2 Chronicles 16:1-10 – Is “Let Go & Let God” Completely Accurate Theologically?

Posted: August 25, 2020 in 99-Uncategorized

2 Chronicles 16:1-10

Asa Rules in Judah

Opening Illustration/Comments

One of the grand theological and philosophical questions that minds like mine struggle with is the one about whether we are to really “let go and let God” as the old saying from the late 90’s early 00’s that was popular among Christians. Let go and let God. Does that mean that we do nothing and sit back and let God handle it? We don’t have to anything then, right? I understand the point of not trying to solve everything ourselves. We must make God a priority in every area of our life including our problems. We must be in prayer to Him constantly – whether we are dealing with a problem or not. He must be the central focus of our lives. But the theological/philosophical question comes in as to how much or how far should we go before we let go and let God? However, many Christians may subscribe to the popular idea of “letting go” is to adopt a sort of spiritual inertia wherein we do nothing, say nothing, feel nothing, and simply live, allowing circumstances to roll over us however they may and then claim that whatever the outcome turns out to be that it was God’s will.

The Christian life, however, is a spiritual battle which the Bible exhorts us to prepare for and wage diligently. “Fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12); “Endure hardship . . . like a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:3); “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:11). Letting go, in the sense of sitting back and watching events unfold however they may, is not biblical.

Let me be clear in making that statement, I am not suggesting that we do this alone. From the start, God should be the first part of our problem solving equation. To begin with, Jesus was clear that, apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). The truth being imparted here is that we can do nothing of eternal value apart from Christ and the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. We can do lots of “stuff” and assume we’re doing it for God, but if we are doing it on our own power, we get the credit, and there is little or no eternal value to it. The picture of the vine and the branches in John 15 is very appropriate. Christ is the vine; we are the branches. Everything branches need to bring forth fruit comes from the vine—water, nutrients, the genetic material of life itself—while nothing is provided by the branches. The branches are simply something to hang the fruit on. The same is true of the Christian life. We are a conduit through which Christ displays His (not our) fruit.

However, in our struggles, in our problems of life, God expects us to be active participants in solving the problem. We can’t just go take a seat on the bench and watch the action unfold. God expects us to be on the field and into the game. Through our struggles, many of which we bring on ourselves but there are some caused by the sinfulness of others than are not our fault, we grow and mature in Christ. Through our active participation in solving our problems, God matures us to be an even better disciple and witness for Him. In our struggles, we learn our limitations and the power of prayer. In our struggles where we are in there fighting the fact, we can see God at work. When we are not active in the process of solving our problems, we may mistake Satan’s outcome as if it were the choosing of God.

For example, if a couple is having marital problems and we take a hands off attitude and then say whatever happens is God’s will is just wrong. What if the marriage falls apart? Is that God’s will? Is that consistent with the general tenor of the Bible? I think not. God sees the bond between husband and wife as an eternal one so if we are suffering through a tough patch in our marriage, we must be willing to work on it. We must be willing to change. We must be willing to seek unity with our spouse which may require growth in us by setting aside our childish pride of wanting everything to be about us. That’s spiritual growth toward God when we see our own sinfulness and desire to change it through God’s help. If we just sit back and do nothing, change nothing about ourselves, we will not have grown. In that process of saving the marriage, we will learn that humbling ourselves before God in prayer (and realizing that it’s not all about us) will allow us to be less dependent on ourselves and more dependent on Him.

So, letting go and letting God is not where we sit on the sidelines and do nothing. Letting go and letting God means that we depend on God to help us solve our problems where we are an active participant. Letting go and letting God means that we do not sit back and say what happens is God’s will either way.

It is that idea of the mix of us solving problems and depending on God at the same time that I thought about this morning when reading this passage, 2 Chronicles 16:1-10. Let’s read through it this morning, together, with that idea in mind:

Scripture Passage

Chapter 16

1 In the thirty-sixth year of Asa’s reign, King Baasha of Israel invaded Judah and fortified Ramah in order to prevent anyone from entering or leaving King Asa’s territory in Judah.

2 Asa responded by removing the silver and gold from the treasuries of the Temple of the Lord and the royal palace. He sent it to King Ben-hadad of Aram, who was ruling in Damascus, along with this message:

3 “Let there be a treaty[a] between you and me like the one between your father and my father. See, I am sending you silver and gold. Break your treaty with King Baasha of Israel so that he will leave me alone.”

4 Ben-hadad agreed to King Asa’s request and sent the commanders of his army to attack the towns of Israel. They conquered the towns of Ijon, Dan, Abel-beth-maacah,[b] and all the store cities in Naphtali. 5 As soon as Baasha of Israel heard what was happening, he abandoned his project of fortifying Ramah and stopped all work on it. 6 Then King Asa called out all the men of Judah to carry away the building stones and timbers that Baasha had been using to fortify Ramah. Asa used these materials to fortify the towns of Geba and Mizpah.

7 At that time Hanani the seer came to King Asa and told him, “Because you have put your trust in the king of Aram instead of in the Lord your God, you missed your chance to destroy the army of the king of Aram. 8 Don’t you remember what happened to the Ethiopians[c] and Libyans and their vast army, with all of their chariots and charioteers?[d] At that time you relied on the Lord, and he handed them over to you. 9 The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. What a fool you have been! From now on you will be at war.”

10 Asa became so angry with Hanani for saying this that he threw him into prison and put him in stocks. At that time Asa also began to oppress some of his people.

Passage Analysis

In this passage, we see that both Judah and Israel suffered from faithful forgetfulness. Although God had delivered them time and again, even when they were outnumbered, they repeatedly sought help by making alliances with the kings of pagan nations nearby, rather than seeking God’s direction first. That Asa, in this passage which occurs late in his reign as king of Judah, was evidence of a spiritual decline not only in the nation but also in Asa himself. With help from God alone, if we remember from two chapters earlier in 2 Chronicles, Asa had defeated a much larger Ethiopian force in open battle. Now, he only sought a human solution to his problem without even consulting God through prayer. Then, when confronted with the prophet, Hanani, Asa threw him in prison in a fit of prideful rage. It is not sin to use our human knowledge and efforts to solve our problems, but it is a sin when we trust our own power more than that of God, to think we know better than God, and/or to leave God completely out of our problem solving processes.  

Life Application

I think the thing that we need to takeaway this morning is that God must be part of our daily lives whether we are in problem mode or in a safe harbor. Prayer and daily conversation with God is essential to making wise decisions. Often, through earnest and daily prayer and conversation with God, He will help us to make the right decisions that help us avoid problem mode. However, there are just times in life where we are going to be in a crisis (either by our own purposeful or even inadvertent acts or by the acts of others where the results get dumped on us). In these times, we must seek God’s guidance. He will tell us WHAT TO DO. He expects us TO DO. We are the execution of God’s plan for our lives not a spectator. We should not use God as a last resort though – only praying when we have come to the end of our personally devised options. God and you and I should be in daily communication throughout each day. We must humbly seek Him. We must obey what He makes known to us as the proper course of action. He does expect us to let go and let God in the sense that He is the ruler of our lives each and every minute of every day. We must seek His wisdom in our world of troubles. We must then follow what He tells us to do. In that way, we know truly what God’s will for our lives is. In that way, we participate. It is through being in the game and on the field that we understand the game plan best.

Amen and Amen.

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