Tag Archives: 2 Chronicles 16

The Spiritual Barometer of Comfort

“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.”
2 Chronicles 16:9 (NIV)

A friend dropped by for coffee yesterday and we enjoyed a long discussion. One of the slivers of conversation was around a class that is being offered in our community in the near future. The premise of the class is that some of history’s most influential people had their most productive and years after the age of 70. The class is intended to encourage adults in the back stretch of life’s journey to consider shunning the traditional view of retirement. Instead of moving somewhere warm and sitting by a pool, the class encourages people to consider how their final stretch of life’s journey might be their most productive and influential.

I thought about that this morning as I read today’s chapter and contemplated the story of King Asa. In yesterday’s post, the prophet Azariah encouraged Asa to “be strong and not give up” but the stretch of life journey that Asa was entering was not one of struggle. Asa’s major challenge and climactic fight was behind him. He was entering a time of extended peace. Thirty-five years of peace and rest. And that’s when he blew it.

Thirty-five years of relatively easy sledding finds King Asa has changed, but not in a good way. He forgot the lesson he learned in his war with the Cushites. He forgot how his faith had led to good things. He forgot Azariah’s admonishment. Thirty-five years of peace and comfort turned Asa into a hard-hearted, self-centric old man. It was the good times and life of relative ease that revealed the true nature of Asa’s heart. A seer named Hanani confronts Asa, but it only confirms and seals Asa’s bitterness (and lands Hanani in the stocks).

This morning I’m thinking about my current waypoint on this life journey. I often think that it’s the tough stretches of pain, tragedy, and difficulty that reveal the true nature of our hearts. Perhaps it is the stretches of comfort and ease that are a better barometer of my spirit.

Chapter-a-Day 2 Chronicles 16

At that, Asa lost his temper. Angry, he put Hanani in the stocks. At the same time Asa started abusing some of the people. 2 Chronicles 16:10 (MSG)

Shoot the messenger.” – Shakespeare, Henry IV

In my daily vocation I have the opportunity to stand in the shoes of the herald, and sometimes those of the prophet. I walk into a boardroom, or perhaps a small conference room, and share what customers think of my client and their service. The news isn’t always pretty and clients haven’t always responded gracefully.

There is a long, historic tradition of responding to truth (often, the truth is ill news) by shooting the messenger. Shakespeare may have been the first to say it in such a way that it stuck in our collective psyche, but the actualy act of shooting the messenger goes as far back as human history. We see it in today’s chapter.

Asa blew it. Hanani confronts him with the plain truth of the matter, and reveals the tragic flaw in Asa’s actions. King Asa responds, not in repentance, but by lashing out in anger. He has poor Hanani, the prophet, thrown into the stocks and takes his anger out on every one around him.

Having been the bearer of bad news, I hope that I am a better hearer of truth when confronted with bad news regarding my own words or actions. I hope that I can listen with humility, and accept truth graciously.

Hearing the truth is often difficult. Responding appropriately is harder still.