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What Happens When We Neglect the Bible 

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Second Chronicles 15.1–7

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • April 7, In the year of our Lord, 2013


  1. To appreciate that Scripture, let us back up in the text. 
    1. Asa had begun a Restoration Movement in Judah,

      14.4 He commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers, and to observe the law and the commandment. 5 He also removed the high places and the incense altars from all the cities of Judah, and the kingdom was quiet under him (2Ch 14.4, 5).

    2. Asa sought the Lord in many ways,
      1. including when an army of 1.3 million came from Ethiopia to attack Judah,

        14.11 And Asa cried out to the Lord his God, and said, “Lord, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You!” (2Ch 14.11).

      2. That is when the Lord sent Azariah the prophet to Asa,
        1. telling him that the Lord was with him,
        2. while he was with the Lord,
          1. explaining that if you seek the Lord,
          2. He will let you find Him, but
            1. if you forsake the Lord,
            2. He will forsake you.
  2. Then Azariah continued, explaining former conditions in Israel,

    15.3 “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” (2Ch 15.3, 4).

    1. The prophet reminded King Asa of the spiritual famine in Israel,
      1. consisting of three missing things:
        1. They were without the true God,
          1. worshiping and following idols instead;
        2. They were without teaching,
          1. who would instruct them in God’s will;
        3. They were without law,
          1. without God’s law.
      2. If a person, or a nation, or a church
        1. goes without God, or without teaching, or without His law,
        2. that person or institution will be without the other two items.
      3. How then can you do well when you
        1. neglect the Creator and
        2. neglect what He gave for successful living?
    2. In verse 4, the prophet referenced something that Asa knew about,
      1. the troublesome times of Israel, because
      2. of the spiritual famine the prophet had just revealed.
    3. Nevertheless, in the midst of that trouble,
      1. if they turned to the Lord,
        1. He was found by them, and
        2. He blessed them,
      2. implying that such would be true for Asa and Judah.
    4. Next, Azariah explained the kind of trouble Israel had,

      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” (2Ch 15.5, 6).

      1. They had no peace.
      2. They had great turmoil.
      3. Nations fought one another and cities fought one another.
        1. The prophet pointed out that God troubled Israel, because they had
          1. forsaken Him,
          2. forsaken His teaching, and
          3. forsaken His law.
        2. Do I need to tell you
          1. that this holds true for not only ancient Israel, but
          2. for spiritual Israel, the church and
            1. for all nations, because
            2. verse 6 declared that the nations fought one another.
              1. This message was not only about Israel, but
              2. all the nations of the Earth.
    5. However, Asa was leading Judah in the right direction.
      1. Therefore, the prophet encouraged him,

        7 “But you, be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded!” (2Ch 15.7).

      2. Asa
        1. keep seeking the Lord,
        2. keep encouraging teaching, and
        3. keep His law before the people.
      3. In time, such work brings a reward,
        1. such as having peace
        2. rather than turmoil.
  3. Remember the Pharaoh who initiated the slavery of Israel? 
    1. Exodus 1 provides profound insight into why he sought to enslave them,

      8 Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph (Exo 1.8).

    2. His ignorance of how the Lord worked through Joseph,
      1. led him to persecute God’s people.
      2. This event was so significant that Stephen referred to it,

        18 “…another king arose who did not know Joseph. 19 This man dealt treacherously with our people, and oppressed our forefathers, making them expose their babies, so that they might not live” (Acts 7.18, 19).

    3. When people do not know biblical history,
      1. they do evil things, and
      2. persecute the people of God.
  4. The Book of Judges shows that was not only an Egyptian problem,

    10 When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel. 11 Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord… (Jdg 2.10, 11).

    1. The Book of Judges then presents an endless cycle
      1. of the unfaithfulness of Israel,
      2. of the Lord’s punishing them,
      3. of their return to the Lord,
      4. of their faithfulness during the life of a judge,
        1. then of their neglect of the Lord and His law again
        2. when the judge dies.
  5. Proverbs 1 also lays out before us 
    1. the folly of failing to live by the wisdom of God
    2. as revealed in the word of God,

      7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
      But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
      (Pro 1.7)

      28 “Then they will call on me [wisdom], but I will not answer;
      They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.
      29 Because they hated knowledge
      And did not choose the fear of the Lord,
      30 They would have none of my counsel
      And despised my every rebuke.
      31 Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way,
      And be filled to the full with their own fancies.
      (Pro 1.28–31)

  6. Hosea 4 ought to give us something to think about 
    1. in our current generation, for
    2. I believe we can see Hosea’s word coming to pass
      1. in our nation, and
      2. in the church,

        6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
        Because you have rejected knowledge,
        I also will reject you from being priest for Me;
        Because you have forgotten the law of your God,
        I also will forget your children.
        (Hos 4.6)

        1. People destroy themselves
        2. when they do not know God and His word!
  7. If we do not want God’s word running our lives, 
    1. He will make sure that is what happens,
    2. according to Amos 8.
      1. This passage should frighten us
      2. into reading all of God’s word and living it,

        11 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord God,
        “That I will send a famine on the land,
        Not a famine of bread,
        Nor a thirst for water,
        But of hearing the words of the Lord.
        12 They shall wander from sea to sea,
        And from north to east;
        They shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord,
        But shall not find it.
        13 In that day the fair virgins
        And strong young men
        Shall faint from thirst.
        14 Those who swear by the sin of Samaria,
        Who say,
        “As your god lives, O Dan!‘
        And, ‘As the way of Beersheba lives!’
        They shall fall and never rise again.”
        (Amos 8.11–14)

        1. So then what happened to Israel?
        2. The once great nation of God’s people suffered endlessly,
          1. just as He had prophesied in the Law, and
          2. in this passage from Isaiah,

            13 Therefore my people have gone into captivity,
            Because they have no knowledge;
            Their honorable men are famished,
            And their multitude dried up with thirst.
            (Isa 5.13)

  8. Romans 1 speaks of the non-Jewish world, and 
    1. it is not a pretty picture.
    2. I know of no other passage of Scripture
      1. that paints a more accurate picture of Western society, and
      2. the Holy Spirit revealed why these horrible conditions exist,

        20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened…

        24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves…

        26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

        28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful (Rom 1.20–31).

        1. Open virtually any newspaper,
        2. read any newsmagazine,
        3. watch any evening news channel, and
          1. see Romans 1.18–32 in action, and
          2. it is because of rejecting God,
            1. which comes from neglecting His word,
            2. not only in the world, but
              1. among Christians.
  9. However, listen to the world, and 
    1. they cannot figure why these problems exist.
      1. Listen to them analyze the problem.
      2. Then listen to them offer the solution.
    2. They want
      1. more tax dollars,
      2. more psychology,
      3. more political correctness,
      4. more education, and
        1. we give it,
        2. believing they will then fix the problem.
    3. However, listen to the wisdom of Solomon in Proverbs 4,
      1. who shows that the world cannot fix societal problems, because
      2. they live in the darkness,

        19 The way of the wicked is like darkness;
        They do not know what makes them stumble.
        (Pro 4.19)

    4. Deuteronomy 28 shows what happens when we fail to obey the Lord,

      28 “The Lord will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of heart” (Deu 28.28).

      1. Those who neglect the word
      2. will not obey the Lord by accident.
        1. Therefore, expect to see
          1. madness,
          2. spiritual/mental blindness, and
          3. confused hearts
        2. to increase.
  10. Ephesians 4 reminds us Christians that we have not so learned Christ. 
    1. We know that if we follow the teachings of the Scriptures,
    2. these problems shall not plague our society,
      1. except when people persecute us for following Christ,

        17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness (Eph 4.17–24).

  11. There is a great day coming, 
    1. which will usher in eternity for all of us.
    2. Then whatever we have let influence us,
      1. shall be brought up that Day, and
      2. God shall judge us accordingly.
        1. We are hear for a short time, but
        2. it determines our eternity.
  12. What are you doing that is so important you cannot read the Bible? 
    1. Forsake whatever you have to forsake to get back into reading the Scriptures.
    2. Treasure the words of His mouth more than your necessary food (Job 23.12).
    3. Remember that we do not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
  13. Today, start to follow Jesus. 
    1. Today, renew yourself to follow your Master and Lord.
    2. Today, learn from Him how to live, and not from the world.