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The Pilgrim Path (9-10-2020)

The Pilgrim Path---Second Chronicles 28: 22—25

In the time of his distress he became yet more faithless to the LORD---this same King Ahaz. For he sacrificed to the gods of Damascus that had defeated him and said, “Because the gods of the kings of Syria helped them, I will sacrifice to them that they may help me.” But they were the ruin of him and of all Israel. And Ahaz gathered together the vessels of the house of God and cut in pieces the vessels of the house of God, and shut up the doors of the house of the LORD, and he made himself altars in every corner of Jerusalem. In every city of Judah, he made high places to make offerings to other gods, provoking to anger the LORD, the God of his fathers.

YET MORE FAITHLESS…

What will we do in times of distress?

King Ahaz is NOT the one to follow…

---If you do not have a heart for the LORD---you will do more and more foolish and faithless things. This was the path of King Ahaz…

---If you do not have a heart for the LORD---you have to manufacture “paths” of supposed deliverance---which bring no deliverance at all. This was the path of King Ahaz…

---If you do not have a heart for the LORD---you have to develop an ethical system of your own---which turns out to be quite unethical---and in the end, quite irrational and very harmful. This was the path of King Ahaz…

---If you do not have a heart for the LORD---and you are in Leadership---your decisions will be ruinous for yourself and the great host of people about you. This was the path of King Ahaz…

Spurgeon is helpful here. First, on suffering for the Christian: “Suffering is one of the things written in the covenant of grace as a blessing. The rod was promised to us when we became the children of God, and we cannot escape it. The distress of believers, when it is sanctified to them, loosens their hold on this world. Trials cut the ropes that fasten our souls to earthly things and so enable us to mount. Trouble, like a sharp spade, digs up the earth that is about out roots, and then we bring forth more fruit. Were it not for the thorns in our nest, we would be so content with its soft lining that we would sit in it till we died. But the sharp thorns prick our breasts, and then we turn our eyes aloft and learn to try our wings, ready for the time when they will have fully grown, and we will mount to joys above.”

Spurgeon on Ahaz: …he would worship what he pleased. He was not to be dictated to. He would select his own gods and worship as many as he pleased. So, he did, “but they were the downfall of him.” A person may begin life with his resolution: “I am not going to be bound by anybody. I will do as I like, I will have my own way. I will be independent; I am not going to be obedient to God or listen to what his book prescribes. I will have what indulgences I choose.” If he does so, those indulgences will be “the downfall of him.” The character that does not have for its cornerstone obedience to God is a character that will tumble down in ruins one day or another…

“The auxiliary has become the lord, and he that called him to his aid becomes his tributary. Ah! And so, it is with all the things of this world. Here is some pleasant indulgence that I call to my help lightly and thoughtlessly. It is very agreeable and does what I wanted, and I try again. Still it answers. To my call. And then after a while I say, “I am going to give that up,” and I cannot. I have brought in a master when I thought I was only bringing in an ally that I could dismiss when in liked.” Alexander MacLaren

My---oh my. If you are not converted---Sin is your master. If, however---The Living Christ has lifted you from the dung heap---He has made you more and more alive unto righteousness---and more and more---dead to sin. Thanks be to God! We do not have to be Ahaz. Sadly, Ahaz kept choosing against an incredibly godly heritage--- A people of The LORD’S own preparing.

“When once the soul is brought to relish the excellency of the divine nature, it will naturally incline to God in every way. It will seek to be with him and enjoy him. It will be glad that he is happy. It will desire his glory, and desire to do his will in all things. To once taste the loveliness of God makes one long more for it.” Jonathan Edwards

“If you fear your love is not sincere, consider: Do you study to please him? Do you fear to offend him? Do you prize his presence and mourn his absence? Do not be discouraged, your love for God is infallibly sincere.” Samuel Annesley

“Many who should joy in God above all things, act as if there were no God in heaven when their outward comforts are taken from them. They act as if there were no providence to rule the world and as if they had no Father in covenant with them. We must rely and depend upon him above all things! Whatever we trust most, that is our god!” Richard Sibbes

Grace and Peace in Jesus Christ Our Risen LORD, Pastor Jason