Trust God’s Infinite Grace
No one who repents is beyond God’s willingness to forgive.
Golden Text: Ezekiel 18:21
But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
This lesson is about Manasseh, the 13th king of Judah, the son of King Hezekiah. Manasseh, who reigned for 55 years, is generally regarded by Bible scholars as the most ungodly king of Judah. His wickedness is surprising, because his father, Hezekiah, is well-known to Bible readers as one of the most Godly Kings of Judah. After spending most of his life committing the worst of sins, Manasseh repented, and God forgave him. This is the main interest of this lesson; to see in the example of Manasseh that God’s grace is so inexhaustible, that no matter how Wicked a person may become, God will forgive and save from sin anyone who will sincerely
The key to salvation:
2 Corinthians 7:10
For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
THE WORST OF THE WORST
A. Long Reign of Evil
2 Chronicles 33
1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem:
2 But did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel.
3 For he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down, and he reared up altars for Baalim, and made groves, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them.
……His father Hezekiah reigned as king for 29 years. Look at what 2 Kings says about Hezekiah in ch. 18:
4 He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.
5 He trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him.
6 For he clave to the LORD, and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses.
…….Even through living a life of witnessing the blessings of God on his father’s kingdom, he still rebelled. One thing I preach to my children and other is this, no matter how strict we are or how well we observe rules and religion, our children must experience salvation for themselves.
……It is natural for a child to allow his/her flesh to rebel, but our correction must be by divine example.
…….Manasseh is the prime example of what Paul describes in Romans 1:
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
B. The Temple Desecrated
4 Also he built altars in the house of the LORD, whereof the LORD had said, In Jerusalem shall my name be for ever.
5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD.
6 And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.
…….Thought for the scripture: what are we doing to cause our children to go through the fire? I’ve experienced it myself, picking up habits that were never prevented in my childhood that have burnt me for years. Your children will never forget, if you don’t believe it then reflect on your own childhood memories.
7 And he set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of God, of which God had said to David and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen before all the tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever:
8 Neither will I any more remove the foot of Israel from out of the land which I have appointed for your fathers; so that they will take heed to do all that I have commanded them, according to the whole law and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Moses.
……. Manasseh not only allowed the idols in, but ordered them, knowing the consequences of his idolatry.
Let’s look at Leviticus 18:21 And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD.
25 And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.
Now ch 20:4 And if the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man, when he giveth of his seed unto Molech, and kill him not:
5 Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people.
C. An Evil Influence
9 So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen, whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel.
10 And the LORD spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken.
…….The Lord used his prophets to speak to and warn Manasseh, but he would not listen. Instead, he killed the prophets of his time and one of his victims was Isaiah.
II. JUDGEMENT, REPENTANCE, RESTORATION
A. Captivity and Repentance
11 Wherefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, (the kingdom that his father defeated) which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon.
12 And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers,
13 And prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God.
…….What a sign of Mercy, for God to do whatever it takes to point our eyes to him and his truth. It is never wrong to pray for God to save our loved ones, no matter what it takes.
B. Godly Leader by Example
14 Now after this he built a wall without the city of David, on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, even to the entering in at the fish gate, and compassed about Ophel, and raised it up a very great height, and put captains of war in all the fenced cities of Judah.
15 And he took away the strange gods, and the idol out of the house of the LORD, and all the altars that he had built in the mount of the house of the LORD, and in Jerusalem, and cast them out of the city.
16 And he repaired the altar of the LORD, and sacrificed thereon peace offerings and thank offerings, and commanded Judah to serve the LORD God of Israel.
17 Nevertheless the people did sacrifice still in the high places, yet unto the LORD their God only.
…….It is a sad thing to reflect on Manasseh’s life and know that the majority was corrupt.
But, No matter how far a person falls away from God, as long as he has breath, God can forgive.
C. Manasseh’s Epitaph
18 Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and his prayer unto his God, and the words of the seers that spake to him in the name of the LORD God of Israel, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel.
19 His prayer also, and how God was intreated of him, and all his sin, and his trespass, and the places wherein he built high places, and set up groves and graven images, before he was humbled: behold, they are written among the sayings of the seers.
20 So Manasseh slept with his fathers, and they buried him in his own house: and Amon his son reigned in his stead.
III. GOD WILL FORGIVE ANYONE
A. God’s Amazing Forgiveness
21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
……. Grace. Mercy.
22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.
…….What a thought, even though we sometimes can’t forget our past, God will never bring it up. Don’t let the Devil tell you any different.
23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?
…….The predesdinated plan for every person is to come to the knowledge and relationship with God through the forgiveness and Repentance of our sins.
B. God Leads to Repentance
4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
…….It is the goodness and love of God that draws us away from sin.
5 But after thy hardness and impenitent (unrepented, admitting no change of mind) heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
…….Out of a heart that desires sin, comes hardness to the knowledge of punishment for sin.
When sinners yeild to God’s goodness, and repent and receive His forgiveness for Christ’s sake, they are saved from sin and sinful living, and freed to live in the righteousness of Christ.
C. God Shows no Partiality
6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
11 For there is no respect of persons with God.
…… Because there is no respect of persons with God (vs. 11), every person who comes to him repenting and seeking his forgiveness will be treated with perfect fairness by him.
It has often been said that the Cross of Christ is the great equalizer, for at the foot of his cross, we all are sinners, we all need his forgiveness, we all need the Salvation from sin and death only he can give us, and we all desire the everlasting life only he can give. When we trust in Christ for our Salvation, we all have in common our one Lord Jesus Christ.