I have been reading just recently in 2 Chronicles chapter 33 about one of the amazing turn-arounds mentioned in the Bible. It’s well worth reading for yourself and to take encouragement for those of us who have family and/or friends who have abandoned God and pursued sin with a vengeance.
Manasseh was a direct descendant of King David and was crowned King of Judah when he was only twelve years old and his reign lasted for fifty-five years. Talk about a reign of terror – there was never such a wicked despot of a king to lead the people of Israel.
Manasseh is the epitome of wickedness and perversion unheard of in all the annals of history of the genealogy of ancient Israel and Judah combined.
He worshipped the Baals, the disgusting gods of the Midianites and the peoples that occupied the land prior to the Children of Israel.
Manasseh was the son of Hezekiah ~ the king who had worked hard to bring the people back to God ~ Hezekiah had torn down the idols and burnt the Asherah poles which the people were worshipping in the hill country. Hezekiah encouraged the people to turn to God and he re-built the temple and obeyed the laws of Moses and in turn the people followed his lead.
Manasseh on the other hand, constructed heathen alters in the holy place of the temple ~ he consulted spiritualists and mediums and fortune tellers ~ he ignored completely the God of his ancestors.
He even sacrificed his own children as burnt offering to the gods and he encouraged every sort of evil imaginable.
He also slaughtered many innocent lives including his own people and prophets of the Lord.
2 Kings 21:16 tells us that he shed so much innocent blood that he filled Jerusalem from one end of it to the other. Moreover he caused the people of Judah to commit vile and evil sins that turned God against him and the people.
Ancient records also tell us that he probably killed the mighty prophet of God, Isaiah by sawing him in half from head to toe. Hebrews 11:37 says that many were ‘sawn in two” and Isaiah was more than likely the very first to suffer this grisly execution.
So we can see that Manasseh’s rule was one of terror and evil and he became THE very worst king in all of the history of Judah.
Yet God had other plans…
Manasseh had an amazing example in his dad ~ Hezekiah was probably one of THE most Godly kings in the history of Judah yet Manasseh couldn’t care less about that because he loved himself and hated God and because of this he caused the entire population to turn away from the one true God who had saved them over and over again.
If there was ever a person destined for hell it was Manasseh. He was truly a hopeless case until God stepped in and we can read about an incredible turn-around in him and the people that he led.
You know ~ our God is so merciful. It is not His intention that anyone should suffer because of their personal sinfulness. God wants all of us to be saved ~ all we have to do is to come to Him and repent of our sin and turn away from temptation and trust Him to fill us with His spirit. He is the God of the impossible as we will soon discover.
As we read in Chapter 33, Manasseh “encouraged the people to do even more evil than the nations that inhabited the land before them” (verse 9)
Many brave souls were sent by God to warn him and the people to turn back to God but they were totally ignored (verse 10). I hate to think whatever happened to those poor courageous people ~ all for doing what God had asked them to do.
Strangely it was the barbaric and evil Assyrian army that finally opened the eyes of our evil king. They attacked Judah and took Manasseh in bronze chains and hooks and carted him off to Babylon. It was there that he came to his senses ~ enslaved to an evil king and people he cried out to God and humbled himself before Him.
God answered His prayers and he found himself back in Judah ~ You know God will answer your prayers too ~ sometimes it’s not exactly in the way we think it may have been answered, but God loves us and the mercy he showed Manasseh is the same mercy He extends to all of us today.
Manasseh’s rule changed dramatically. He destroyed all the idols he personally had set up and rebuilt the alter for the Lord in the temple. The people turned back to God and his reign ended up being one the longest in the history of the Israel.
No matter how bad you think you may be ~ how evil your thoughts, actions or motives, God wants to take control and change you as He did to Manasseh..
If our great and miraculous God can change someone like Manasseh, He can change you! God does not promise us a trouble and strife free life ~ all those wicked things that Manasseh did and all of those people that he murdered so brutally were not restored to life miraculously. No! there were scars aplenty!
Just like in our lives ~ we can’t change the past ~ there may be scars and big ones at that ~ but like Manasseh we CAN be reconciled to God and our sins CAN be forgiven by our Father and forgotten by Him as well.
Many many families are broken and destroyed by sin and often they will never be mended. Yet many have come to Christ and been changed for the good for eternity. Scars of our past remain but in place of those there is reconciliation and undeserved blessings given by a gracious, loving and merciful God.
Manasseh’s reign was horrific to say the least ~ yet at the end of his life, because of his repentance and obedience, God welcomed Him into his presence and God will do the same for us no matter our past and what we are dragging around after us.
If you have a past that you feel is just way too gross to come to God ~ please relate back to the story of Manasseh ~ come to God no matter what you have gone through ~ He is more than willing to bring you back to Him if you are truly repentant.
Also keep praying for those of your family/friends who may have turned their backs on God ~ Our God is able to do what we consider may be impossible. All we have to do is keep trusting in Him and bringing our family and friends to Him constantly.
God bless you this week as you turn your past, present and future over to the one who holds it all in His hands of love and mercy.
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