Gen. Deborah Green
P RAISE GOD. Welcome to this broadcast. The name of this message is “Reliance Defiance.” And it is really a sad thing, but yet it’s something that we need to pay heed to because it can happen to us, it can happen to anybody that’s serving the Lord—that they can get their eyes off of the Lord, get eyes full of adultery, get eyes that make us think there’s other power sources that are greater than the power of the Living God.
Now, today, our main text is going to be in 2nd Chronicles 16. But before we go there, go with me to 2 Chron. 32 and we’ll read verses 7 and 8, and this is under Hezekiah, and it says they were being threatened by the kings of Assyria and other power sources.
So it’s talking about Hezekiah and it says that this is what he spoke to the people, it said that: “he set captains of war over the people and gathered them together to him in the street of the gate of the city and spoke encouragingly to them, saying, Be strong and courageous. Be not afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him, for there is Another with us greater than [all those] with him. With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles. And the people relied on the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.”
So we see that when Hezekiah reminded the people that IT IS GOD WHO IS GREATER, THAT IT IS GOD WHO IS ALL POWERFUL, THAT IT IS GOD WHO IS STRENGTH, IT SAYS THEY RELIED ON THOSE WORDS. In other words, they were kindled in their faith towards God. And we know that when we believe upon God, and we trust in God, that God always makes a way, He makes the way before us, He does indeed fight our battles, He does make the way that no man can make. And because we are meant to be dependent upon Him, God wants us to remain that way all of our days.
Now, in our journey with God, the devil is always sending his fiery darts, which are the demons forces that come with their negative thoughts, that come with their undermining thoughts, that come with their thoughts of accusation, with their thoughts of hatred for God’s will, for God’s ordination, for God’s power structure, for everything that belongs to God. This is what God has been telling us about the Jezebelian reign—is that it has dispersed over the land and covered the land with hatred for the will of God, for the truth of God, for the way of God—actually bitter hatred, and people would rather fight God than obey God, people would rather defy God than walk in obedience to God. And so their reliance is no longer upon God, but it becomes a matter of their own understanding, which is DARKENED, and it becomes a reliance upon other power sources such as human governments, the opinions of men, what the media says—all kinds of power sources that deviate, and pervert, and take men’s hearts away from God.
So we see that the war is ever-present, and any way that the devil can use to get us in an attitude of ingratitude, in an attitude of rebellion, in an attitude of defiance of reliance upon God, then he has the victory—then he gets the victory over us because we are no longer aligned with the one who will give us the power to overcome, but we are aligning ourselves with these rudiments of carnality that will bring literally a curse upon our lives.
And even when we rely on ourselves, we are relying on the arm of flesh. “Well, I can do this;” “Well, I’ve done that;” “Well, I know how.” Well, when we get to that point, we are failing to give glory to God, and we are thinking that we are the ultimate power source. We are mere human beings, frail, in a sense, DEPENDENT ON GOD, AND NEEDY OF GOD. When we remain in that place, then God continues to give us His mercy, and He continues to guide us in His way.
Now, as we’ve been being taught: yesterday in the messages, and in the Word of the Lord, our goal in this life is not meant to be to heap up carnal treasure, it’s not meant to be to heap up laurels of our carnality, but it’s meant to be that we become what God wants us to be.
Now, I can appear to be broken, I can appear to be helpless, so to speak, I can appear to be always needy and pleading of God, and people can scoff that and can say, “Pst! What is that?!?!” It’s even like the apostle Paul said, “When you see my human person, you scoff because of the frailty, the weakness, the physical debilitation.”
But he said, “You say my words are strong, but who am I?” Because why? He was saying, “You’re judging me according to my fleshly presence, and you’re not remembering that it’s the power of God in me.” And see, that’s what God wants in us: is the power of God in us, the strength of God in us, the humility of God in us. Those are the true treasures that we gain in this life.
Now, we can get busy about God’s business and forget about God. We can get so involved in our endeavors that we forget the One who is the reason for it all. Now, isn’t that true? That we can get so worked up in our works, we forget who they’re for. And then we have strife, we have jealousy, we have accusation, we have bitterness, we have even hatred move in, competition, undermining—all these factors because we got worked up about our works and forgot who we were working for. It’s reality, it happens. We’d like to say it wouldn’t happen to us but hey, we’re people too.
We’re human beings with all of the frailties, with all of the subtleties, with all of the craftiness of carnality. And we’re capable of missing God, we’re capable of failing God, and we’re capable of turning from God and not even realizing we’ve done it—by reaching out to things other then God.
Now, I’m not saying that God won’t say to us, “Go do this,” or “Go do that,” or “Go secure this,” or “Go arrange that,” and whereby we use human flesh to do that, but if we resort to the arm of flesh BEFORE we consult with God, then we GRIEVE GOD.
Ok, 2nd Chronicles, let’s start there, 15, beginning in verse 1, and it says, “And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded: And he went out to meet Asa and said to him, Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: the Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him (IF YOU SEEK HIM) [inquiring for and of Him, craving Him as your soul’s first necessity], He will be found by you; but if you [become indifferent and] forsake Him, He will forsake you.”
Now, that does away with one of the modern philosophies that people hold to: to cover their sin, to cover their backsliding, to cover their failure to be submitted unto God inasmuch as they say, “He’ll never leave nor forsake me.” They can be as far from God as it is from Fence Lake, New Mexico to Zambia, and they can be saying, “He’ll never leave nor forsake me.”
It says right here if we don’t look to God, if we don’t turn to God as our first necessity, and if we forsake Him, He forsakes us. So, what we do towards God is what’s done back to us. And you know, there’s times when we just feel HORRIBLE, and that’s the time to examine ourselves before God:
* Wherein have we grieved Him?
* Wherein have we let other things come into our relationship?
* Wherein have we lived afar off and trusted in ourselves?
* Wherein have we Got worked up over our own works?
Come on, it’s true, and we can start being abusive towards God; and abusive towards others who are serving God. And we can think we’re some hot thing on a stick when really we are deficient, and we’ve moved from reliance to defiance—because we didn’t keep our relationship. Now that’s what he’s saying—he’s saying to this king, “Hey, wait a minute, He will be found by you if you’re craving Him as your souls first necessity, ‘but if you [become indifferent and] forsake Him, He will forsake you.’”
“Now for a long time Israel was without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law. But when they in their trouble turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and [in desperation earnestly] sought Him, He was found by them. And in those times there was no peace to him who went out nor to him who came in, but great and vexing afflictions and disturbances were upon all the inhabitants of the countries. Nation was broke in pieces against nation…” it sounds about like what’s going on in the world now.
“...and city against city, for God vexed and troubled them with all sorts of adversity.” This kind of war brings with it much evil, and yet it’s saying GOD troubled them, GOD brought this on them. Why? Because they had forgotten God, because they had refused to seek counsel of God, because they had not desired God.
And then it says: “Be strong, therefore, and let not your hands be weak and slack, for your work shall be rewarded. And when Asa heard these words, the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage and PUT AWAY THE ABOMINABLE IDOLS from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities which he had taken in the hill country of Ephraim; and he repaired the altar [of burnt offering] of the Lord which was in front of the porch or vestibule [of the house] of the Lord.”
Then he did all these other good things, then it says (this is in chapter 15), “And they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, and to yearn for Him with all their heart’s desire and with all their soul; And that whoever would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, should be put to death, whether young or old, man or woman.”
Ok, then we go over to chapter 16 and it says, “IN THE thirty-sixth year of Asa’s reign, Baasha king of Israel came up against Judah, and built (fortified) Ramah intending to intercept anyone going out or coming in to Asa king of Judah. Then Asa brought silver and gold out of the treasuries of the house of the Lord and of the king’s house and sent them to Ben-hadad king of Syria, who dwelt at Damascus, saying, Let there be a league between me and you, as was between my father and your father. Behold, I am sending you silver and gold; go, break your league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may withdraw from me.
And Ben-hadad hearkened to King Asa and sent the captains of his armies against the cities of Israel; and they smote Ijon, Dan, Abel-maim, and all the store cities of Naphtali. And when Baasha heard it, he stopped building Ramah and let his work cease. Then King Asa took all Judah, and they carried away the stones of Ramah and its timber with which Baasha had been building, and with them he built Geba and Mizpah. At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him, Because you relied on the king of Syria and not on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped you.”
Ok, now we remember in chapter 15, that when Azariah son of Oded said, “if you [become indifferent and] forsake Him, He will forsake you.” So, back then he received, you might say, a groundwork warning, “Don’t get so powerful you forget about the Lord. Don’t get so worked up in your works you forget the One you’re working for!” In other words, “THE ONE WHO IS MEANT TO BE THE CENTRAL FOCUS, THE PURPOSE OF YOUR WHOLE EXISTENCE!” Did you know that God is meant to be our heartbeat, our life’s breath? Did you know He’s meant to be the lover of our souls, the One we turn to, the One we inquire of, the One we seek with diligence?
Did he seek God over whether he should make an alliance/an allegiance with Syria? No, he just did it. “Well, it’s ok if I do this!” He justified, I’m sure, his failure to seek and inquire of the Lord. So, now it appears that he’s victorious, and along comes the seer—giving him the ‘dreaded’ Word of the Lord. So, here comes the truth, and we’ll see how Asa reacts.
“At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him, Because you relied on the king of Syria and not on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped you. Were not the Ethiopians and Libyans a huge host with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied then on the Lord, He gave them into your hand.”
Ok, quickly, hold your spot there, go to Jeremiah 17:5, it says, “Thus says the Lord: Cursed [with great evil] is the strong man who trusts in and relies on frail man, making weak [human] flesh his arm, and whose mind and heart turn aside from the Lord.” So right there we see that the same essence is being spoken forth, the same principle is being shown to them because they have turned from trusting God to rely on mere human flesh, to rely, as he was doing, on a heathen king to be his strength, to be his ally, to be his backup.
So, he had resorted to the frailty of flesh rather than keeping his reliance on the Living God. Now, when we are shown our sin, our mistakes, our failures, we are not meant to defend those actions, because when we defend our sin, our failure, our short-coming, our mess-up, we are defying God. WE ARE DEFYING GOD. We’re saying, “I didn’t do that!,” or “I had a reason!,” or “I was justified,” or “It’s ok in this circumstance.” We are meant to REPENT. We are meant to say, “I’m sorry God, I’m the one who failed you, I’m the one who resorted to the wrong thing, I’m the one who looked to mere human flesh to be what I needed when I should have looked to you, and cried out to you, and BEEN DEPENDENT UPON YOU, but I failed you.”
Now, when we will repent, God will give us mercy, when we will DEFY the revelation of our sinful state and say it’s not true, we bring sorrow to ourselves. See, any time I’m defending ME, I’m defending a fool. If I am defending the principles of God and His righteousness, I am defending what is right. But if I am merely defending my own carnal failure, my carnal sin, my carnal state of looking at things, I’m defending a fool. How many times do we miss God when we defend the fool, and we get reliance defiance against God. It’s true! And the quicker we see it, the quicker we can repent and turn back to the way of God, and get back in right standing of reliance upon God.
Now, we Americans have been steeped, ever since the nation was founded, in the independence principle. “We’ve got to be independent!” And yet we’re one of the most dependent nations on earth—on the government of wickedness, on the Jezebel rule, on the darkness, the iniquity, the standards of vileness that have covered the land.
And the Christians are the worst of all—as they sound like parrots, “We’ve got to obey the laws of the land.” Read your Bible, it doesn’t say that in every circumstance we are to obey the laws of the land. What about Daniel? He openly defied the king’s rule that you could worship none but him and his image that he built, and Daniel continued to worship his God, and pray to his God visibly!
Did you know that Jesus was born an outlaw—outside the law? Did you know that Moses was kept alive by defiance of the government that they were subject to? The deliverer of God’s own people out of the bondage of Pharaoh should never have been allowed to live by the law of the land. Christians use it as a cop-out, an excuse, to defy reliance upon God.
Now, as we go on here, what do we find? It says, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong in behalf of those whose hearts are blameless toward Him. You have done foolishly in this; therefore, from now on you shall have wars.” So the very thing we see in verse 15 that He was freeing him from, He said, “From now on you will have it”—that God will give it to you, “YOU SHALL HAVE WARS.”
Then it says, “Then Asa was angry with the seer and put him in prison [in the stocks], for he was enraged with him because of this. Asa oppressed some of the people at the same time.” Then it goes on and it talks about his great disease that he got in his feet, and then it says that he didn’t even seek the Lord in that but he sought physicians. In other words, GOD DEALT WITH HIM TO GET HIM TO REPENT even by diseasing his feet, and still he was in reliance defiance—he wouldn’t admit that he had failed God, he wouldn’t admit that he had resorted to the arm of flesh.
Ok, Psalm 60, and it says here, “Have You not rejected us, O God? And will You not go forth, O God, with our armies?”
And then it says, “O give us help against the adversary, for vain (ineffectual and to no purpose) is the help or salvation of man. Through God we shall do valiantly, for He it is Who shall tread down our adversaries.”
So they’re pleading with God for help because they realize He is the only lasting, substantial, enduring help. Vain is the help of man. Now, when we find that we have put ourselves in a position of reliance defiance, WE MUST STOP IMMEDIATELY THAT ACTIVITY, that mindset, that behavioral pattern and return in repentance to humility before God. For like here in the Psalms it’s pleading, “Will you not go forth with our armies because vain is the help of man?”
Ok, we need to RETURN TO OUR FIRST LOVE, we need to return to the One who is the author and the finisher, the One who is the beginning and the end, the One who IS our resource, our life, our strength, and our safety. And we need to stop getting worked up in our works, and RETURN TO THE ONE THAT WE’RE WORKING FOR, and recognize Him, and obey Him, and seek His face, and His counsel, and we will not be in reliance upon defiance by looking to the arm of flesh, but we’ll be in reliance upon the Living God, the One we are meant to believe in ALL of our days. Amen.