The Power of God's Grace

The Power of God’s Grace

Read 2 Chronicles 33

‘When Manasseh prayed to God, God was moved by his entreaty and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.” (vs. 13)


            Of all the kings of Judah, there was perhaps none more wicked than Manasseh. Manasseh was 12 years old when he ascended to the throne after the death of Hezekiah. It was said of Hezekiah that there was not a king of Judah before him who walked in obedience to God (2 Kings 18:5-6). He had been faithful in following God’s commands. However, his son chose a completely different path. While Hezekiah set the high water mark of righteousness, Manasseh would set the low water mark. The writer of the book of Kings would summarize the depth of Manasseh’s perversion by stating that he had done “wickedly more than all the Amorites did who were before him.”  He led the nation of Judah into the most depraved forms of idolatry. The depth of his sin is highlighted in 2 Chronicles 33:6. He practiced human sacrifice, even sacrificing his own children. He embraced witchcraft, divination, sorcery, and spiritism. He not only was a worshipper of idols, but he also embraced the worship of Satan himself. His reign was marked by terror in which he slaughtered his own people. In 2 Kings 21:16, it states that Manasseh filled Jerusalem from one end to another with innocent blood. If there were an evil Hall of Fame, his name would be mentioned with the worse of them. He was a rival to Ahab in the pursuit of evil and sin. In an ultimate act of wickedness, he placed a carved image even in the temple itself. If someone else was more wicked than Manasseh in Judah, they are not mentioned in the Bible.  His evil became so great God had enough, and we find in 2 Kings 22:13-15 God promises to bring swift and complete judgment upon the nation of Judah. Manasseh set the stage for Judah’s ultimate fall and captivity. 

            God’s judgment came when the Assyrian army invaded and captured Jerusalem. After their victory, they placed hooks in Manasseh’s nose,  bound him with bronze chains, and took him to Babylon (vs. 11). However, it is now here that the story and life of Manasseh take a completely unexpected turn. Manasseh, humbled before men and taken into captivity, now humbles himself before God and cries out to God for help and forgiveness (vs. 12). In a remarkable display of God’s grace, God delivers Manasseh and brings him back to Jerusalem. When he returns, he is a changed man. He is no longer the violent blasphemer of God. Instead of Manasseh the destroyer, he became Manasseh the reformer, leading the nation into a revival and spiritual restoration. Despite all his sin and unfaithfulness, a single act of humble surrender to God brought salvation and restoration to him (vs. 19).   

            The writer of Chronicles, who is writing to the people after the return of the exile of the nations of Judah and Israel, conveys this story not only to remind Israel of God’s forgiveness of Manasseh but also to remind Israel and Judah of God’s forgiveness of the Jews. Just as the Jews were sent into captivity because of their sin, their repentance led to their restoration to the land under Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah.  Just as God restored Manasseh, so he also restored the Jews. 

            This story serves as a lesson to us today. No matter how much we may descend into sin, no matter of much we fall into the clutches of evil and rejection of God, there is hope and mercy available if we turn to Christ. God’s grace can overcome the worst of sinners. It is not the past that defines us but the present.  Are we willing to accept the offer of God’s grace?  When we do the guilt of the past is the removed and the joy of eternal life lies ahead.



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