Today's encouragement comes from 2 Chronicles 33:10 & 11, which says this:
"And the LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they would not listen. Therefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the army of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze fetters, and carried him off to Babylon."
Here, in just two verses of the Bible, we have the entire program of how God deals with those whom He intends to save. The Lord first starts out gently and positively: sending His word to His people (by prophets [OT] and pastors [NT]). If that method does not bring about the results He is looking for, God brings out His harder and more negative implements: hooks and fetters.
In King Manasseh's case, harsh measures were necessary in order to bring him to repentance. This is not the best, nor the wisest approach, however. When we hear the gospel word of God leading us to Jesus, let us immediate-ly respond to Him.
[Puritan quote of the day: "He who has been drinking spirits of wine, will not much thirst after water; and that man who has once 'tasted how sweet the Lord is,' (Ps. 34:8), and has drunk the cordials of the Spirit, will not thirst im-moderately after secular delights.” —Thomas Watson, in, "The Beatitudes"]