2 Chronicles 15:1-7 (NKJV)
1 Now the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded.
2 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, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. 3 For a long time Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law; 4 but when in their trouble they turned to the LORD God of Israel, and sought Him, He was found by them. 5 And in those times there was no peace to the one who went out, nor to the one who came in, but great turmoil was on all the inhabitants of the lands. 6 So nation was destroyed by nation, and city by city, for God troubled them with every adversity. 7 But you, be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded!”
When we read the Old Testament we can learn from Israel’s experiences as examples. This snippet in time gives us a glimpse of the very real concept of “Spiritual cause and effect.” The once great nation of Israel has imploded over the previous 500 years or so and is here reduced to a small province in Persia; Judah. The surrounding nations are in constant conflict with one another. There is no land to retreat to which might be peaceful and safe. Israel fears for its very existence and is ready to make a treaty with Syria for protection.
This “effect” of fear, no peace, and great turmoil has been caused by verses 2 and 3. The shepherd become king, David has long since been replaced with a succession of kings who slowly stopped trusting in God for provision and security and moved toward worldly possessions, worldly influence, and a faith in faith – which is the assumption of Godly ideals without a real knowledge or relationship with Him. It was not that Israel did not have priests but these had become false teachers; assuming elements of the faiths of other nations until the Law was all but abandon. The cause then is not a retaliating God but that in the absence of relationship and obedience to God the people have set themselves up for problems; “The LORD is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.” This is not as much an action of God but rather the evidence of spiritual cause and effect.
So how should we make use of this… One, we might realize God never abandon or broke His covenant with Israel. He was always with them (“I will never leave you nor forsake you”) but by their false religion trusting in other things, they had rendered God to no effect. Next the promise is real, “if you seek Him, He will be found by you.” Finally in seeking be careful to find a teacher who is not offering faith in faith. Doctrines of men can be changed to fit the social emotion of the moment in fact because they are “of men.” Do not seek to make a treaty with the house of what’s happening now. While there are very good pastors around, the most perfect teacher I know is the Holy Spirit; The Word of God said, “ … I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jeremiah 31:33-34 )
Our cause action is always to receive from the Holy Spirit in surrender. We cannot achieve God’s Grace; it is a gift. We cannot act with power to gain God’s promises; they are free and true as we yield to His Grace. Trust is not faith in faith, but surrender to the truth that this promise has already been given. In Jeremiah 31, we have been given “spiritual hands” in Christ Jesus. Be strong in opening those hands to His Spirit for your work shall be rewarded. This reward of calm, confident, peace and security and fulfillment of His promises… cause and effect.