Wonder of God Meditations 27: A God Goal
2 Chron 33:12 “In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors.”
We said yesterday that sometimes, when God sees what it can achieve, He allows ‘challenging circumstances’ in order to bring repentance. Repentance is the crucial doorway to opening up a relationship with the Lord, an acknowledgment of our failures, our inadequacies, the things we would otherwise prefer to cover up. Yet they are things that prevent us fully entering into the wonder of all the Lord has for us. But there has to be a specific goal or direction of this change – God. His goal is to draw us back to Him, the fount of all life.
I think this is one of those occasions when we need to declare afresh what I simply refer to as ‘the big picture’. God created this world -designed it and brought it into being – as a perfect word and us as human beings on it with the potential of using that ‘image-of-God’ part of us to rule over this world, bringing order and peace. But we also have free will and almost from the word go, we have used it to be self-centred and godless, living in ways contrary to God’s design for us, contrary to the way He designed us to live, what the Bible calls Sin.
But ever since that original ‘fall’ God has been working behind the scenes, and sometimes not so behind the scenes, to draw us back to Himself without violating our free will. The first phase, seen in Gen 1-11 saw Him just allowing mankind the freedom to live as they will. He was there but not very obtrusive. The second phase started with Abram in Gen 12 where God sought to build a relationship with one man, his family, and then the nation which that family grew into. He dramatically moved to help them and make them a nation though the exodus and the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai and then continued to speak into the lives of its rulers and its people for some three or four centuries afterwards.
Essentially all that second phase did was reveal the extent of this sinfulness in mankind, Israel under the microscope if you like. Manasseh is a classic demonstration of that revealed sin, but he is also a classic example of God moving on his circumstances to bring him to his senses and to a right attitude towards God. Phase 3 and onwards was the coming of the Son of God to earn redemption for mankind. But in each of these ‘Phases’ God was there in the background, working all the time to deliver us, one way or another, out of our self-centred godlessness and back to a God-centred godly life in which all of the design-goodness of God can be experienced. Coming back to God, for Manasseh and for us, becomes the doorway to receive all the goodness that God has on His heart for us. Manasseh is about to receive that.