Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. And 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...
"Manasseh led Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem astray, to do more evil than the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the people of Israel..."
2 Chronicles 33:1-2, 9
Manasseh was probably the worst king Judah ever had, and that’s saying something! He was the son of the great and good King Hezekiah but actively destroyed all the good his father had done. He not only promoted idolatry and burned his own children as sacrifices to idols, he practiced witchcraft, sorcery and necromancy. Under his direction Judah became “worse than the nations God had driven out of the land when Israel came out of Egypt.” Where others had nailed the doors of the Temple shut, Manasseh brought his idols in and set them up right inside the Temple.
But God in His mercy still loved Manasseh and He did what had to be done to get his attention and turn his heart.
"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. And when he was in distress, he entreated the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. He 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."
It worked! Manasseh came back from prison a changed man.
"And 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. He 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."
2 Chronicles 33:11-13, 15-16
This is one of the most amazing stories of grace in the entire Bible. It reminds us that it’s never too late for anyone; God’s love and mercy know no limits and He is always ready to forgive. Jesus has already paid the price for our sin and forgiveness is offered freely to anyone who returns to God in true repentance.
Lord, have mercy on our world today, as You have done in the past. Give us a spiritual awakening, a revival that will once again bring many to salvation and change the course of history. Begin in our hearts; awaken us with a new commitment to You and to Your Word in our churches, so that we can be ready to receive those who will be coming into Your Kingdom. Prepare our hearts, for Jesus’ sake, amen.
Pastor Dan Giles