Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Bad Influence and It's Terrible Price

There are times when Scripture shocks me. What caused me to shudder recently was a verse in 2 Kings written about the time during Josiah's reign.

Josiah was king of Judah. He tried hard to do everything right. He worked diligently to undo all the idolatry of the kings before him. If anyone could have "bought" mercy for Judah by his good deeds, it would've been Josiah. Mercy, however, comes from God alone.

God rewarded Josiah for his faithfulness, and spared him the worst of times, but He had sad news for him.  

"However, the Lord did not turn from the fierceness of His great wrath with which His anger burned against Judah, because of all the provocations with which Manasseh had provoked Him." 2 Kings 23:26 nasb

Manasseh became king of Judah when he was twelve years old. His idolatry was extreme. Scripture tells us his wickedness was "more than all the Amorites who were before him." (2 Kings 21:11) He was worse than the worst pagans.

Manasseh wasn't just evil privately. He did evil in public. He encouraged all the people of Judah to follow along with him, and they did.

Manasseh "made his sons pass through the fire". Those words tell us that Manasseh burned more than one of his sons as a human sacrifice to the idol Molech. 

He trivialized the gift of life to the extreme.

Eventually, God had enough of unheeded calls for repentance, so He sent the Assyrians to capture Manasseh and carry him, in chains, to Babylon.

At last, in exile, Manasseh repented and cried out to God. God heard his cries, brought him back to Jerusalem, and allowed him to reign as king again. Manasseh did many good things after his return. He destroyed idols, restored the altar of God, and ordered the people to return to the Lord.

Manasseh's good deeds were too little, too late. He had led the people into the worst kind of idolatry, and they refused to be led back out of it.

They continued to worship idols.

They continued to burn children alive at the altars of idols.

They continue to spill innocent blood as if it were nothing more than water.

That precious blood was more than water to God.

Our Lord did not view their sin casually. There was a price to be paid and neither Manasseh's late repentance nor Josiah's faithfulness could hold back judgment. Only widespread repentance and revival could do that. 

When it finally came, judgment was devastating. Jerusalem was burned and leveled.

It's easily forgotten, but our sin has wide-ranging effects and long-lasting consequences. 

As Manasseh learned, those consequences are greatest when we lead others into sin. If the people Manasseh led astray had turned back to God, judgment could have been avoided. They did not. Repentance could not be accomplished by royal decree.

In that same way, the innocent blood that has been spilled in this country has not been overlooked by God. Our idolatry and immorality have not gone unnoticed. We are no better than Judah in her later days. We deserve judgment no less.

Repentance and revival are critical if our nation is to return to her former glory, and they cannot be accomplished by executive order. Each one of us must allow God to search our hearts, repent of our sin, and turn back to Him.

Today, let's admit our own personal sin and truly repent. Let's ask God to cleanse us and keep us from further sin, including that of bad influence. Pray, too, for sweeping repentance and revival that lasts until all the work of repentance is done.
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: The Orange Tutorial
Here's the link to the worldwide prayer guide: The Prayer List 

#revival #reviveAmerica #Judah #disciple #repentance