Wednesday, April 29, 2009

To Those Who Will Listen

Scripture Passage: 2 Chronicles 30:1-31:21

Yesterday morning I was having my daily conversation with my 5 year old grandson Spencer. He was telling me that he had got in trouble with his Dad the day before. Dad told him to do something and Spencer just wouldn't do it. It finally resulted in a spanking for the little guy. After he had related the whole story to me I couldn't help but ask;
"Spencer, why didn't you do what your Daddy told you to?"
His reply was classic.
"Grandpa, sometimes people just don't listen."
How true, Spencer, how true.
Today's scripture passage is one I had not noticed before. I was struck by the simplicity of the wording and the sincerity and intensity of it's purpose. I would like to present it to you from the Message version of God's love letter. King Hezekiah has decided to personally invite every person in all of Israel and Judah to come back into a worshipful relationship with God. Here, in part, is how the invitation read;

"O Israelites! Come back to God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, so that he can return to you who have survived the predations of the kings of Assyria. Don't repeat the sins of your ancestors who turned their backs on God, the God of their ancestors who then brought them to ruin - you can see the ruins all around you. Don't be pigheaded as your ancestors were. Clasp God's outstretched hand. Come to his temple of holy worship, consecrated for all time. Serve God, your God. You'll no longer be in danger of his hot anger. If you come back to God, your captive relatives and children will be treated compassionately and allowed to come home. Your God is gracious and kind and won't snub you. Come back and he'll welcome you with open arms."

What an invitation! An invitation that drips with grace, mercy and forgiveness, not only for the individual but for their children and relatives. Understand that these people were familiar with God and many had witnessed God's power and love. But still, they had turned their backs on Him and sadly, even this invitation was not enough to bring all of them back.

Unfortunately is it much the same today. Many people have turned their backs to Christ because of disbelief, false idols, stubbornness, false teaching, or the un-Christlike behavior of our churches and its followers. However, it is not too late. Someday, when Christ comes back, then it will be too late. In that window of time, however long it may be, we need to issue much the same invitation to others that King Hezekiah did in his time.
"Please come back to Jesus. He is waiting with open arms. Just take his hand."
There will be those, as my grandson so aptly put it, who just won't listen. But I believe if we all were sending out this invitation, there would be many who will. Who can you talk to today to invite them into the body of Christ, even if it is for the first time? Don't hesitate, invite them today.
In closing, maybe it is you, dear friend who needs to come back to Jesus. Maybe you have stepped away for reasons only you are aware of. I invite you to come back today. Right now. Jesus is waiting with open arms.

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