Summary: I now intend to focus on the second and concluding part of the series on "REPENTANCE" which is repentance of Saints
CLARION CALL FOR REPENTANCE – SERIES-PART II
REPENTANCE OF SAINTS
My congregation would recall that in the first part of the series on the topic of repentance, the “U-turn” of ‘Sinners’ was dealt at length with the life of King Mannaseh as the case in point (II Chronicles 33:1-20). They would also recapitulate me stating that the blessed experience of ‘repentance’ need not be always be applicable to sinners (who have never tasted God’s redemptive love) only, rather on the other hand ‘feeling deep sorrow about one’s wrongful action & resolving, at the same time, not to continue the same’ which is what Repentance is in a nutshell, could be an experience of saints (those who have tasted God’s redemptive love) too. This would lead to a realistic conclusion albeit strange, that saints too are prone to go off-track, hence the need of repentance for them too.
In this sermon, I propose to place before one & all, the lives of 3 saints who all repented after having gone astray. Let me go on a chronological order
a) David (around 1000 BC ):
His sins of adultery & murder ( II Samuel 11 chapter ) are well-known to most of us as well his heart-felt repentance, the intensity of it can well be gauged by his passionate words in Psalm 51: 16 & 17 ‘ You do not want penance, if you did how gladly I would do it! You are not interested in offerings burned before you on the altar. It is a broken spirit you want-remorse & penitence. A broken & a contrite heart, O God, You will not ignore’. The very essence of repentance has been captured here in the highly emotive words of David. History has it that David was forgiven, though the effects of his great fall into sin continued to haunt him & his nation for quite sometime after his restoration (II Samuel Chapters 12 to 20), much like an ugly scar would do as an eyesore after a major surgery.
While, it would serve us well to use Psalm 51 as a model prayer of repentance, it would serve us better (I am digging a bit more deep) to focus on the reasons which actually lead to our fall in the first place in order we eliminate them. Nothing quite like ‘prevention is better than cure’ even in the spiritual realm! Take David’s case, the main cause behind his trip into sin goes beyond seeing a bathing beauty at nighttime. In this context, the opening verses of II Samuel 11 are worth pondering upon. At that time, his Nation was involved in a war, & he instead of being in the thick of the things…marshalling his forces on the warfront, was an overconfident soul (no doubting his mighty army… II Samuel 23 ) strolling on the rooftop unable to sleep in the night (been napping in the day?). Being at the wrong place at the wrong time, is an open invitation for sin to attack us as David’s fall would amply testify. Been in wrong places lately? Spending time in seemingly harmless activities, which may not be big sins in themselves but can set us up for a big fall? Gluttony, lazing about…. head the list of these kind of activities. Heed the warning & stay away from them.
However, David the adulterer & murderer did make amends with a passionate prayer of repentance. Rose from the ashes figuratively as it were by immersing himself in ashes physically as a sign of deep remorse, once confronted by God (II Samuel 12 :1 to 12) over his sinful conduct.
Praise God, David was forgiven & once again with his conscience purged off the dark stains of sin, could rejoice in the presence of his Creator through this life & beyond.
b) Jonah (around 775 BC):
In this fantastic story (the Book of Jonah comprising of only 4 chapters can be conveniently read in one sitting) of a vast nation of Ninevah repenting, we quite often forget the story of the ‘fall & rise’ of an individual….MrJonah himself.
Jonah’s repentance from the belly of a whale (undoubtedly Jonah to put it in a lighter vein seems had had the dubious distinction of being the first aboard a natural submarine) is a classic case of our good Lord taking us to the brink, whenever we resist His will by venturing, as it were, into an uncharted territory in defiance of the same. Simply put, how much trouble Jonah could have saved for himself & his co-passengers on the ship to Tarshish , had he simply boarded a ship to Ninevah instead, as per the original command of God(Jonah 1:1-2)! Hmmm...with America not yet discovered, in OT times it was thought that Spain in which Tarshish was, was the "Very ends of the World". Was Jonah running to the "very ends of the World" to escape from the omnipresent Lord? How foolish, one might say!!!