Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“All have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God.”
The New American Bible
“How God treats sinners who knew Him but chose to leave Him.”
“Hezekiah slept with his fathers. Manasseh his son reigned in his stead. Manasseh was
twelve years old when he began his 55-year wicked reign.”
II Kings 20: 21, 21: 1
The Amplified Bible
“Among the attributes of God, although they are equal, mercy shines with even more
brilliance than justice.”
Miguel de Cervantes
“Let the wicked forsake (their) way and the unrighteous (their) thoughts, and let (them)
return to the Lord, and He will have love, pity, and mercy for (them), and to our God, for
He will multiply to (them) His abundant pardon.”
Isaiah 55: 7
The record of his life isn’t just painful-- it is disastrous, even evil. His name was Manasseh. And he was the son of Hezekiah who is referred to in Scripture as, “good King Hezekiah.” Manasseh certainly had the opportunity to see God in action in the life of his dad. But somewhere along the
way, this young man, with so much potential ahead of him, made the choice to squander
his God-given talents and opportunities and not only go his own way, but rebel in such a
horrendous fashion it is hard to read about him.
What’s more, this evil man ruled over his kingdom for fifty-five long, terrible
years. Just imagine if you were a God-fearing person living under the tyranny of this
despot. I know if I had lived at that time, I would have repeatedly asked, “Where is God?
Why doesn’t He do something?”
Here are just a few of the terrible acts of Manasseh chronicled in Scripture:
1.) He made his own son pass through fire and burned him as an offering to the
heathen god Molech. (II Kings 21:6)
2.) He practiced soothsaying, and dealt with mediums and wizards. (II Kings
3.) He made a graven image of the goddess Asherah and set it right inside the
house of God. (II Kings 21:7).
4.) He seduced the people under his rule to do more evil than the surrounding
heathen nations God had destroyed. (II Kings 21:9).
Enough you say! Well, here’s the topper. After burning his children; desecrating the house of God; and leading his people into more evil than was going on in the surrounding nations; he took the prophet of God, Isaiah, put him in a hollowed log and sawed him in half.
I don’t know about you, but if I had been God, I would have said, “This guy has
gone too far. He’s crossed the line. Enough is enough! Mercy is great – but my mercy
has limits! And Manasseh you have pushed the limit too far. There’s no mercy for
But this isn’t what God did. Ernest Ligon notes that “mercy does not always
express itself by withholding punishment.” In the case of Manasseh, God did not
withhold His displeasure at such willfully, wicked behavior. Having walked away from
the protection of God, Manasseh was left to the punishing hand of the King of Assyria, a
vile man himself whom the Bible says, “took Manasseh with hooks and fetters and brought
him to Babylon” (II Chronicles 33:11, Amplified).
Down in a prison cell, in a foreign country, awaiting what he probably believed
would be a torturous death, and I might add one he deserved, Manasseh got to thinking
about the God his own life had mocked. Here’s how beautifully the Bible records what
happened: “When (Manasseh) was in affliction, he besought the Lord his God and
humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. He prayed to Him, and God,
entreated by him, heardhis supplication and brought him again to Jerusalem to his
kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God” (II Chronicles 33: 12, 13,
It’s hard for me to understand this kind of mercy. This kind of grace. This kind
of love. But it’s the kind of love God gives us, even when we act like Manasseh.
However, I want to point out, Manasseh’s behavior had consequences even God
could not change because of the evil choices this man made:
First: Manasseh wasted years of his rule doing evil. He could not relive those
Second: Manasseh could not bring back the children he killed or the prophet
Isaiah, whom he murdered. He had to live with that fact.
Third: Manasseh changed and came back to God, but years of evil influence took
a toll on the people in his nation and many were led astray who never returned to
Fourth: Manasseh’s behavior was such a lousy example in his own home that he
could not save his son Amon who at 22 years-of–age began to reign in Jerusalem
and was so evil that after just two years his own servants conspired against him
and killed him in his house.
God’s mercy was wide and deep enough to include Manasseh, but the
consequences of his evil ways were his to live with.
What a story. And what a lesson for you and me. How does God treat sinners
who knew Him then chose to leave Him? With a mercy as wide as the ocean! With a
love as deep as the sea! With a forgiveness that blots out my transgressions like a thick
cloud! That’s how God treats us.
However, the life of Manasseh should serve as a lesson to us that when we have the
opportunity and the heavenly gift to choose to follow God’s way, let us use our power
of choice to never leave God’s side, for the consequences of our own willful way will be
painful to live with.
“Two works of mercy set a (woman) free: forgive and you will be forgiven, and
give and you will receive.”
“I sharpened my two-edged sword
of justice and truth
and took it to the altar
to be blessed by God.
‘Why thank you, Ellen,
another pruning hook.’
knowing that God was not the blind one,
and realizing once more,
that if God has enough mercy
to forgive me,
God has enough mercy to forgive
E. Ellen Adams
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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