Throughout the ages, God has called many messengers to speak to those who are near and to those who are far off. Still today, the Lord calls us to spread his message. There are days and times when we feel unfit for this calling. We do not know enough, we are not eloquent enough. In this we are not alone. Isaiah knew that he was an unfit messenger. Jeremiah protested that he was too young. It is a normal thing for those whom God chooses to feel as though they are not worthy of this calling.
Manasseh’s repentance is a bit jarring. How could someone so wicked change and God receive him so willingly? Few among the kings of Israel or Judah are described as having such an evil character as Manasseh. However, God received him back favorably. He accepted Manasseh even before worship was restored. God could see the changed heart. Repentance begins in the heart and flows from there into action. No action we do can be worthy of God’s mercy (Psalm 51:16). God is waiting for the heart of man to turn humbly toward him.
I feel that we see these same issues in regards to Christianity. One tool that I feel Satan uses to blur the line of truth is the manipulation of the flow of information. Many years ago, during the Dark Ages, they were confronted with a different issue — NEI, or Not Enough Information. In some cases the truth was locked away so that the information that people needed was not readily available to them. Today in many ways our issues are exactly the opposite, as we are confronted by too much information.
Visualize if you will a traditional well with a rope, pulley and bucket. Someone standing next to it at ground level would no doubt make certain assumptions as to what was below the surface. And as the bucket was slowly being raised back up to the surface, there would no doubt be a certain level of anticipation about the water that would soon arrive. And then the disappointment as the person pulls the bucket up that is only full of dust, with not even a hint of moisture. Peter says that’s what false prophets are like: they promise you water, they give you every indication that they are brimming with water, and when the time comes to deliver, you realize they have nothing to give.
The flesh knows this won’t always be pleasant. It isn’t pleasant to be convicted of sin (see Acts 2:37), but that is the Spirit working (John 16:8). It isn’t always pleasant to be told “no” (see Acts 8:19-20), but that is the Spirit helping put us in the right spiritual frame of mind. It isn’t our flesh’s desire to stand out in the crowd because of our faith (see 2 Timothy 1:6-7), but it is evidence of a powerful Spirit living within. The flesh wants to balk at the idea of trusting God with all our cares and concerns, but it is the Spirit who works through our prayers (Romans 8:26-28).
This is appropriate. For most of history, the inheritance has gone first to the firstborn son, then there has been a distribution amongst the other sons. Daughters were left with a dowry and whatever their husbands could provide. So seeing Jesus as the Son of God is a reminder that he is the one who will inherit his father’s kingdom. As Psalm 2 reminds us, the nations are his inheritance.
In Luke 12:13-15, we read the following account,
“Then one from the crowd said to Him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’ But he said to him, ‘Man, who made me a judge or an arbitrator over you?’ And he said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.’”
Jesus, who would rebuke the disciples for not letting the little children take up his time, would not arbitrate between this man and his brother. Plainly, he told this man, “No.” The Son of God did not have time to deal with this situation of the flesh.
It is not an uncommon experience for me to be asked a thousand questions a day. This is part of being a parent, a teacher, and having a reputation for always having an answer. I know that I’m not alone in having to field all these questions, and most of us don’t like to say, “I don’t know.” Though, sometimes that is the best answer we can give. A small example of this came up recently during a class. We were discussing the Tabernacle and what was used to make it. Exodus 25:3-5 gives a small part of this list: