CALL TO REPENTANCE

THE MEANING OF REPENTANCE
To repent means to regret, be sorry, feel sorrow or feel ashamed for any wrong done. Therefore, repentance is the act of regretting or feeling sorry or ashamed for any wrongdoing. It is the realization that what we have done is bad/wrong and we are ready to apologize and ask for forgiveness.

KING DAVID OBEYS GOD’S CALL TO REPENTANCE. 2 Sam. 12:7-13, Ps. 51:1-19
David was the second King of Israel. The Israelite army was fighting against the Ammonites. David did not go to fight the war. One day as he was walking on the roof top of his house, he saw a beautiful woman next door taking her bath. David asked his servants who the woman was. They told him that she was Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, the Hittite, one of his soldiers fighting in the war against the Ammonites. Later, he told his servants to bring the woman to his palace. The woman came and David slept with her and she became pregnant.
David called Uriah from the battlefield and tricked him to go home to sleep with his wife so that (he) David could make him responsible for the pregnancy. But Uriah refused and in the end David had him killed in the battle. David then married Bathsheba, who later gave birth to a son.
David did not feel sorry for the wrong he had done. Therefore, God sent the prophet Nathan to call him to repentance. Nathan told David the story of a poor man who had one lamb and a rich man who had plenty of sheep and goats.  One day, the rich man had a visitor and he took the lamb of the poor man and killed it for his visitor.
When David heard the story he became angry and said the rich man should be put to death. The prophet told him that he was the ‘rich man’ in the story. When David realized that what he had done was wrong, he repented. He felt very sorry and asked God for forgiveness; and God forgave him. The call of David to repentance and his response is found in Psalm 51.

C. ZACCHAEUS RESPONDED TO THE CALL TO REPENTANCE (LUKE 19:1-10)

Zacchaeus , a short man, was a chief tax collector in the town of Jericho. He used to cheat the people by collecting more than the tax he was supposed to collect. He made use of the surplus tax for himself (fraud). One day, Jesus was passing through Jericho to Jerusalem. Many people came to see him. Zacchaeus was among them. But because he was short , he climbed a tree to see Jesus pass by:  When Jesus reached where Zacchaeus was , he asked him to come down from the tree. Jesus told him that he would spend the night in his house . Zacchaeus was very happy and walked Jesus to his house. But the people were not happy because Zacchaeus was a bad man who did not feel sorry for cheating  the people. And so, they protested and said:

    “Jesus had gone to be the guest of a bad man.

Both Jesus and Zacchaeus heard the protest . Zacchaeus then saw the protest as a call to repentance. He felt ‘ashamed’ for having cheated the people all this while. He promised to refund all the surplus tax he had taken from the people. Jesus was very happy for the  repentance of Zacchaeus, and said:
  
  “Today, salvation has come to Zacchaeus.”  

THE PEOPLE OF NINEVEH REPENTED OF THEIR SINS. ( JONAH 3 : 1-10)
The people of Nineveh were evil in their ways. They did many evil things to one another. They were wicked. They did not help those in trouble. They did not feel sorry for all the wrong that they had done and they continued to do.
God told the Prophet Jonah to go and call the people of Nineveh to repentance otherwise He would destroy them. At first he refused and ran away from God’s directive to Tarshish but later went to the town of Nineveh and called the people there to repentance. God said through Jonah that Nineveh would be overthrown in forty days time.  The people felt sorry of all the bad things that they had done. They repented by proclaiming a fast, putting on sackcloth, the king arose from his throne, removed his robe, and covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes and asked God for forgiveness. And, God forgave them.
JOHN THE BAPTIST CALLS FOR REPENTANCE.
God sent John the Baptist to the Jews to call them to repentance. He preached to them the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The people regretted their wrong doings. They came to John to confess their sins. John the Baptist baptized all the people who repented of their sins.
Then, they asked John the Baptist what they should do and he told them to be of good behaviour. John the Baptist then told them that the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins was to prepare them for the coming of Jesus Christ, who will baptize them with the Holy Spirit.
The work of the Holy Spirit will be:
  • to take away the evil influence of the devil
  • to destroy the power of sin
  • to melt the heart of stone that caused them to do evil things replacing it with the heart of flesh.
  • He will allow the Holy Spirit to give them spiritual power to obey God and to become righteous.
CONSEQUENCES OF LACK OF REPENTANCE (I SAMUEL 3:18, 4:10-21) God is not happy with those who lack repentance. He punishes them for their refusal to feel sorry in repentance, regret their actions and ask for forgiveness. In the Bible, Hophni and Phinehas were two brothers whom God punished for their lack of repentance.
Hophni and Phinehas were the sons of Eli - a Prophet in Israel in charge of the house of God at Shiloh. His sons were assistant Priests who helped him with the work of God. Hophni and Phinehas did so many evil in the sight of God with hardened heart.
At times, they desired their share of the meat for sacrifice raw and even forcefully. At other times, the women  that came for sacrifice were forced into sin right at the altar of God.
God in his infinite mercy sent message to Eli through Samuel. He replied Samuel “it is the Lord; let Him do what seemeth Him good”. In the long run, God punished them because they failed to repent from their sins. the same day Eli died, his two sons died, his daughter-in-law - Phinehas’ wife died during child birth (named the child Ichabod), and the ark of God was taken.  
  • The following is the summary of the consequences of sin:
1. Death: as in the case of Hophine and  Phinehas.
2. Lack of Revelation: God’s will and purpose cannot be revealed to a sinner who refuses to confess his /her     sins.
3. Unfulfilled purpose of God for one’s life: as in the case of Samson in (Judges 16)
4. Incurring the wrath of God:
MORAL LESSONS:
1. King David, Zacchaeus, the people of Nineveh and the Jews in the time of John the Baptist, responded to the call to repentance. Thus, you must learn to respond to the call to repentance by praying to God to give you the mind to say sorry and ask for forgiveness like the aforementioned people did.
2. God punishes those who show lack of repentance. Therefore, you must learn to pray to God to help you show repentance so as to avoid being punished by Him.
3. The consequences of wrong doing affect and destroy us. Hence, you must learn to pray to God to give you spiritual power to avoid wrongdoing in order to escape its consequences.

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