Thursday, July 13, 2017

Prison Prayers

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 33:7-13

TO CHEW ON: "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." 2 Chronicles 33:13

“The Assyrians are coming!” A messenger blurted the news to King Manasseh.

Manasseh called his priests and told them to pray to the gods, check the omens, and make sacrifices. But not to the God of heaven. For Manasseh, Hezekiah’s son and Judah’s king, was not like his dad. Instead of worshiping God, he rebuilt hilltop shrines where people went to pray to statues of Chemosh and Baal.

Illustration by Annie Vallotton from the Good News Bible
© American Bible Society 1976, 1992, used with permission.

He sacrificed his own sons to idols, was deeply into witchcraft and even built idol altars in the temple. God had tried to talk to Manasseh and the people, but they refused to listen.

The sacrifices Manasseh made that day did no good. He was captured by the Assyrian generals, chained and taken to prison in Babylon. There, in a dungeon and all alone, he had time to think. He remembered the things his father Hezekiah had taught him. He knew what he had done was displeasing to God. Maybe it wasn’t too late. Maybe God would still take him back.

One day he cried out to God. He told God how foolish he had been. He begged God to save his life and set him free.

Soon after the prison keeper unlocked his cell and sent him home. Oh joy!! Now he knew that God was real and powerful. When he got back to Jerusalem, he demolished the idols, shrines and altars. He cleaned up the temple. He told the people that from now on, they were to worship only the Lord God of Israel.

Sometimes God uses hard things like sickness, accidents, tragedies and facing the consequences of our choices to bring us back to Him. How much better to serve God all along than to risk such problems. But then, better the problems that bring us back to God than being separated from Him forever and ever.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for using even troubles to bring us back to You. Amen.

MORE: God’s Invitation
Over and over in the Bible, God invites us to come back to Him if we have gone away. 1 John 1:9 is such an invitation. Can you fill in the missing words from this verse. Use the word bank, below, if necessary.

If we 1. ___ our sins, he is faithful and just and will 2. ____ us our 3. ____ and 4. ____ us from all unrighteousness.

Word bank:
sins   purify
confess   forgive


Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Adult readers - DAILY DEVOTIONS FOR ADULTS  are available too at Other Food: daily devo's

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