April 22, 2024

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April 22, 2024

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Repentance And Renewed Faith In Almighty God Can Transform People… And Even A Nation

Franklin Graham

I recently had the privilege of preaching the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in one of the largest cities in the world, Mexico City, and then in 10 cities and towns near the southern border of the United States. 

By God’s grace and by His power, thousands came forward to make decisions to follow Christ as their Savior and Lord. We boast only in what Almighty God does by the working of His Spirit in the hearts and souls of men, women and children. 

Like other cities and towns where I have proclaimed Jesus as “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), many people in the crowds felt like failures—failures at home, failures at work, failures at life. Many didn’t believe the Lord would forgive them, cleanse them and work afresh in them. Their past mistakes completely clouded their vision of the redeeming, transforming love of God. 

One Biblical character that I preached about should give all of us hope. 

In 2 Kings, the Bible mentions numerous kings of Israel and Judah in the order of their reign. There are some bright spots, especially in Judah, which remained faithful to the Lord longer than Israel. Hezekiah, Jehoshaphat and Josiah come quickly to mind. They all instituted godly reforms that, for a season, saw God’s hand of favor come once again upon the rebellious people.

However, the list of wicked kings is far longer, and their ungodly reigns only brought God’s judgment and wrath. Their hearts were far removed from the Lord, and they set up idols that God abhorred across the land. How tragic was their fall from the mighty hand of God, who had taken the people out of the land of Egypt and planted them in the Promised Land. 

Few were worse than King Manasseh, the son of righteous King Hezekiah. His 55-year reign was marked by great wickedness and evil. He did evil in the sight of the Lord. He built altars to false gods. He practiced sorcery and divination, and even sacrificed his very own son in the fire. He also shed much innocent blood (2 Kings 21:1-18). Can you even imagine such evil? 

The compiler of the Chronicles, however, pens a wonderfully encouraging addition to the distressing narrative of the kings that should give hope to all who feel they are unworthy of God’s reconciling love, even those who have committed great sin in their lives. 

Taken prisoner to Babylon with a hook in his nose, Manasseh has an incredible change of heart. Now when he was in affliction, he implored the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers” (2 Chronicles 33:12). 

God heard his repentant plea and allowed him to return to Judah as king. He got rid of the foreign gods he had previously worshipped, restored the altar of the Lord and commanded the people to worship the one, true, living God. Not only did Manasseh return to the Lord, but his example of repentance and humility affected the entire nation. Though there were still sacrifices on high places of worship (places other than the temple), the people sacrificed “only to the Lord their God” (2 Chronicles 33:17). 

It’s never too late to come before God, repent of your sins and ask for His forgiveness. Our failures and faults can still be cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, if we will but humble ourselves, pray and turn to the Lord. Manasseh’s life certainly demonstrates that—not only for individuals, but also for a nation. 

Remember what the chronicler had said earlier in the book. “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land”
(2 Chronicles 7:14). 

Our nation, once a stronghold of Biblical truth, has strayed so far. Abortion, same-sex marriage and other wicked practices have spread through the culture like wildfire. Sometimes, I hardly recognize the country that I grew up in. We have failed as a nation when it comes to standing on Biblical truth.  

In this election season, there will be thousands of people running for local, state and national offices. We should always examine the candidates carefully and support those whose policies best align with Biblical principles.

But the most important thing we can do as God’s people is start with humbling our own selves before our Holy God, and repenting of our own failures. True revival, which I firmly believe is our nation’s only hope, begins when God’s people are moved by the Holy Spirit to repent of sins and live holy lives. 

We have to examine our own hearts and ask the Lord to show us any grievous ways and lead us in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:24). “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17). 

Manasseh’s life is a great illustration of how repentance and renewed faith in Almighty God can transform people, and even a nation. 

Let us get on our knees, pray, confess our sins and ask God to heal us and our wayward land. 

He can do it.


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