms, it appears he allowed the fire of God burning in him to go out.
In the thirty-sixth year of his reign, Asa didn’t trust God as he had done before. When Baasha, king of Israel, came up against Judah, Asa entered into a treaty with King Ben-Hadad of Syria. He sent to him silver and gold from the treasuries of the house of the LORD and the king’s house. Consequently, Ben-Hadad sent the captains of his armies and attacked some cities of Israel and Baasha stopped all the work he was doing (2 Chronicles 16:2-6).
Although Asa achieved his purpose for the treaty, God wasn’t pleased with him because he replaced trust in Him with trust in a human being. Therefore, God sent a seer, Hanani, to Asa to condemn what he had done; he passed judgment on him.
2 Chronicles 16:7-10 says, “And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, 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. For 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.’ Then Asa was angry with the seer, and put him in prison, for he was enraged at him because of this. And Asa oppressed some of the people at that time” (New King James Version). Earlier in 2 Chronicles 14:9-13, because Asa trusted in the LORD, He had given him victory over the Ethiopians who outnumbered Judah’s army.
If God had helped Asa and Judah for thirty-five years, Asa should have continued to trust in Him. But his love for God appears to have disappeared! How could someone who carried out religious reforms to serve the true God imprison a seer or prophet of God who spoke the Word of God to him just because it didn’t favour him? He also started oppressing some of his people. You would have expected him to go to God in repentance and plead for His mercy after hearing what the seer said.
If Asa had accepted the rebuke of the LORD and repented, he wouldn’t have progressed in his error. “And in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa became diseased in his feet, and his malady was severe; yet in his disease he did not seek the LORD, but the physicians. So Asa rested with his fathers; he died in the forty-first year of his reign” (2 Chronicles 16:12-13 New King James Version).
The fire in Asa went out to the extent that when he was sick he refused to seek the LORD. He replaced God with the physicians just as he had replaced God with King Ben-hadad of Syria. If Asa had returned to God and cried to Him, He could have healed him. “Come, and let us return to the LORD; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up” (Hosea 6:1 New King James Version). Unfortunately, Asa died of his sickness.
Be very careful. Don’t abandon your first love for God as the Church at Ephesus did. “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place–unless you repent” (Revelation 2:4-5 New King James Version).
Keep the fire burning; don’t let it go out. Leviticus 6:12-13 says, “And the fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not be put out. And the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order on it; and he shall burn on it the fat of the peace offerings. A fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out” (New King James Version).
Always keep the fire of God on your altar burning. Don’t neglect the regular study of the Bible, meditation, prayer and fasting, and evangelism to keep yourself, spiritually, in good shape. Examine yourself if you’re still in the faith. “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you — unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5 New International Version).
Check yourself to see if your love for God is increasing or decreasing (Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30). Also, ask yourself if you’re walking in love towards others (Matthew 5:43-44; 19:19b; 22:39; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27b; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8). Do you forgive others or do you hold grudges and seek revenge? “Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (Colossians 3:13 The Living Bible). Is your zeal for the Lord increasing or decreasing? “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord” (Romans 12:11 New International Version). The New International Reader’s Version renders it thus: “Never let the fire in your heart go out. Keep it alive. Serve the Lord.”
Don’t let your fire go out. Beware of self-confidence or overconfidence. “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12 New King James Version). Let the fire in you keep burning. Don’t become lukewarm as the church of the Laodiceans. “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16 NKJV). God hates lukewarmness. Keep the fire in you burning. Don’t let your fire go out.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: The fire in me will not go out in Jesus’ name. It shall keep burning. It shall be alive. Father, deliver me from whatever can put out the fire. I shall finish well my Christian journey on earth. Holy Spirit, uphold me to the end in Jesus’ name.
(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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