Imagine

Written by Jim Hardwicke (my Youth Pastor when I was in high school):)

Imagine a man who turns an entire nation away from God. Imagine a man who deals in black magic. Imagine a man who causes the death of many innocent people. Imagine a man who murders his own infant children. Is there any hope for someone like that? Could God ever forgive and even use someone like that? Meet Manasseh in 2 Kings 21:1-18 and 2 Chronicles 33:1-20. As king of ancient Judah:

1. He led his entire nation into apostasy by worshipping idols (2 Chron. 33:1-3).
2. He even built altars to idols in God’s holy temple (2 Chron. 33:4-5, 7).
3. He even murdered his own children, offering them up as sacrifices to idols (2 Chron. 33:6).
4. He was a sorcerer and a witch and dealt with those who channel demons (2 Chron. 33:6).
5. He led his nation into more evil than the pagan nations which lived in Palestine before God’s people did (2 Chron. 33:9).
6. He would not listen when God spoke to him (2 Chron. 33:10).
7. He shed very much innocent blood (2 Kings 21:16).
8. He was the cause of God determining to wipe out Jerusalem and let His people be taken captive into exile (2 Kings 21:11-15).

But that’s not the end of the story.

Manasseh repented! When the Babylonians captured and imprisoned him (2 Chron. 33:10-11), he humbled himself greatly before the Lord (33:12), and prayed to Him (33:13). Amazingly, God restored him to his throne (2 Chron. 33:13) and Manasseh knew in his heart that the Lord was indeed the true God (33:13). He demonstrated his repentance and faith by removing idolatry from Judah and leading his people to worship the Lord (33:15-17). That’s amazing mercy and grace.

But that’s not all.

The first chapter of Matthew records Jesus’ genealogy. Guess who is included in v.10? Manasseh. It is astounding that God would take the worst king in Judah’s history and bring from him the Messiah! It makes me want to fall on my knees in awe at God’s amazing grace, mercy, and forgiveness to even the most wretched of sinners.

So what about you?

Do you think you’ve sinned too often or too deeply for God to ever use you significantly? Think again. Lift up your eyes to the one who lifted up Manasseh, the God who forgave him, cleansed him, and dramatically used him. But what if you’re still caught up in serious sin? What if, like Manasseh, you find yourself chained as a result? Then, like with Manasseh, God is just waiting for you to humble yourself greatly before Him and pray to Him.

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