The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him — 2 Chronicles 16:9
Mabel Francis, an American missionary who had sailed to Japan in 1909, was interred in a wartime prison camp during World War II. She found strength in 2 Chronicles 16:9, which, after the war, fueled an incredible ministry. This very same promise is as available to us now as it was in biblical times or during the days of World War II. It’s for you and me just as surely as it applied to Mabel Francis or any other missionary. It’s a promise with no geographical limitations. It has no shelf life; it’s perpetually fresh and potent. The eyes of the Lord never droop, never close, never sleep. Every moment they are scanning every corner of this globe, looking for someone whose heart is fully committed to Christ.
This is a wonderful stand-alone verse; but of course, it doesn’t stand alone. It has a context. It is woven into a dramatic story in the Bible involving one of the ancient kings of Judah—Asa, who reigned in Jerusalem for forty-one years. The record of King Asa’s life begins in 2 Chronicles 14:1, when he advanced to the throne upon the death of his father, King Abijah. Asa started well and instituted a revival in Judah. About ten years into his reign, King Asa faced a military crisis, but he called on the Lord, who granted victory. The revival continued until late in Asa’s life. In the 35th year of his reign, he faced another military crisis and failed to call on the Lord. At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him: “Because you relied on the king of Aram (Syria) and not on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand… 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. Asa responded with anger and threw the prophet into prison. I don’t know how to explain this. How can a man be a spiritual leader in his nation, bring about revival, trust God in times of crisis; and then, late in his life, mess up so completely that he turns away from the Lord and ends as a failure? I do not understand it, but I know it happens. It happens all the time. It can happen to any of us. How can we avoid Asa’s mistake?
1. Use every significant occasion in life for rededication. First, use every significant occasion in life to rededicate yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ. Our Christian lives have the beginning when we decide to follow Jesus. The moment we acknowledge the Risen Christ as Lord of our lives, we are redeemed; we are saved; we are born again. That’s a decision we don’t need to repeat. But along the way, we have opportunities to reaffirm that decision and rededicate ourselves to the Lord. In 1 Samuel 7, the prophet Samuel led Israel in victory over the Philistines. When the people assembled later to celebrate, Samuel had a large stone monument erected. He gave the monument a name – Ebenezer, a Hebrew term meaning the “Stone of Help.” Samuel told the people, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” It was a physical reminder to acknowledge God’s blessings in the past and, by implication, to maintain their dedication to Him for the future. We need to go through life raising Ebenezers.
- On New Year’s Day, say, “Lord, Hitherto have you helped me. Here at the beginning of another year, I rededicate myself to Jesus.
- On your birthday, say, “Lord, another year is past; I rededicate myself for the time that remains for me on earth.”
- When you graduate from school; when you start a job; when you marry your sweetheart; when a child is born, recommit yourself to Him.
- When a prayer is answered; when a crisis is faced; when a loved one dies; when a tragedy occurs; when a victory is won—rededicate yourself to Christ.
- When we move into a new house; when we start a new job; when we’re given a promotion; when we retire from our field of labor, we should use it as an occasion to look backward with gratitude and look forward with faith.
2. Keep a watertight seal around your mind. In Genesis 6, the Lord told Noah to build an enormous boat and to “coat it with pitch inside and out” (Genesis 6:14). Pitch was a kind of tar that could make the boat waterproof. An illimitable ocean of water might surround the ark, but it was safe so long as the water didn’t get into the boat. We need to keep a watertight seal around our minds. Christians are being compromised by their choices in entertainment. Our society is essentially atheistic, which means people are now operating with the assumption there are no moral guidelines coming from an absolute source. So our entertainment is a sewer of sensuality. We are floating in that ocean, and we have to make disciplined godly choices about what we read and what we view and what we allow into our minds and hearts. We have to keep our minds waterproofed.
3. Sustain a daily spiritual routine. I’m reading a book called Daily Rituals: How Artists Work. The author, Mason Currey, studied the daily routines of a wide array of creative people, and he found that everyone needs a workable routine to be productive. When we have a regular daily ritual or routine, it provides the grooves through which our productively is channeled and our work is done. It provides furrows in which we can work, rest, raise our families, order our lives, and renew our energy. For the Christian, the daily ritual of Bible study and prayer is the most important part.
4. Don’t quit before the finish line. Fourth, don’t quit before the finish line. When I was in high school, I tried running. My biggest problem was letting up on my speed as I approached the finish line. As soon as I saw I was near the tape, I would slack off a little. My coaches could never cure me of that; I don’t know why. But I don’t want to do the same thing in life or ministry. I want to keep going to the end.
5. Claim 2 Chronicles 16:9 for yourself. Finally, we can claim 2 Chronicles 16:9 for ourselves. In these days of stress and strain, we need strength of body, mind, soul, and spirit. We need strength sufficient for each day’s work, for each month’s journey, for each year’s challenges. We need strength against sorrow, against temptation, against fatigue, against failure and discouragement.
For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.