IF YOU HAVE MESSED UP, THERE'S STILL HOPE- 5- MANASSEH
Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD. 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. He built altars in the temple of the LORD. In both courts of the temple of the LORD, he built altars to all the starry hosts. He sacrificed his sons in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced sorcery, divination and witchcraft, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger. 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.
Manasseh was paralleled by few kings in his wickedness. He was one of the worst, if one reads of all his sinfulness. Can such a man ever find redemption? Probably not...but read on....
The LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. 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. In his distress he sought the favor of the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. 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. 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. 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.
Manasseh's story shows that there's redemption even for the worst, if they repent of their sins and wickedness and turn to the Lord and do what is just and right in his sight.
SO IF YOU HAVE MESSED UP, THERE'S STILL HOPE. REMEMBER, GOD CAN TURN YOUR FAILURES INTO SUCCESS.
GOOD DEEDS ARE OBVIOUS, AND EVEN THOSE THAT ARE NOT CANNOT BE HIDDEN- 6 - BARZILLAI & DAVID
"But show kindness to the sons of Barzillai of Gilead and let them be among those who eat at your table. They stood by me when I fled from your brother Absalom."(1 Kings 2:7)
When David had to flee the palace fearing his son Absalom, there were some who helped David. Barzillai the Gileadite was one of them. When David came to Mahanaim, among others, Barzillai brought bedding and bowls and articles of pottery. They also brought wheat and barley, flour and roasted grain, beans and lentils, honey and curds, sheep, and cheese from cows' milk for David and his people to eat.
David desired to honor Barzillai after he had gained victory over Absalom and told him to come along with him to Jerusalem so that he could provide for him, but Barzillai politely refused telling David that he was very old and would like to spend his last days at home.
Later it was time for David to die. So he called Solomon and instructed him regarding the affairs of the kingdom. Among the matters that David told Solomon were the words that we read in the title verse here.
"But show kindness to the sons of Barzillai of Gilead and let them be among those who eat at your table. They stood by me when I fled from your brother Absalom."
David did not forget the kindness of Barzillai during his distress and wanted to repay him in some way, so he kept that in mind even when he was very old and decided to honor Barzillai by giving his sons the privilege to eat at Solomon's table. Thus he re-payed the kindness that Barzillai had shown him while he was in trouble.
MORAL: REPAYING KINDNESS IS JUST AND RIGHT IN GOD'S SIGHT
Do what is right and good in the LORD's sight, so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers. (Deuteronomy 6:18)
Why is it so important to do what is right and good in the Lord's sight? Moses, here says that, it is intimately related to your wellbeing and the Lord's promise being fulfilled in your life.
Regarding a couple of kings of Judah, the Bible says,
Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God.(2 Chronicles 14:2)
This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah, doing what was good and right and faithful before the LORD his God.(2 Chronicles 31:20)
All the years that these kings did good and right, the Lord blessed them abundantly, rescued them from their enemies and gave them peace. But later on when they did wrong and did not trust in God, they paid the price for it.
In his latter years as king, Asa chose to befriend a wicked king and God sent a prophet to him who said,
"For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war."
King Hezekiah did an foolish thing of showing off all his treasures and riches to the envoys of a wicked Babylonian king and God had this to say to him,
The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your fathers have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the LORD.(2 Kings 20:17)
The Apostle Paul, writing to the Philippians exhorts them in this manner:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)
To the Church at Thessalonica, he again writes,
And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.(2 Thessalonians 3:13)
Surely, doing good and right is a pleasant sacrifice in the sight of the Lord and his blessings will be upon them that do so.
GOOD DEEDS ARE OBVIOUS, AND EVEN THOSE THAT ARE NOT CANNOT BE HIDDEN- 5 - MARY
Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus' honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, "Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages. " He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it."Leave her alone," Jesus replied. "[It was intended] that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. (John 12:1-7)(NIV)
Mary here was expressing her heartfelt gratitude to Jesus for the astounding miracle that Jesus had done for her family. He had raised Lazarus (Mary's brother) from the dead and the dinner given was to honor Jesus. The perfume was expensive and she considered it a great privilege to anoint her master's feet with it. Her devotion and love for her teacher were profoundly expressed without many words being said. Yet there was someone who didn't understand or didn't want to understand the importance of the act. Judas condemned, but Jesus acknowledged his approval for what Mary had done.
Others may look down upon or condemn our actions or deeds that arise from pure devotion to our Savior Jesus, but we must nevertheless continue doing it, if we are sure that it is according to the Word and that it will please our Savior.
MORAL: TRUE DEVOTION TO GOD EXPRESSES ITSELF IN FRAGRANT DEEDS
Isaiah answered, "This is the LORD's sign to you that the LORD will do what he has promised: Shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or shall it go back ten steps? (2 Kings 20:9)
Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah went to him and said, "This is what the LORD says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover." Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, "Remember, O LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes." And Hezekiah wept bitterly. Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the LORD came to him: "Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of my people, 'This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the LORD."
Then Hezekiah asked Isaiah, "What will be the sign that the LORD will heal me and that I will go up to the temple of the LORD on the third day from now?" And to this question, Isaiah gave the reply that we read in the title verse. Isaiah told him that the Lord will give him a sign...in the form of a miracle....LORD made the shadow go back the ten steps it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz (the sundial of Ahaz) .
Are you waiting for a sign from the Lord regarding a promise that the Lord has given you? It will come soon. You will see a miracle. Keep praying, for the Lord is at work. He will fulfill his promise to you.
IF YOU HAVE MESSED UP, THERE'S STILL HOPE- 4 - PETER
Then Jesus told them, "This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: " 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.'But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee." Peter replied, "Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will." "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times."
But Peter declared, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." And all the other disciples said the same. (Matthew 26:31-35)
Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. "You also were with Jesus of Galilee," she said. But he denied it before them all. "I don't know what you're talking about," he said. Then he went out to the gateway, where another girl saw him and said to the people there, "This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth." He denied it again, with an oath: "I don't know the man!" After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, "Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away." Then he began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, "I don't know the man!" Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: "Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times." And he went outside and wept bitterly. (Matthew 26:69-75)
Jesus' disciple Peter was a failure, though before others he put up a front that he was a success. Jesus knew that Peter's heart was not truly yielded to him, though he did many things to please him (Jesus). Peter finally denied and disowned Jesus as Jesus had prophesied. Jesus knew that he would have to deal with Peter and he did so after he rose from the dead.
It happened like this....After providing a miraculous catch of fish to the disciples and after giving them breakfast....
Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" "Yes, LORD," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs." Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?" He answered, "Yes, LORD, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep." The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "LORD, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep. (John 21:15-17)
After this encounter and the experience at Pentecost, Peter was a changed man. Peter who was immature, impulsive & fearful earlier became mature, Holy Spirit controlled and bold. He led a life full of faith, had greater discerning and was God’s kingdom oriented.
What about you? Do you identify yourself with Peter? immature, impulsive & fearful...If you do, there's hope for you because the Lord Jesus who brought about a change in Peter's life still lives.
IF YOU HAVE MESSED UP, THERE'S STILL HOPE. REMEMBER, GOD CAN TURN YOUR FAILURES INTO SUCCESS.
And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites--a land flowing with milk and honey. (Exodus 3:17)
The Israelites were in a miserable condition in Egypt. 430 years of slavery. Pain, injury and shame were their wages for working hard. And God decided to end it all.
Long before all these years of slavery, God had spoken to Abraham regarding this bondage and the redemption. He said,
"Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions." (Genesis 15:13, 14)
And it happened exactly as God said.
What God promises, he brings about at his appointed time and no one can stop him. The
Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them.(Psalms 119:140)
Again in Psalms 145, we read,
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. (v13)
Even in your life, If God has promised you something, he will bring it to fulfillment, because the Bible says,
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God. (2 Corinthians 1:20)
GOOD DEEDS ARE OBVIOUS, AND EVEN THOSE THAT ARE NOT CANNOT BE HIDDEN-4-DAVID
David asked, "Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan's sake?" Now there was a servant of Saul's household named Ziba. They called him to appear before David, and the king said to him, "Are you Ziba?" "Your servant," he replied. The king asked, "Is there no one still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show God's kindness?" Ziba answered the king, "There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in both feet." "Where is he?" the king asked. Ziba answered, "He is at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar." So King David had him brought. When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honor. David said, "Mephibosheth!" "Your servant," he replied. "Don't be afraid," David said to him, "for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table." Mephibosheth bowed down and said, "What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?" Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul's servant, and said to him, "I have given your master's grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master's grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table." Then Ziba said to the king, "Your servant will do whatever my lord the king commands his servant to do." So Mephibosheth ate at David's table like one of the king's sons. (2 Samuel 9:1-11)
David & Jonathan, the son of Saul (first king of Israel) were close friends. Later Saul tried to kill David, who was then his son-in-law, being jealous of his rising popularity. God protected David and finally Saul and Jonathan were killed in battle. David did not forget his friend even though they were in rival camps and here he decided to honor his friendship with Jonathan by doing good to Jonathan's son, Mephibosheth. He did not forget the oath that he had taken with Jonathan to be kind to Jonathan's family when God would have cut off every one of David's enemies. No one would have complained even if David chose to kill Mephibosheth to avenge his persecution at the hands of Saul, yet David here chose to be kind to his friend's son and gave him a place of honor.
MORAL: AN ACT OF KINDNESS SPEAKS VOLUMES OF A MAN/WOMAN'S HEART.
GOOD DEEDS ARE OBVIOUS, AND EVEN THOSE THAT ARE NOT CANNOT BE HIDDEN-3-EBED-MELECH
Jeremiah's enemies put him into the cistern of Malkijah, the king's son, which was in the courtyard of the guard. They lowered him by ropes into the cistern; it had no water in it, only mud, and Jeremiah sank down into the mud. But Ebed-Melech, a Cushite, an official in the royal palace, heard that they had put Jeremiah into the cistern. While the king was sitting in the Benjamin Gate, Ebed-Melech went out of the palace and said to him, "My lord the king, these men have acted wickedly in all they have done to Jeremiah the prophet. They have thrown him into a cistern, where he will starve to death when there is no longer any bread in the city." Then the king commanded Ebed-Melech the Cushite, "Take thirty men from here with you and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies." So Ebed-Melech took the men with him and went to a room under the treasury in the palace. He took some old rags and worn-out clothes from there and let them down with ropes to Jeremiah in the cistern. Ebed-Melech the Cushite said to Jeremiah, "Put these old rags and worn-out clothes under your arms to pad the ropes." Jeremiah did so, and they pulled him up with the ropes and lifted him out of the cistern. And Jeremiah remained in the courtyard of the guard. (Jeremiah 38:6-13)
A kind act by a man who showed that he cared when all others condemned a righteous prophet of God. Often there are very few who stand for the truth and not join forces with those in power. Ebed-Melech was one of them. What this man of valor did to help the prophet was not forgotten by God.
While Jeremiah had been confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the LORD came to him: "Go and tell Ebed-Melech, 'This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I am about to fulfill my words against this city through disaster, not prosperity. At that time they will be fulfilled before your eyes. But I will rescue you on that day; you will not be handed over to those you fear. I will save you; you will not fall by the sword but will escape with your life, because you trust in me, declares the LORD.'" (Jeremiah 39:15-18)
MORAL: GOD NEVER FORGETS WHATEVER ONE DOES FOR HIS SERVANTS AND HE REWARDS THEM IN HIS JUSTICE.
GOOD DEEDS ARE OBVIOUS, AND EVEN THOSE THAT ARE NOT CANNOT BE HIDDEN-2-JESUS
Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, "Stand up in front of everyone." Then Jesus asked them, "Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus. (Mark 3:1-6)
The Bible says,
God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. Jesus always did good. He advises us,
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
MORAL:ONE MUST NOT STOP DOING GOOD JUST BECAUSE OTHERS DON'T LIKE IT OR DON'T APPROVE OF IT.