“Hound of Heaven” Meditations: 12. Long Term
2 Chron 33:13 Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God.
Anticipating this particular series will produce about a month’s worth of daily readings, we must be just over a third of the way through. So far we have been looking at people in the Bible who demonstrate how God pursues us to get us to the destination He has on his heart for us. This is the last of those before moving on to four studies examining more what it is He wants to get us to and then for the rest of the series we will see this same characteristic of God in the big picture of His plans throughout the Bible.
Manasseh is not the most endearing Bible character to study. To sum him up (and his story is worth reading), he did evil and was carried to Babylon (2 Chron 33:1-11) but eventually repented & was restored (2 Chron 33:12-20). In some ways it is that simple and that amazing. When you read the accounts of his evil in 2 Chron 33:2-7,9, you will see he followed the ways of the Canaanites (v.2), rebuilt high places, erected altars to Baal, made Asherah poles (v.3), built wrong altars in the temple (v.4,5). sacrificed his sons and practiced sorcery, divination and witchcraft (v.6), put a carved image in the temple (v.7) and generally did more evil than the Canaanites had done (v.9). Now you can’t get much worse that that! He was taken to Babylon in chains. Now watch!
“In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors. 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.” (v.12,13) Read on and you find him working to completely put right everything in the land. He is a changed man! It is possibly one of THE most dramatic changed in the whole of the Bible. Why? Because God pursued him – disciplined him, convicted him, listened to his repentance, released him and restored him. That is possibly one of the greatest examples of mercy you can find. Go through that awful list of his sins again. They are absolutely terrible and you wonder why God didn’t strike him down. I mean there are people He did strike down in Scripture for far smaller sins, but why not Manasseh? The answer, I suggest yet again, is that God knows the potential of us, knows what is possible and so knows that even in the midst of this man doing such terrible things – there is still something in him that can come to repentance – and that is what God is pursuing us for, because He sees where we can get to and if there is a hope of that change, then He will pursue and pursue and pursue. Hmmm. Think of your prodigals – and yourself – and pray with fresh hope.