This week’s lesson from 2 Chronicles 15: 1-7 seems especially obscure and challenging. Yet, I think we can find some nuggets to share with our class.So far this month, we’ve determined that:
  • God’s Spirit (God’s Ruach, his breath) is in everyone.  Not everyone is aware of God’s Spirit’s presence – a part of salvation is the awareness that God is in us.
  • God’s Spirit can speak into a community through leaders and community members alike, to help give direction and identity to the people of God.
  • God’s Spirit is absolutely necessary in hearing and responding to God’s call.

So, in today’s scripture from 2 Chronicles 15:1-7, we find the first and last mention of Azariah, son of Oded.  Azariah has a message for Asa, King of Judah, and the people of Judah.  Simply put, if you’re with God, then God will be with you.  If you’re not with God, God will not be found.  While God could be understood as temperamental or this message could be interpreted as an “earn your salvation” theology, we know there must be more to this. After all, if this was literally the way God behaved, what hope would anyone have?

Yet, the Spirit gave this particular message to Azariah, so there certainly is truth to be found.  The way I read it, the Spirit’s message for Azariah to Judah is this:  “Don’t be surprised if you live in a God forsaken land.  If you have forsaken me and put your faith in your own works or in the traditions and customs of your neighbors, you will not find me in those.  Yet, if you put your whole faith in me and that I keep my promises, you will be more aware of my presence and goodness than you can imagine.”

Azariah enters and leaves the story within seven verses.  But God uses him.  What about us?  Does God still speak through us?

I’ve provided a link to a short blog that reflects further on how, if we listen close enough, we all have a message from God.  The author uses a long running CBS feature, “Everyone has a Story” as a discussion starter.  I’ve included a clip from one of the segments here.

Does everyone have a story?  Can God be found in that story?  Are we willing to listen with an open heart and open mind to God’s Spirit in those stories?

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