2 Chronicles 33:12-13 In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. 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.
The story of Manasseh is a remarkable one. It is a story of extreme sin, repentance, and redemption. His sins were perhaps not unique, but they were certainly severe, putting an idol actually in the temple Solomon had built. Thinking about it, that’s even hard to imagine. Then he paid the price, being led off to exile in shackles with a hook in his nose. (verse 11) Thoughtless cruelty has been a characteristic of mankind throughout history! What’s really remarkable to me is that his repentance was so real and so genuine, God answered in an unprecedented way. I frankly have no idea how, or even why, politically speaking, he was returned to his kingship after that, and I know of no other comparable examples in history. That his repentance was genuine is proved by all that he did after that, actively countering idolatry throughout Judah. It is sad that he wasn’t able to remove the idolatry from the heart of his son Amon, (verses 21-25) but his grandson Josiah was one of the best of the kings of Judah. I feel that too was a result of Manasseh’s repentance. I comment from time to time that the Bible is remarkable for not covering up the faults of those it records, even the “stars,” but it is also a unique record of redemption. The story of Manasseh should give us hope, even for America in the present hour.
I’m grateful never to have gone as far afield as Manasseh did, but I have certainly had my moments of spitting in God’s face in one way or another. The thing is, I have had absolutely no excuse. God in His grace has shown me my sin and drawn me back to Himself, far more gently than I deserved. I’ve never had a hook put through my nose! At times I have doubted my own repentance, when I have stumbled in the same way repeatedly, but as Paul quoted to Timothy, “If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13) In reflection, I am frequently amazed at God’s patience with me. The least I can do is seek to respond, and pray that my descendants, both physical and spiritual, will be like Josiah.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You that the Bible is indeed a book of redemption, on so many levels. I ask You to use me to show people their need of redemption, and to communicate to them that it is indeed available. May the trials You allow us to experience draw us to true repentance, as they did Manasseh, for the salvation of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!