Monday, June 13, 2011

Connecting Life with Faith: Facing Judgment, Repentance and Rulers


We are living in a time when we see leaders rise and fall so easily.  We see President Obama constantly riding a roller coaster of fame and prestige, now facing the realities of his own actions.  The internet continually bringing us the play by play of the lives of politicians, celebrities, athletes, and super stars.  Recently we have seen stars like Charlie Sheen and pseudo star/ politician Arnold Schwarzenegger grab the attention of millions maybe billions across the globe, as they climb and plummet only to wind up even more famous or infamous in the aftermath.  It is becoming a very twisted world out there.

We are living in a time when humanity`s need for leaders is great.  We have lifted up many for the sake of making our nations greater. We have looked to businessmen, entertainers, actors, political figures of all shapes, sizes and lifestyles.  Perhaps we have overlooked the humble leader, the learned and wise leader, the leader who has abstained from evil and not lifted his eyes to an idol or bowed before the world system.

If a person is not invested in this world, they simply cannot be corrupted.  They need only have heaven before them and the duty to work for the benefit of those they have charge of. For they too will have to give an account before the Almighty.

The tale of the wicked king Manasseh comes to mind.
I highlighted some parts in bold which I will discuss. But please read the whole account.

2 Chronicles 33
Manasseh King of Judah

1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. 2 He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, following the detestable practices of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites. 3 He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had demolished; he also erected altars to the Baals and made Asherah poles. He bowed down to all the starry hosts and worshiped them. 4 He built altars in the temple of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, “My Name will remain in Jerusalem forever.” 5 In both courts of the temple of the LORD, he built altars to all the starry hosts. 6 He sacrificed his children in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced divination and witchcraft, sought omens, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD, arousing his anger.
7 He took the image he had made and put it in God’s temple, of which God had said to David and to his son Solomon, “In this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my Name forever. 8 I will not again make the feet of the Israelites leave the land I assigned to your ancestors, if only they will be careful to do everything I commanded them concerning all the laws, decrees and regulations given through Moses.” 9 But Manasseh led Judah and the people of Jerusalem astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the LORD had destroyed before the Israelites.

10 The LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. 11 So 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. 12 In his distress he sought the favor of the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors. 13 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.
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Manasseh was a young king, crowned at 12 years of age.  Probably never knew a hard day`s work in his life.  He was passionate in his wicked ways.  He would even go to the extreme of sacrificing his own children in order to get the desires of his heart.  Not only did Manasseh participate in great evil but he passed laws, decrees and promoted his ways to the entire people of Judah so much so that they were even more evil than any nation had ever been before them.  It says that God spoke to Manasseh. God was sending messages but they were given no attention.  Sound familar? So God was forced to bring distress upon His people in order to ultimately spare them. Yet Manasseh in all his evil was sincere in his humility, as he sought God, and when he saw God`s deliverance he was forever changed.  This is the great benefit of judgment.  It brings forth justice and good for the purpose of God.  While it is fearful and awful, judgment restores the world to order, as you can see from the results here.  Now from that moment on Manasseh began to do the works of refortifying and protecting his people, blessing them and bringing them back to God.

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14 Afterward he rebuilt the outer wall of the City of David, west of the Gihon spring in the valley, as far as the entrance of the Fish Gate and encircling the hill of Ophel; he also made it much higher. He stationed military commanders in all the fortified cities in Judah.
15 He got rid of the foreign gods and removed the image from the temple of the LORD, as well as all the altars he had built on the temple hill and in Jerusalem; and he threw them out of the city. 16 Then he restored the altar of the LORD and sacrificed fellowship offerings and thank offerings on it, and told Judah to serve the LORD, the God of Israel. 17 The people, however, continued to sacrifice at the high places, but only to the LORD their God.
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This is an amazing account of God`s grace.  Can you imagine this today? In Japan, what would happen if the leaders were able to repent and stop the lies and cover ups? How long will they have to despair until they come to the reality that they can no longer control or even recover the situation? In America, a land that has the great fortune of having many that belong God, what would happen if the leaders were to repent and change the laws and effect the culture for Christ? How long must a nation despair until it is brought to repentance? 

Can we not learn from Manasseh? Is there still time for America? Japan? the World?

It starts with the leaders and rulers.  Repentance begins with them, the ones who stand before the multitudes. I often hear the message of repentance buzzing around Christian churches and circles but the reality is that repentance is not talking about repenting, it is ACTION.  It is mobilization to stop the evil practices that are in place.  It is removal of the idols from the high places, it is as much physical as it is spiritual. 

So what are we waiting for?!

Repent and we shall spare ourselves much trouble. Repent and we will see the Kingdom of God before us.
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