The LORD spoke to Manasseh and to his people, but they paid no attention. 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. – 2 Chronicles 33:10-13 ESV
We can learn much from the biography of a man who some call the PRODIGAL KING. Manasseh’s story should give us all hope, no matter how far we are TODAY, away from God. In the Gospel of Luke (15:11-32) there is the story of the Prodigal Son- a wayward son who squanders his inheritance but returns home to find that his FATHER has not only forgiven him, BUT also FULLY RESTORES HIM and ALL celebrate! Manasseh’s Father, Hezekiah was a MAN OF GOD; HOWEVER, when His Father died, he took over the kingdom at 12 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. (2 Chron 22:1-2) He was so evil he had the prophet ISAIAH killed, by sawing him in half!
Leader, Manasseh became like the WORLD around him. He had a good example in Hezekiah, he started with a good foundation, he had a blessed life and yet the WORLD influenced him, and he became just like the WORLD around him! He bought into the world’s FALSE RELIGIONS, building altars to other gods, committing infanticide, sorcery, divination-fortune tellers, horoscope, tarot cards, palm readers….(2 Kings 21: 4-6) God loved Manasseh enough that He allowed the consequences of Manasseh’s choice to be fully experienced, so that the PAIN of HIS CHOICES would drive Manasseh to his knees and THEN back to God! It is one thing to KNOW GOD in a cognitive way, but when we are WITHOUT HOPE we can KNOW GOD in a deep, intimate, EXPERIENTIAL way! God will use our PAIN to bring us back to him! Sometimes the PEACE we pray for is the last thing we need- sometimes PAIN is the reason we go back to GOD!
Conduit, Hebrews 12:5-6 reminds us that GOD will walk with us through the consequences of our choices to teach us to make BETTER choices- next time. “My child, don’t make light of the LORD’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child. “And if you are a child of GOD you are not ‘getting away’ with anything; And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Rom 8:28) Manasseh shows us what is written in 2 Peter 3:9: The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. The Jewish historian noted something different about Manasseh after his conversion noted in 2 Chronicles 33:14-16. It is written; “And indeed, when he had changed his former course, he so led his life for the time to come, that from the time of his return to piety towards God, he was deemed a happy man, and a pattern for imitation.” END WELL, starting today, and become a PATTERN FOR IMITATION!