He was revered during his lifetime, and still is today, as
the greatest and most beloved king the people of God ever had. To this very
hour, the star that sat atop his royal crown, adorns the state flag of the nation
His name…was David. The prophet Samuel, who anointed him king, referred to him as “a man after God’s own heart’ (1 Samuel 13:14). He was a brilliant military leader. He was adored by his people. He was feared by his enemies. He was respected by his equals.
And he was an adulterer and a murderer. The story of his sins is recounted in full in 2 Samuel 11. But the story doesn’t end there. In the very next chapter, David is confronted about his sins by the prophet Nathan. And what was David’s response? I have sinned against Jehovah.” And Nathan said unto David, “Jehovah also has put away your sin; you shall not die.”
Did King David sin? He did. Did he suffer consequences as a result of his sins? He
did. But did David repent of those sins after Nathan’s rebuke? He did. And did
God forgive him of his sins? Yes, He did. David served as the king of
Manasseh was just twelve years
old when he began to serve as the king of
The Bible offers this summary of the reign of
Manasseh restored the worship to false gods that his
father Hezekiah had forbidden. He erected altars to Baal. He commanded the
people to worship the stars. He placed idols in the temple of the Lord. He practiced
sorcery. He even forced the people to offer their children as burnt sacrifices
to the false god Molech. And last but not least, Manasseh “shed innocent blood,
till he had filled
The Divine Record says: “And Jehovah spoke to Manasseh, and to his people; but they gave no heed” (2 Chronicles 33:10).
What happened to Manasseh? 2 Chronicles 33:10-14 provides
the answer: God abandoned him, and the king of Assyria “bound him with fetters,
and carried him to
Did King Manasseh sin?
He did. Did he suffer consequences as a result of his sins? He did. He lost his
kingship and his kingdom, and was carried off in chains to serve his Babylonian
enemies as their slave. But did Manasseh repent of his sins? He did. And did
God forgive him of those sins? Yes, He did. As a result, Manasseh was restored
to his rightful place as the king of
Jehoshaphat began his reign
But again, the
story doesn’t end there. Between 2 Chronicles 17:6 and 19:2, Jehoshaphat experiences
a complete disintegration of his spiritual life. 2 Chronicles 18:1 records how his
descent began, as he aligned himself and his nation with Ahab, the wicked king
God sent His faithful prophet Jehu to rebuke King Jehoshaphat. Listen to Jehu’s speech to the king, as described in 2 Chronicles 19:1-3—“Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Therefore the wrath of the Lord is upon you. Nevertheless good things are found in you, in that you have…prepared your heart to seek God.”
Now listen to the
very next verse (vs. 4): “So Jehoshaphat dwelt at
Did King Jehoshaphat sin? He did. Did he suffer consequences as a result of his sins? He did. He was condemned by God, and destined to a live out the remainder of his life as a wicked despot. But did Jehoshaphat repent of his sins after Jehu’s rebuke? He did. And did God forgive him of those sins? Yes, He did. Jehoshaphat was permitted to continue his reign as the king of Judah—a position from which he gave a stirring speech to his people, in which he said: “Now therefore, let the fear of the Lord be upon us; take care to do His will, for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God.”
Have you ever thought about Moses in this regard? No, I’m not talking at this point about his sin against God by striking the rock instead of speaking to it. I’m talking about his murdering an Egyptian taskmaster. As a result of his act, he had to flee his home in the palace of the Pharaoh, leaving behind his friends and family as he headed into an unknown wilderness. Can you picture Moses there, all alone, tending his father-in-law’s sheep day by boring day? No royal palace. No willing servants. No fancy clothes. No daily feasts. No former friends. No loving mother. Just miles and miles of dust, a tent in which to live, and a lot of smelly sheep—until that fateful day on the side of the mountain when he met God in the burning bush, and everything changed.
Even over Moses’ strenuous objection, God plucked him from
obscurity and pitted him against the most powerful man on the Earth at that
time. A lowly shepherd—a former murderer—was
sent by the God of heaven to rescue the people of
Do I even need to mention the account of Saul (who later became Paul)—a man who dragged Christians from their homes and murdered them, yet who became the apostle to the Gentiles, and ended up authoring more than two-thirds of the New Testament?
Do I need to recount the story of Peter, who denied the Lord not just once, but three times—yet who was given by Christ the keys to open the kingdom of heaven on the Day of Pentecost?
Time would fail me if I were to mention all those in the Old and New Testaments who sinned, repented, and became invaluable servants of God. Each of these people provides us with the perfect example of “a fallen setback, but a major comeback.”
Each of these people had sinned horribly—and yet each was restored to what we can accurately call “an impressive level of continuing service.” King David led his nation to greatness. Kings Manasseh and Jehoshaphat instituted reforms that revived the spirituality of God’s people. Moses saved the Israelites from slavery, and by so doing, set in motion the fulfillment of the promise of Abraham—a promise to which we today are heirs (Hebrews 6:17). Peter preached the very first Gospel sermon, and witnessed the institution of God’s heaven-sent, blood-bought, spirit-filled church. Paul spent the rest of his life populating that church. And heaven will be richer for his efforts.
Ask yourself: What is the common theme running through each of these accounts? It’s simply this. People—even good people—sin. But if we are willing to repent, God will forgive us. What was it Jehu said to Jehoshaphat? “Nevertheless good things are found in you, because you have…prepared your heart to seek God.” God can use even the worst former sinner to accomplish His ultimate will! And, He often has!
The following questions are rhetorical—so please, no show of hands.
“Have any of you ever sinned?”
“Have any of you ever been in need of God’s forgiveness, grace, and mercy?”
“Do you think God can forgive you and still use you in His kingdom?”
I do, because I know what God said on this matter. “If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin, and I will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
God, in yet another rhetorical question, asked Abraham in the great long ago: “Is anything too hard for Jehovah?” (Genesis 18:14). If God, in His divine providence, can forgive murders, adulterers, and idolaters—and then turn right around and use them to accomplish His eternal purpose—He certainly has the power to exalt you and me in any way He sees fit. Wasn’t it Jesus Who said: “With God, all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
Christianity has been called “the land of beginning again.” God doesn’t want us looking backwards. “Remember Lots wife?” Rather, He wants us looking forward—to a home in heaven with Him forever. So, if we sin—no, when we sin, because we all do—remember that we as Christians aren’t perfect; we’re just forgiven.
And what should be our response to our brothers and sisters in Christ when they sin? Jesus answered that in His great Sermon on the Mount: “If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15). Or, as Paul put it in Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.”
You call me master, and obey me not.
You call me light, and see me not.
You call me way, and walk me not.
You call me life, and desire me not.
You call me wise, and follow me not.
You call me fair, and love me not.
You call me rich, and ask me not.
You call me eternal, and seek me not.
You call me gracious, and trust me not.
You call me noble, and serve me not.
You call me mighty, and honor me not.
You call me just, and fear me not.
If I condemn you, blame me not.
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