September 1

 

Repentance and Renewal

 

2 Chronicles 29, 30; 2 Kings 18-20

 

††††††††††† KEY VERSE: The Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him.

n      2 Chronicles 30:9

 

After Solomonís death in 931 B.C. the people of Israel struggled through many difficult years. The tribes were divided. Ten of them retained the name Israel. The other two, Judah and Benjamin, including Jerusalem, were called Judah. They all went from being one strong nation to becoming two weak ones.

The problem was mainly a lack of godly leadership. Kings like Jeroboam I and Ahaz ignored the worship of the Lord God and restored the worship of idols. Both the northern and the southern kingdoms were soon in the grip of idolatry. Golden calves were once again worshiped instead of the living God who had led them out of Egypt.

Funerals do solve some problems. King Ahaz died and his son Hezekiah took over. Quickly the new king condemned the worship of idols, had the temple cleaned and restored the worship of the Lord.

King Hezekiah invited the people of all twelve tribes to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. He made a heroic effort to call Godís people away from idolatry and back to the worship of God. Though most people in the northern tribes ignored the kingís plea for repentance, many in Judah did return to Jerusalem to share once again in the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

This bit of history reveals to us Godís great willingness to show mercy to those who repent and seek his forgiveness. Most of us experience a relapse in our faith journey. The good news is that when we become weary of our idolatrous ways, and turn to God for mercy, he will not turn his face from us in disgust but will receive us with open arms. He delights in restoring his children to faithful living!