Saturday, October 20, 2012

Bible in 90 Days: Redeeming Love

There is a truth that unbelievers and probably believers, too, don’t want to grasp and that is that God is a loving, redeeming God … no matter how “bad” you are, no matter what “bad” things you’ve done, no matter your past, no matter what anyone else on this earth has said or thought about you. No matter what. You cannot out-bad God’s love.

There are many who would use the story of Saul, whose name was changed to Paul later, as an example of this crazy redemption. And, people, it is a great example. You can find it in the New Testament. However, I discovered another one as we read through the Kings and Chronicles. And, his name is Manasseh, King of Judah.

The story of Manasseh is found in 2 Kings 21:1-18 and 2 Chronicles 33:1-20 . 

I would like to say, Manasseh was beyond what I would call an unsavory character. He was someone you would not want to meet anywhere, much less in a dark alley. Seriously, this fellow put the “b” in bad and even the “w” in worse! He worshipped everything but God and even went so far as to sacrifice “his own son on the fire, practice sorcery and divination and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord, provoking him to anger.” 2 Kings 21:5. During Manasseh’s rule, he and the people did not listen to God and Manasseh led the people "astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites.” 2 Kings 21:9 and 2 Chron. 33:9b. You know the things, all those evil things God spoke against in Leviticus, and then some.! To put it mildly. And, to make matters worse, “Moreover, Manasseh also shed so much innocent blood that he filled Jerusalem from end to end – besides the sin that he had caused Judah to commit, so that they did evil in the eyes of the Lord.” 2 Kings 21:18. I won't even go there.

The Lord even sent prophets to speak to the people and Manasseh “but they paid no attention.” 2 Chron. 33:10b. Heart. Breaking. So, the Lord sent an army against them and hauled them all off. Manasseh was taken prisoner. The Assyrians “put a hook in his nose, bound him with shackles and took him to Babylon.” 2 Chron. 33:11b.

And here is what I love …

"12. In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. 13. 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."

Redeeming love.

The rest of the story of Manasseh’s life can be read in 2 Chronicles 33:14-20. The short version is he got rid of all the foreign gods (idols) and foreign altars he had built and rebuilt the outer wall of Jerusalem.

He humbled himself and God had mercy and Manasseh lived the rest of his life a changed man who followed God.

And, guess what? That amazing, grace-filled, completely undeserved redeeming love is available to all who are willing to receive it and give their life over to Christ. Isn’t He just amazing!!

No comments: