Wednesday, June 27, 2012

June 27, 2012 … God Hears Repentance

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 1st Kings, Chapter 20-21 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passage: 1st Kings 20: 41-43 :[NIV] … 41 Then the prophet quickly removed the headband from his eyes, and the king of Israel [Ahab] recognized him as one of the prophets. 42 He said to the king, "This is what the Lord says: 'You have set free a man I had determined should die. Therefore it is your life for his life, your people for his people.'" 43 Sullen and angry, the king of Israel went to his palace in Samaria.
Highlight Passage #2: 1st Kings 21: 27-29 :[NIV] … 27 When Ahab heard these words [i.e., the prophesy of Elijah as to the elimination of Ahab and Jezebel], he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly. 28 Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: 29 "Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son." 

My Journal for Today: If you’re reading along with me in this journal entry of my chronological reading plan today, I charge you to read and mediate on the two chapters from 1st Kings which I was led to study this day and to which I link you above. And when you do, I think you’ll be impressed, as was I, as to the reality of the Bible, not pulling any punches about what was going on during the reign of Ahab and Jezebel in the times of Elijah, God’s prophet.

In these chapters we read how God was trying to teach Ahab a lesson. The Lord allowed Ahab to overwhelm a vastly superior enemy force, the Arameans; and God even gave Ahab this lesson twice, the last time really showing Ahab that following God’s will and His way is the ONLY WAY to success in life. But Ahab was totally bamboozled by his queen Jezebel, the crafty weasel of a wife who had Ahab totally wrapped around her selfish and manipulative fingers. And in these chapters we read how this idolatrous wench even maneuvered a Godly man, Naboth, to be murdered and to take his ancestor’s lands. Jezebel was relentless and ruthless in influencing Ahab into following her worship of Baal and Asherah; and Ahab simply followed her influence down the wretched path of idolatry, leading the Northern Kingdom of Israel to disaster.

 However, right at the end of Chapter 21 of 1st Kings, in verses 27-29, we read a very revealing passage about the loving and forgiving nature of our God. Ahab heard the prophesy of doom, which Elijah was led to speak to the northern king; and Elijah’s proclamation caused Ahab to repent in true brokenness. And we read of his honest repentance in this passage; and we see God’s response, being willing to reduce the punishment of death which would be put upon Jezebel and the rest of Ahab’s family.

The lessons from these two chapters, and especially from this latter passage, is that absolute and total surrender to the one, true God is essential as we live, surrounded by a world of idolatry and evil; and God will not tolerate any who war with Him and mock His holiness with their unholy surrender to selfishness and evil and worthless gods.  However, there is a second – incredibly hopeful – message which comes out loud and clear in these last two verses of Chapter 21; and that is that God’s loving grace is always available, along with His willingness to dole it out as a free gift, to any who come to Him with a truly repentant heart, surrendering and seeking the Lord’s mercy.

Now, did God ultimately spare Ahab, in this temporary episode of repentance, forever? No; and if one reads on ahead in 1st Kings, Chapter 22, as a student of God’s truth, one will see that Ahab’s repentance was later eclipsed by a backsliding of selfishness as he had one of God’s prophets, Micaiah, imprisoned, trying to force him to take back God’s prophesy of Ahab’s death. And even though God had held off Ahab’s demise for a period of time because the repentance we read about above, ultimately Ahab’s selfish and God-ignoring ways became his undoing.

Again my lesions today - #1 … Obey God’s way AT ALL TIMES and IN ALL WAYS!! And #2, when I’m convicted of breeching God’s will, REPENT HONESTLY AND COMPLETELY!! …

And if we, as saved and Sainted sinners, can live, as much as we can, by these two provisions of truth, as illustrated by today’s history lesson, we can – and will – walk in the victory Christ has won for us on the cross. And may God have mercy on all of us who are the remnant of believers in this very idolatrous and unbelieving world.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, have mercy on Your people, struggling to follow Your ways and surrounded by forces mocking Your truth daily. Amen

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