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Posts Tagged ‘repentance’

So there was this evil king in Bible days who ordered the placement of pagan idols placed throughout the land of southern Israel. Some of the idols were made to appear disgustingly immoral. And then the king led his people in bowing down to worship them.

This evil king placed pagan altars in the Jerusalem temple and worshiped false gods in the place God had reserved for Himself.

It gets worse.

This evil king sacrificed his children in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom outside of Jerusalem, he practiced divination and witchcraft, sought omens, and consulted mediums and spiritists.

He was one messed-up dude and was dragging his nation down with him.

II Chronicles 32:10 says the Lord spoke to King Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention.

Verse 11 says the Lord brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon.

If you’re like me, you probably think that Manasseh should be grateful that he didn’t get killed in Jerusalem since he certainly deserved it.

A murderer of his own children? A disciple and patron of witchcraft? A blasphemer who used wealth given him by God to directly insult God in His own house?

Would our hearts yearn for a restored relationship with such an evil scoundrel?

Doubtful.

In fact, we’d probably like the fact that Manesseh was “getting it.”

What happened in the years following the evil king’s capture was just one more example, however, of why it’s good that God is in charge, not us.

He’s WAY more gracious than we’ll ever be.

Check out what happens in vv. 12-13:

In his distress, he (Manasseh) sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors. And when he prayed to Him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God.”

Wow.

Perhaps the most evil king in Israel’s history is brought to his knees by personal tragedy and a genuinely humble repentance occurred. In keeping with God’s promise of I John 1:9, Manasseh’s sincere confession of sin and desire for relationship led God to do what you and I probably wouldn’t have done.

God restored him to his land and his place of authority.

Listen, some people you know have really gone off the deep end of sin. Their choices might even disgust you and distance them from your lives.

If the day comes, however, that distress prompts their humble seeking of the Lord, please don’t write them off as too far gone.

If God can forgive and restore Manasseh, or a murderous bounty hunter named Saul, then you and I can accept the formerly evil scoundrel in your circle of influence who did disgusting things.

After all, you and I are just as responsible for Christ’s death as are the scoundrels and God forgave us.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Intellectually, we know that repentance is not only for drug addicts, fornicators, serial gossipers and others wallowing in cesspools of sin.

But actually internalizing the ongoing need that EVERY believer has for repentance is more of a struggle.

We see SO many people around us with lifestyles that resemble grease rags amidst just-washed dinner napkins. And it is quite convenient emotionally to believe the lie that an angry God is going to throw only the dirtiest rags into the eternal incinerator rather than ourselves.

If we avoid the flames, though, it’s not because we’re less dirty than Mr. or Mrs. Grease Rag.

For if we stand before God with even one tiny little spot of sin still showing on the back hem of our life garment, we’re going down.

There is only one way to be right with God and that is to have our noses pointed toward Him at all times and the covering of His Son’s blood enveloping us.

That’s what repentance does. It turns our noses from sniffing after the garbage of this world and has us sniffing after the pleasing aroma of a life surrendered to God and His Son Jesus Christ.

For it’s the 100 percent covering of Christ’s perfect blood that saves us, not our imperfect capacity to avoid the splatter stains of sin.

I John 1:9 promises that if a believer repents by confessing his or her sin, God will faithfully forgive.

This promise is for the redeemed, not just for the unsaved seeking eternal life.

You and I typically strive to have clean “wedding clothes” on our soul’s back so that we’re ready should the trumpet blast and Jesus appears in the heavens.

But we mess up now and then. In different ways but with the same results — we’re tainted by sin.

That’s when we — yes, we Christians — need to repent by admitting our sin to God, asking Him to forgive us and trusting that He will.

It’s the same promise spoken through the prophet Ezekial 600 years before Christ. You can check it out at this link.

The measure of our willingness to repent is a measure of spiritual maturity. Please join me in praying for more readiness to seek God’s forgiveness after we’ve crossed the line into sin whether it is via gossiping, lusting, coveting, bitterness-holding or whatever.

It might be happening with less frequency, but it still happens and will continue until we cross the finish line of our race on earth.

Memorize Acts 3:19 and you’ll be more likely to, as needed, repent so that times of refreshing might come from the Lord.

As always, I love you
Martin

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