A change of heart is possible. It is what we see in the life of Manasseh who turns about-face from the days of having turned away from the Lord. So great is his remorse and desire to set things right that after he is returned from captivity, he goes about the business of cleaning house.
This is what the text tells us about him: 15 He got rid of the foreign gods and removed the image from the temple of the LORD, as well as all the altars he had built on the temple hill and in Jerusalem; and he threw them out of the city. 16 Then he restored the altar of the LORD and sacrificed fellowship offerings and thank offerings on it, and told Judah to serve the LORD, the God of Israel. 17 The people, however, continued to sacrifice at the high places, but only to the LORD their God.
But when Manasseh’s time is up, his son Amon succeeds him as king. And you would think Amon would have known better than to revert to the old ways, but no, he does not. He evidently does not know better. Because what happens next is deja vu all over again!
And Amon is even worse than his father because he doesn’t have the good sense to repent in time like his father did.
Here’s what the text says: 21 Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem two years. 22 He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, as his father Manasseh had done. Amon worshiped and offered sacrifices to all the idols Manasseh had made. 23 But unlike his father Manasseh, he did not humble himself before the LORD; Amon increased his guilt.
And so, Amon reigns for two short years, and is assassinated by his own palace officials. Next comes another boy-king named Josiah. But Josiah is nothing like his father or grandfather even. He is upright and God-fearing from the very beginning.
Josiah reigns for thirty-one years, and this is what we learn about him: 33 Josiah removed all the detestable idols from all the territory belonging to the Israelites, and he had all who were present in Israel serve the LORD their God. As long as he lived, they did not fail to follow the LORD, the God of their ancestors.
Turning now to the Epistle of Paul to the Romans, also known as Romans, we find ourselves come to the very end of this long letter that Paul has written to the early Jewish and Gentile Christians. Paul takes time out to name twenty-one people in this chapter, a third of them women, who are ministering to the Lord in their service to their fellowmen including himself.
Paul ends his letter with this wonderful synopsis of his mission and the focus of his work: 25 Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, 26 but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith— 27 to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.
Turning next to our psalm of the day, may it be that like David, the psalmist, we might also say these words with the same level of confidence that he most likely had when he penned them:
4 I do not sit with the deceitful, nor do I associate with hypocrites. 5 I abhor the assembly of evildoers and refuse to sit with the wicked. 6 I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, LORD, 7 proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds.
Finally, one verse from the book of Proverbs which bears timeless advice offered by Solomon, the wise king of Israel, who says this:
19 A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.