King Manasseh was the son of King Hezekiah in the Old Testament. King Hezekiah loved the Lord and reformed the nation of Judah to follow Him. Manasseh was born when Hezekiah was 42 years old and succeeded to the throne of Judah at the age of 12. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. If Manasseh were alive today we would have said of him that he was bought up in a ‘good Christian home.’ He would have regularly worshipped Yahweh at the Temple and had lessons in the Torah. Manasseh would have grown up hearing the stories of God’s miracles during his father Hezekiah’s reign - the defeat of the Assyrian army by the angel of the Lord, the sun going backwards by 10 steps, the miraculous recovery of his father from his illness and even Manasseh’s birth as heir so far into Hezekiah’s reign.
So when Manasseh became king what did he do? He turned away from the faith of his fathers. The catalogue of his sins is utterly shocking - he built pagan shrines, even in the Temple of the Lord, he set up altars to Baal and Asherah and worshipped them, he sacrificed his own sons in the fire to Molech, he murdered so many innocent people in Jerusalem that the streets were filled with blood. Manasseh practiced sorcery, divination, witchcraft and consulted with mediums and psychics. In addition to this, as king he led the whole nation into all this evil.
The Lord warned Manasseh but he did not listen. So the Lord allowed him to be captured by the Assyrians. They put a ring through his nose, chained him and carried him away to Babylon! How utterly humiliating. We have cattle on our farm and sometimes a bull may have a ring in its nose. What does the ring do? My husband tells me that the ring settles them, so that they can be broken in to be led around. Once the ring is in, the more weight you put through the rope attached to the ring the more the bull is able to be disciplined. Obviously Manasseh needed some serious disciplining.
What happened in Babylon was amazing. ‘But while in deep distress, Manasseh sought the Lord his God and sincerely humbled himself before the God of his ancestors. And when he prayed, the Lord listened to him and was moved by his request. So the Lord brought Manasseh back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh finally realized that the Lord alone is God!’ (2 Chronicles 33:12-13). How merciful is our God!
As followers of Jesus we long to see our succeeding generations walking with the Lord. We do our best in setting a godly example for them to follow, teaching them God’s ways and praying for them. However every generation is responsible for their own destiny. Maybe you have children, grandchildren or loved ones who are not walking with the Lord. They may be living a life of blatant rebellion as Manasseh did. What the Lord wants you to know today is there is no sin too great or no heart too far gone for Him. Jesus is merciful. Don’t give up, though the waiting may be long. Allow God to work in their heart in His perfect time and way, as He did with Manasseh, and He will bring them to the place of humility and repentance.
Manasseh spent the rest of his reign as king restoring the nation and the Temple and becoming a godly king. What I think is really wonderful is that Manasseh is named in the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:10). He is an amazing example of the mercy of God and the power of God to transform a life. Let Manasseh’s story inspire you today.
Prayer: Father God, I thank You for Your great mercy. I lift up my loved ones to You today and ask You to extend Your mercy to them even though they have turned away from You and done evil in Your sight. I thank You for Your great love for them and I pray that You will bring them to a place of humility and repentance in Your perfect time and way. I entrust them into Your care. May all my succeeding generations love and follow You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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