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Monday, August 6, 2012

Manasseh and God's Great Mercy

Manasseh was a bad king. He was the son of a wonderful man, but he chose to do his own thing. Sadly, he rebelled against all he knew was right and consciously chose to do wrong. He built altars to false gods, sacrificed his own children in the fire to idols, and was involved in all kinds of witchcraft.

2 Chronicles 33:6b says he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.

In fact, the Bible says, So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen, whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel. And the LORD spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken (33:9-10). Can you imagine? Worse that the heathen! Would not listen to God!

Manasseh and his people paid dearly for that sin. The Babylonians came, captured them, and took Manasseh in fetters back to Babylon. (Sometimes, it takes something serious to help us wake up, see our ways for what they are, and take store.)

Thankfully, Manasseh had the right response to his trial and captivity. He humbled himself before God (verses 12-13).

God had mercy.

How wonderful God is! It doesn’t matter how sinful we’ve been, God has mercy enough for us. Even if we have been as rotten as Manasseh and have influenced others to follow us into sin, God shows mercy towards us.

I think about Manasseh’s sins and the equivalents in today’s culture:         
            False religious practices, including the worship of images
            Abortion and infanticide
            Witchcraft, Satanism, and the occult
            Rebellion against God and morality, a total lack of respect for holiness

The good news is that God never changes. Just as He was willing to forgive Manasseh when he humbled himself, God forgives us when we do the same. God still takes the initiative and calls us to repentance.

It’s best when we listen the first time to God’s call. (If Manasseh had listened, he might not have been chained and carried away to Babylon.) We need to humble ourselves before God. Maybe we’re already at the very bottom—in some kind of “chains.” We need to be looking to God for forgiveness and mercy.

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon (Isaiah 55:7).

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23).

God is there. He cares. He forgives. What a blessing!

1 comment:

  1. I heard a sermon once based on the idea that if God could forgive Mannaseh, arguably the worst of sinners, He could forgive anyone -- great hope for us all.

    Something I didn't realize until very recently was that he was born during the extra 15 years Hezekiah asked the Lord for.


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