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Abijah was once the king of Judah and his mother was Maacah, the daughter of Absalom. However, Abijah was not loyal to God, as David had been. Nevertheless, the Lord allowed Abijah’s son to rule after him: “The Lord did this because David had done what pleased him and had never disobeyed any of his commands, except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.” Uriah was a mistake that David lived with the rest of his life, and it was something that made him despondent at times.


David’s sin seems like a big exception. He had allowed Uriah, one of his most loyal officers, to be killed because he wanted Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife. David saw her taking a bath and sent for her and “he made love to her.” She became pregnant, so David tried to make it look like it was Uriah’s child. When that didn’t work, he had Uriah killed and Bathsheba became his wife. And yet, “except for Uriah,” David was a man after God’s own heart. 


Moses was also a man who pleased God, except for the Egyptian he killed: “Moses looked around to see if anyone was watching, then he killed the Egyptian and hid his body in the sand” (Exodus 2.12). Then Moses escaped to the land of Midian. God used Moses in a mighty way, and he led the Israelites through the wilderness for 40 years.


Jonah also followed God’s commands, except when he ran from the Lord and found a ship going to Spain. Eventually he followed God’s instructions and returned to Nineveh, but he didn’t like it. He paid dearly for running away and ended up for three days and nights in the belly of a large fish. Even the fish didn’t like the taste of him. However, the Lord heard him and rescued him: “When my life was slipping away, I remembered you—and in your holy temple you heard my prayer” (Jonah 2.7).


Abraham and Isaac were mighty men of God, well-known and rich, with many animals. Before he was called Abraham, he was Abram and the Lord told him to go to a strange land where “I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others” (Genesis 12.3). But Abram had a problem ,if you can call this a problem: His wife was beautiful, and he was afraid the Egyptians would kill him to get his wife Sarai, so he said that she was his sister. And when the palace officials saw her, realized their mistake and reported on her to Pharaoh, they give Abram “many gifts because of her.” However, the Lord also punished Pharoah and his household because of her, and Abram had to admit Sarai was his wife. Abram was expelled from the country. He had done well, except for calling his wife his sister. Isaac followed in his father’s footsteps.


Judah was the fourth son of Jacob, who had 12 sons. Judah had bitterness and some jealousy over Joseph and yet he kept Joseph from being killed by his brothers. Judah slept with a woman he thought was a prostitute, but she turned out to be his own daughter-in-law, Tamar. He was a man who tried to do what was right, except for Tamar (and Joseph).


Jacob is regarded as patriarch of the Israelites and, except for deceiving his father and cheating his brother and except for being a righteous deceiver, he was a strong leader for his people.


Paul and Barnabas were exceptional workers and partners in the early church, except for their argument about Mark, where “Their disagreement was so sharp that they separated. Barnabas took John Mark with him and sailed for Cyprus” (Acts 15.39).


Peter was a great disciple and vowed to follow Jesus to the very end of his life. And he did, except for the time he didn’t and claimed he didn’t now Jesus, saying, this time with an oath, “I don’t even know the man,” he said” Matthew 26.72)


Judas Iscariot was one of the 12 disciples and followed Jesus, except when he went to the leading priests to arrange to betray Jesus (Mark 14.10).


Zechariah was a servant of God, and an angel told him that his wife Elizabeth would have a son and he was to name him John. Zechariah questioned the angel, saying, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years” (Luke 1.18) Because he didn’t believe the angel, he could not speak until the child was born. Zechariah was a choice servant and, except for the name of John the Baptist, was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied. 


I have many “except for” instances in my life: I was good in high school, except for when I wasn’t; I did the right thing with my friends, except for when I didn’t; I loved my wife and always helped her, except for…; I was a good missionary, except for…; and the list goes on. You can make up your own list. But let us remember: We would still be holding our sins, except for Jesus who released us from bondage and forgave us “all our sins.”


We would also go to our rightful punishment as sinners, except for Jesus taking our place on the cross and atoning for our sins.


And, except for Jesus, we would be separated from God forever.


Karl Franklin


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