WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
FEBRUARY 16, 2022
TOPIC: REPENT AND RETURN TO GOD
BY T. O. BANSO
“Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Return to Me,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 1:3 New King James Version).
Asa, the third king of Judah after Solomon, sinned but instead of repenting and returning to God, whom he had served and pleased for thirty-five years, he didn’t. He died in the forty-first year of his reign.
What was Asa’s sin? Earlier in his reign, he had trusted God against the army of Zerah the Ethiopian. Asa’s army of 580,000 men routed Zerah’s army of one million men and their chariots. But in the thirty-sixth year of his reign, when Baasha, king of Israel, came up against Judah, Asa entered a military alliance with King Benhadad of Syria (2 Chronicles 16:2-6). Asa didn’t trust God again. He was wrong.
If God had protected him and Judah for thirty-five years, he should have continued to depend on Him. Psalm 33:16-17 says, “No king is saved by the multitude of an army; a mighty man is not delivered by great strength. A horse is a vain hope for safety; neither shall it deliver any by its great strength” (New King James Version).
Although the military alliance worked, and Israel didn’t attack Judah, God was displeased with Asa. Therefore, God sent a seer to Asa to condemn what he had done; he passed judgment on Asa (2 Chronicles 16:7-9).
The LORD told the church of Ephesus to repent and do the first works. “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place — unless you repent” (Revelation 2:5 New King James Version). Asa also should have repented and returned to the LORD.
Genuine repentance means a change of mind and turning from sin to God. Unfortunately, Asa did not repent and return to God. “Then Asa was angry with the seer, and put him in prison, for he was enraged at him because of this. And Asa oppressed some of the people at that time” (2 Chronicles 16:10 New King James Version). Was that the solution to his problem? No.
The solution was repentance, not transferring aggression on Hanani the seer and the people. They were not responsible for his problem. When the Lord said, “In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars” (verse 9b New King James Version), Asa should have repented and asked for God’s forgiveness. But he didn’t.
This was the same king that the Bible said earlier did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God (2 Chronicles 14:2). He removed the altars of the foreign gods and the high places, broke down the sacred pillars, and cut down the wooden images (verse 3). He also commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers and to observe the law and the commandment (verse 4). In addition, he removed the high places and the incense altars from all the cities of Judah, and the kingdom was quiet under him (verse 5).
But in the thirty-sixth year of his reign, Asa failed to tremble at the Word of God, humble himself before Him, repent, and return to Him. He continued in rebellion against God. Rebellion is a serious sin. Don’t live in rebellion against God. Samuel told Saul, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king” (1Samuel 15:23 New King James Version).
If you’ve gone away from God, turn back to God now; don’t postpone it. The prophet Jeremiah says in Lamentation 3:40-42, “Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the LORD; Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven. We have transgressed and rebelled; You have not pardoned” (New King James Version).
When Asa did not repent after the seer had delivered to him the Word of God and he imprisoned him and oppressed some of his people, he progressed in error when he was sick. “And in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa became diseased in his feet, and his malady was severe; yet in his disease he did not seek the LORD, but the physicians. So Asa rested with his fathers; he died in the forty-first year of his reign” (2 Chronicles 16:12-13 New King James Version). Take note of that phrase: he did not seek the LORD but the physicians. Of course, they couldn’t help him. The problem was not seeking the services of physicians but neglecting God and trusting in them.
Nobody is morally perfect. We all sin, but we should be humble enough to admit our sins and repent. Leaders and followers should not cover their sins. They should repent of their sins, confess, and forsake them so that they will prosper (Proverbs 28:13).
God is a compassionate God. God will forgive anyone who genuinely repents and confesses his sins. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:9-10 New King James Version).
Don’t pretend, rationalize your sin, or run away from God. There is no sinner too lost that God cannot save and receive back to Himself. “‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ Says the LORD, ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool’” (Isaiah 1:18 New King James Version). Also, Isaiah 55:7 says, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (New King James Version).
God will abundantly pardon you if you repent and return to Him. The LORD said through the prophet Joel, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning” (Joel 2:12 New King James Version). This refers to the outward signs of repentance. He will receive you if you turn to Him with all your heart – genuinely. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “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” (New King James Version).
The prophet Jeremiah said to the people of Judah before they went into captivity, “‘If you will return, O Israel,’ says the LORD, ‘Return to Me; and if you will put away your abominations out of My sight, Then you shall not be moved” (Jeremiah 4:1 New King James Version). Prophesying to the Jews who returned to Jerusalem after the exile, the prophet Zachariah, said, “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Return to Me,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 1:3 New King James Version). God didn’t want them to be disobedient as their ancestors were and He was angry with them (verse 2).
In every age, God’s call is for the backslidden to repent and return to Him. Are you a backslider, repent and return to God? He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9b). If you have never given your life to Jesus, God wants you to turn to Him. That’s why He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for the sins of the world and open the way for all to come to Him. 2 Corinthians 5:19 says that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Colossians 1:21-22 says, “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight” (New King James Version).
Repent of your sins and turn to God. “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19 New International Version). Repent and turn to God your Maker today through Jesus Christ. Don’t die a sinner. There is no repentance after death. Now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2b).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner, and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner, and I cannot save myself. I believe Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I repent of my sins and receive Your forgiveness. I return to You today; have mercy on me. Holy Spirit, help me to live a sanctified life.
If you are not born again pray this: Father, I confess that I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I ask You to forgive me my sins. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God; I confess Him as my Lord and Saviour. Holy Spirit, help me to serve Jesus all the days of my life.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947