Wednesday, August 2, 2017

August 2

2 Chronicles 32:1-33:13; Romans 15:23-16:7; Psalm 25:16-22; Proverbs 20:16-18

I like so much to see repentance.  We see it with Hezekiah, who is a shining example of a good king, when he "[repents] of the pride of his heart" (2 Chr. 32:26).  We also see it with Manasseh, who is the exact opposite of a shining example of a good king, who "[seeks] the favor of the Lord and [humbles] himself before the God of his fathers" (33:12).

I love to see confession and turning and the desire to follow God anew.

But that's not why I like so much to see repentance.  I like most to see repentance because of what it shows us about God.  When Hezekiah repents, God responds with kindness - "the Lord's wrath did not come upon them during the days of Hezekiah" (2 Chr. 32:26).  When Manasseh repents, "the Lord [is] moved by his entreaty and [listens] to his plea" (33:13) and brings Manasseh back to Jerusalem.

God is attentive.  He waits patiently for hard hearts to soften, for proud humans to humble themselves.  And when they do so, when they turn toward him in need and dependence, God always responds.  When we do so, when we turn toward him in need or grief or humility or confession, he always responds.

The psalmist, too, knows this.  He pleads for God's attention, knowing that God is his refuge and his only hope (see Ps. 25:20-21).  He expects that God will "turn and be gracious to [him]" (vs. 16), and we can expect the same thing.

May this attentive, responsive, warm-hearted God, this "God of peace be with you all.  Amen" (Rom. 15:33).

- Sarah Marsh

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