This guy is evil. More evil than Hitler. He’s in the Bible too.
Nope. It’s not Paul who persecuted the Christians.
It’s King Manasseh from the Old Testament! Wait, you don’t know who that is?
I’ll introduce him to you. Read all about him in 2 Chronicles 33.
Manasseh is the son of godly King Hezekiah who asked God to extend his life. God agreed by making his shadow walk backwards up the staircase. During the extra years of Hezekiah’s life, Manasseh was born.
Manasseh became king at 12 and reigned the longest for a whopping 55 years. But he did lots of evil things:
- Rebuilt high places, altars to Baal and Asherah poles that his father destroyed
- Worshiped the stars and heavens inside God’s temple
- Sacrificed his own children in the fire to the gods
- Practiced witchcraft, sorcery and many other evil things
That’s pretty wicked stuff he did. I guess he was even more wicked than the pagan nations around him.
So what happened? God was fuming mad!
10 The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. 11 So the Lord brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon. 12 In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors. 13 And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God.
God gave Manasseh a chance to repent but when he didn’t, God used the world to teach him a lesson. Manasseh was captured, tortured and finally realised how sinful he was. He repented and God was “moved”.
You know what moves God’s heart? True repentance.
Manasseh’s conversion is simply amazing! Imagine, God forgives the worst of sinners who humble themselves. That gives us all hope don’t you think? Some of us think that God would not accept us or that we don’t deserve to be saved because of our past sinfulness.
I’m telling you, God loves you and will not let you go. Even if He has to make you suffer like Manasseh to turn you back to Him, He will do it. Because our God “is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) and that “the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” (Hebrews 12:6)
It is out of God’s grace and love that he disciplines us.
Maybe you’re thinking, I’m not as bad as Manasseh. I don’t play with witchcraft or burn my children. I’m a good person. However, the Bible says “Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20) Everyone is a sinner and needs God’s salvation.
Let’s continue the story. But before that, I gotta share my unsettling feelings. When I read it, I wasn’t happy with the ending. Manasseh got off too easy. God just forgave him just like that? Ridiculous! Thankfully, I’m not God or Manasseh would have it coming. Our God is astoundingly gracious. As Del Augusta puts it “God spreads grace like a 4 year old spreads peanut butter. He gets it all over the place.” Wow.
Manasseh’s story ends beautifully. He builds up the walls of the city, destroys the foreign gods and re-establishes God’s altar for worship. The End. We’ll meet him in heaven no doubt.
His life tells us: It’s not about how you start, but rather how you end that matters.
Masasseh humbled himself and sought the Lord. The greatest sinner underwent the greatest conversion. A miracle. Impossible for man but possible for God.
How will your story end?