Tag: true repentance
Scripture reading for May 7th: Ezra 9-10
“For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.” Ezra 7:10
Ezra was a devoted man with a calling on his life. He understood from the study of God’s Word, that obedience brought blessing and disobedience brought a curse. (Deuteronomy 28:1-2, 14-15) He had devoted himself to obey the Law of the Lord and to teach those in Israel to do the same. God’s gracious hand was upon him as he set out for Jerusalem. (Ezra 8:22) His task was primarily spiritual restoration. The broken down state of the Temple was a symptom of the deterioration of the spiritual life of God’s people and the result of forsaking obedience to the Law of God.
As Ezra arrived in Jerusalem and set things in order, it came to his attention that the priests and Levites had not kept themselves separate from the pagan peoples and practices of the Canaanites. They had inter-married and this had led to idolatry and unfaithfulness to the Lord. (Ezra 9:1-2) Ezra responded by an immediate humbling of himself before the Lord. He tore his clothes, pulled hair from his head and beard, and sat down appalled until evening. Others who “trembled at the words of the God of Israel” sat with him. (Ezra 9:3-4) Ezra then prayed a prayer of confession and repentance that pours out the grief and anguish that they were feeling for the sins among God’s people. (Ezra 9:6-15)
Repentance isn’t complete with just “trembling at the Word of God”. Conviction of sin is only the first part and if genuine, it leads to action. In this case, a convocation was called in three days to deal with this situation and an investigation brought out those who had disobeyed the Lord. One hundred eleven men are listed as guilty of mixed marriages and they agreed to send their wives away. What a serious turn-around and costly action was taken to bring God’s blessing on His people again! Would that we all would “tremble at the Word of the Lord!” May our trembling lead to action that brings true repentance that leaves no regrets. (2 Corinthians 7:9-11)
Scripture reading for March 25: 1st Samuel 27-31
Have you ever been curious about what will happen in the future? Our world is full of curious people and everyone would like to know about tomorrow. If we had that information, we feel that we could get rich, save ourselves from disaster, or control the world. God warns us not to seek any source other than Himself for this information! (Leviticus 19:31) He is the only source of Truth because He alone knows the things to come! (Isaiah 42:9)
Saul, tormented by the evil spirit that came as a result of his rebellion, sought information about the future by disguising himself and going to visit a medium. He had tried to seek the Lord first, but God didn’t speak through the priests or prophets. (1st Samuel 28:5-6) He was terrified and desperate for direction. He, himself, had banned all witches, mediums, and sorcerers from the land in accordance with the law of God. His disobedience showed that obedience to God was still not a priority in his life.
This incident is very perplexing because it seems that God allows the spirit of Samuel to be brought up from the dead through this medium. Samuel speaks prophetically to King Saul one last time, pronouncing his coming death the next day. (1st Samuel 28:16-19) Again, God’s Word is true and truth about what happened and will happen comes from Him alone. He can record our sin truthfully and still show mercy to us in the midst of our sin by speaking truth. When we are in rebellion and under God’s judgment, truth is hard to face. True repentance must be sought while the Lord may be found! (Psalm 32:6-7)
True to the Word of Samuel, Saul and his sons die the next day. Saul is wounded and asks his armor bearer to put him out of his misery. The armor bearer was terrified and refused, so Saul fell on his own spear, taking his own life! Even in his death, he took matters into his own hands! (1st Samuel 31:2-6)
The life and death of this first human king of Israel has much to teach us. Saul’s anointing by Samuel to become king was a wonderful opportunity to rule and lead under God’s guidance. Saul’s choices to disobey God’s clear instructions brought consequences that eventually lead to further rebellion and death by suicide. Someone has said, “sin truly takes us further than we want to go, holds us longer that we want to stay, and exacts a price higher than we want to pay”.
If you are doing something in clear disobedience to the Word of God, take time right now to get down on your knees and ask the Lord for mercy! God gives grace to the humble. Repentance is more than just saying you are sorry, it is getting up to go a new direction of willing obedience! (2nd Corinthians 7:9-11) Without repentance, there is no forgiveness of sins! “But if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1st John 1:9)