- Dearly Beloved,
"In [Manasseh's] distress he sought the favor of the LORD his God and
humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. 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" (2 Chronicles 33:12-13 NIV).
"I will make them abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth because of
what Manasseh son of Hezekiah king of Judah did in Jerusalem" (Jeremiah
Our God is compassionate and forgiving (Daniel 9:9). Yet one has to be very
careful in relating with Him especially in keeping His commandments. The
reason is that if one sins against Him and later on repents, one would
still face the consequence of one's sins (Proverbs 11:21; 16:5).
The story of Manasseh attests to this. Manasseh was one of the worst kings
in Israel. He was the direct opposite of his godly father, Hezekiah. He did
many detestable things to provoke the Lord. Tradition has it that he was
the one that killed prophet Isaiah. After God had warned him and his
people, and they did not heed to God's warning, God made him a prisoner in
the court of another powerful king. However, in his distress, he repented
and asked for God's forgiveness. The compassionate and forgiving God heard
his prayers and restored him back to his kingdom. He later spent his life
doing good things (see 2 Chronicles 33). Nevertheless, his people faced the
consequence of his atrocities (see Jeremiah 15). The Lord promised to make
them suffer because of what he did.
One should not view this as injustice on the part of God. The people also
had their own share of the blame, but that is not the emphasis here. The
emphasis is a particular repented and forgiven person was made as a
reference point for the impending judgment. This indicates that though God
forgave Manasseh, the punishment of his sins were still there.
The punishment of Manasseh's sins might not be directly on him, but the
cases of David and Paul were different. David committed the sins of
adultery and murder. When confronted by prophet Nathan, he repented and
said the prayer found in Psalm 51. Undoubtedly, his sins were forgiven, but
he paid dearly for them (2 Samuel 12:13-14; 13-21). Paul (formerly Saul)
persecuted the disciples of Jesus Christ. When he had an encounter with
God, God promised, "I will show him how much he must suffer for my name"
(Acts 9:16 NIV). He did suffer.
What are you doing now? Is it good or bad? You may be thinking of later
repentance. However, hear the words of Solomon: "Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into
judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil"
(Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 NIV).
In His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).
This message was first sent out on November 14, 2004.
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).
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"I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have
sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body,
whether by life or by death. FOR TO ME, TO LIVE IS CHRIST AND TO DIE IS
GAIN" (Philippians 1:20-21, NIV).
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