Sunday, June 14, 2015

God blesses those who repent



2 Chronicles 33:1–34:33, 1 John 2:18–27, Psalm 105:1–22

My father used to say, “There is no fool like an old fool.” I wondered if he expected fools would not live very long, or that fools smarten up before they get old.

The kings of ancient Israel illustrate both thoughts. The godly kings seemed to live and reign longer than the ungodly. Manasseh was an exception, but there was a reason for this. He was only twelve when he began to reign and his rule lasted fifty-five years in Jerusalem. But he was an evil king who worshiped idols and served them and the host of heaven. Not only that, he burned his sons as an offering, used fortune-telling and omens and sorcery, and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. “He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger” and “led Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem astray, to do more evil than the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the people of Israel.” (2 Chronicles 33:1-9)

The Lord spoke to this king and his people, but they paid no attention. So He brought the army of Assyria. Manasseh was captured and taken to Babylon. In distress, he prayed to God and humbled himself greatly. God was moved, heard his plea and brought him again to Jerusalem. “Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.” (2 Chronicles 33:10–13)

His faith was proved by his actions. He took away the foreign gods and idols from the house of the Lord, threw out all their altars, and restored the altar of the Lord, offering peace offerings and thanksgiving. He also commanded Judah to serve the Lord. (2 Chronicles 33:15–16)

This seems to be the reason this king, even though he started out badly, was able to live and reign a long time. His story also shows that there is hope for even the worst of sinners. God will restore anyone who repents.

Manasseh’s son Amon began to reign at age twenty-two, but lasted only two years. He did the same evil things as his father but did not humble himself as his father. Instead, he piled up guilt and his servants conspired and put him to death in his house. (2 Chronicles 33:21–24)

His son Josiah took the throne at age eight, reigning thirty-one years and doing what God wanted and seeking the Lord immediately. When he was twelve, he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of idolatry and clean out the temple of the Lord. While that happened, the workers found the book of the Law and took it to him. When Josiah heard God’s Word, he tore his clothes and sought understanding concerning what God would do because of their disobedience to it.

He was told, “Regarding the words that you have heard, because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God when you heard his words against this place and its inhabitants, and you have humbled yourself before me and have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, declares the Lord. Behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring upon this place and its inhabitants.” (2 Chronicles 34:26–28)

Josiah responded well. He went to the house of the Lord and read all the words of the Covenant. He then made a covenant to walk after the Lord and to keep his commandments with all his heart and soul. (2 Chronicles 34:30–31) Josiah, like Manasseh, learned the amazing power of grace.

Today’s NT reading is also encouraging. It says that when I trust the Lord, “the anointing that I received from Him abides in me, and I have no need that anyone should teach me. But as His anointing teaches me about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught me, I should abide in him.” (1 John 2:27, personalized)

Today was a blessing all day, starting with the above from God’s Word and ending with reading it again. For this, I offer the same praise to God as does the psalmist who wrote: “Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!  . . . He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth. He remembers his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations . . . .” (Psalm 105:1-2, 7–8)


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