Today's paper had news articles with the following headers:
- Former sheriff's deputy accused of murdering his mother, stepfather
- Two die in poisoning at German therapy group
- Pregnant teen shot at own birthday bash
- 5 children, woman found dead in apartment
- Two Colorado men, NYC man arrested in terror probe
When I read this in our local Morning News, I am tempted to think. OMGoodness, things have gotten so bad. Surely, it IS the end times. It just keeps getting worse and worse. What's next?
Fortunately, I read my Bible before I read the newspaper. Today's reading, 1st Chronicles 33:1-14 tells what was happening in Jerusalem way back then:
When Manasseh became king at age twelve he reintroduced all the moral rot and spiritual corruption that had been scourged from the country when God dispersed the pagan nations in favor of the children of Israel.
- he rebuilt the sex-and-religion shrines that his father Hezekiah had torn down
- he built altars and phallic images for the sex god Baal and sex goddess Asherah
- he worshiped the cosmic powers, taking orders from the constellations
- he built shrines to the cosmic powers and placed them in both courtyards of the Temple of God
- he burned his won sons in a sacrificial rite
- he practiced witchcraft and fortunetelling
- he held seances and consulted spirits from the underworld
- he placed a carved image of the sex goddess Asherah in the Temple of God
Pretty bad for a twelve year old, huh! Well, God was not overcome by his evil.
"God directed the leaders of the troops of the king of Assyria to come after Manasseh. They put a hook in his nose, shackles on his feet and took him off to Babylon. Now that he was in trouble, he went to his knees in prayer asking for help--total repentance before the God of his ancestors. As he prayed, God was touched; God listened and brought him back to Jerusalem as king. That convinced Manasseh that God was in control."
So, if you are discouraged when you read or hear the news today. Take heart! God is still in control and able to do exceedingly, abundantly, more than we can imagine! I love the fact that God had mercy on Manasseh and turned him around. God can do that! Think Charles Colson, Madylyn Murray O'Hair, and others who opposed him.
If you like the Bible translation I used, it is The Message by Eugene Peterson. Every time I read through the Bible I like to read a different translation to give me a slightly different perspective. When I have wondered about Peterson's accuracy, I have checked it against my NIV Study Bible and found him to be right on.
Have you read or heard the news lately and wondered if God is aware of what's going on?