Ripe Repentance

Repentance means you change your mind so deeply that it changes you. ~Bruce Wilkinson

John’s preaching was often direct and harsh. He called his audience a “brood of vipers.” He chastised Herod for sleeping with his brother’s wife. And he warned the people they were going to be cut down like a barren tree.

Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” Luke 3:8-9 ESV

In fear the people asked what they should do. They didn’t want to be cut down and thrown into a fire.

John responded:Share your food; share your clothes. Don’t cheat people. Don’t threaten and accuse people. Be content with your pay.

He says that that is the fruit of repentance.

Repentance is a big word we don’t hear very often. It means actually change to show that you’re sorry for what you’ve done.

We often force little children to apologize to their friends, but the behavior that follows shows whether they apologized or repented. If another toy is taken, another smack given upside the head, another hateful word spewed- then they only apologized.

What about you?

Do you eat lunch with your coworkers but think about feeding them crow?

Do you wish your brother well on his promotion, but view him in a new shade of jealous green?

Do you buy the cheapest canned vegetables for the food pantry while you purchase organic produce for your own family?

Is there an axe at the root of your tree?

Ripen some repentance before it’s too late.

 “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’” Luke 13:5-9 ESV


God shows us the path; the devil shows us the possibilities. ~Ljupka Cvetanova

The family of Israel is divided, but after many years of divorce, the two heads try getting along with each other. Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, and Ahab, king of Israel, are united through a marriage. They couldn’t be united as one kingdom in God’s family, but evidently thought they could get along as earthly kin. Go figure.

So Jehoshaphat goes down to Samaria to visit Ahab. Ahab, the school bully, asks if they can go together to war against Ramoth Gilead. Jehoshaphat is amenable if they first ask a prophet of God.

Ahab brings in 400 prophets who all say, “Yep, go for it. Good idea. Attack Ramoth Gilead with God’s blessing.”

But when everyone tells you it’s a sure thing, you might want to ask someone with a different perspective. So Jehoshaphat asks to hear from another prophet- enter Micaiah, son of Imlah.

Micaiah tries to tell the kings what they want to hear, but they don’t believe him. So Micaiah lays out truth like a Thanksgiving feast . . . and Ahab is the turkey.

The prophet says that there was a brain storming session in Heaven. A bunch of spirits got together with God to come up with ideas to get rid of Ahab, because, you know, school bully and whatnot. One of the spirits has the brilliant plan to tell Ahab what he wants to hear and deceive him.

“Go for it.” God approves. A deceiving spirit is sent, and now here we are.

“You’ll die in battle,” Micaiah predicts.

Now don’t you think that would turn Ahab back?

Nope. He goes into battle in disguise to fool the enemy.

Guess what.

He died.

My point here isn’t, how stupid do you have to be to hear the word of God and flippantly ignore it. No. There’s a bigger issue.

And the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab king of Israel into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there? . . . “So now the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouths of these prophets of yours. The Lord has decreed disaster for you.” 2 Chronicles 18:19, 22

The bigger issue is how long will God suffer your bad behavior, your flippant attitude, your nose-thumbing, sand-kicking, bullying behavior? You see, at some point, God has enough. He is long-suffering, no doubt, but there is a limit to his patience.

What consequences are you suffering now because God put up with something as long as he could? Do you really want it to get worse?

Don’t be an Ahab and die in battle.

Listen to the Lord and turn back to him.

 But someone drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel between the breastplate and the scale armor. The king told the chariot driver, “Wheel around and get me out of the fighting. I’ve been wounded.” All day long the battle raged, and the king of Israel propped himself up in his chariot facing the Arameans until evening. Then at sunset he died. 2 Chronicles 18:33-34