Manasseh's Turn

How far does your forgiveness reach? Where is the line drawn on the limits of your love? At what point, at what sin do you draw the line and proclaim, "Too far, you've gone too far!"? If we were to query the Almighty, what would His response to these questions be? Where is His line of forgiveness drawn? With lying? How about stealing or cheating? Surely adultery pushes the limit. Murder? Yes, that's it, surely the Lord's love must reach its limit at the murder of innocents. Right? Try this, think of the worst that humanity has to offer (or has offered) and ask yourself this, would God forgive that?

I recently read the story of Manasseh, one of Judah's kings; one of Judah's most evil kings. As the king of God's chosen people, he should have lead the people into right acts and good deeds; proper worship. But instead, he lead them in the ways of the pagan nations that were in the land before them. He lead them with even more wickedness than the pagan nations had practiced! It's one thing to do evil, it's quite another to teach others to do the same.

The good that his father king Hezekiah had worked to restore, he destroyed. He set up altars to the false god Baal. He defiled God's house of worship, even setting up altars in the temple.  And surely the most wicked act of all, he sacrificed his children in the fire to his false gods. The list of Manasseh's wickedness goes on and on mentioning witchcraft, mediums, spiritists, and ignoring the warnings of God. Manasseh behaved so wickedly that he aroused the anger of the Lord. 

But the story doesn't end here. As I continued to read, my draw dropped (almost literally), and I shook my head in awe (literally) as I realized what the the Lord God did to Manasseh. 

The Lord sent an army from the Assyrians to attack Manasseh and lead him into captivity. He was taken away, brutally bound in shackles and pulled by hooks. Surely, God is righteous and this served Manasseh right for all of his evil deeds. But then something happened, and I've got to believe that God knew it would happen. Manasseh humbled himself, sought God's favor, and prayed. 

And God heard his prayer.  

What? God would forgive and restore this man? This man who piled evil upon evil and wickedness upon wickedness would receive grace upon grace? Does the love and forgiveness of God go this far? Surely it does. Anyone who thinks of the God of the old testament as wrathful and angry and punishing and unforgiving has surely never considered king Manasseh. God's goodness lead Manasseh to repentance, true repentance which is seen in Manasseh's restoration of the altar of the Lord, removal of the foreign gods, and instruction to the people of God to serve the Lord. Amazing.

The more I read scripture, the more I am convinced that God is love. Child of God, you can rest in knowing that you serve a faithful and loving God, One who is worthy of our devotion and love; One who waits with arms open wide. And while there is much more that could be learned from this story, I hope that what you read here offers you encouragement and exhortation to draw near to Him no matter what your circumstance.


  1. Eph 3:18

    may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,


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