Friday, December 28, 2007

Manasseh is turned back to God

Yesterday when I read 2 Chronicles 32 I was amazed at the faith of Hezekiah and how he remained faithful to God. Today when I read 2 Chronicles 33 it was with some dismay (even though I already knew the story) about how bad his son Manasseh was.
1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. 2And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel. 3For he rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had broken down, and he erected altars to the Baals, and made Asherahs, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. 4And he built altars in the house of the LORD

Of course I am amazed that someone aged 12 years was able to reign, and that may have contributed to the sinfulness displayed. But other children ruled (Josiah at age 8) for instance and they didn't commit such evilness. Manasseh even killed his own boys!
6 And he burned his sons as an offering in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, and used fortune-telling and omens and sorcery, and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger.

BUT!!! All this changed. :)
read on.....
10The LORD spoke to Manasseh and to his people, but they paid no attention. 11 Therefore the LORD brought upon them the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria, who captured Manasseh with hooks and bound him with chains of bronze and brought him to Babylon. 12And when he was in distress, he entreated the favor of the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. 13He prayed to him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God.
Do you see it? God disciplined Manasseh and Manasseh's heart was open enough to humble himself before God. And God listened. And so Manasseh learned that the Lord was GOD! How cool is that?!?!?!
And it was real! See here:
15And he took away the foreign gods and the idol from the house of the LORD, and all the altars that he had built on the mountain of the house of the LORD and in Jerusalem, and he threw them outside of the city. 16He also restored the altar of the LORD and offered on it sacrifices of peace offerings and of thanksgiving, and he commanded Judah to serve the LORD, the God of Israel.
Here I would have given up on Manasseh and said...there's no hope for that one. See how evil he is, nothing can redeem him!
How God shows me wrong in my arrogance. How God reminds me that there is hope for all people, despite the evil they do, to be turned in repentance to him.

All I can pray at the end of this story is for God to forgive my arrogance and self-satisfaction. Just like Manasseh I need to be humbled. Just like Manasseh I need to learn that I need God in my life. That the LORD is indeed God. That I should not doubt his ability to do anything (even turning the wicked back to him)

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