S (Scripture): 2 Chronicles 33:10 The Lord confronted Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. 33:11 So the Lord brought against them the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria. They seized Manasseh, put hooks in his nose, bound him with bronze chains, and carried him away to Babylon. 33:12 In his pain Manasseh asked the Lord his God for mercy and truly humbled himself before the God of his ancestors. 33:13When he prayed to the Lord, the Lord responded to him and answered favorably his cry for mercy. The Lord brought him back to Jerusalem to his kingdom. Then Manasseh realized that the Lord is the true God.
O (Observation): After all the good that Hezekiah did as king, Manasseh comes after him and goofs things up again. The author here says that Manasseh was worse that the people who occupied this land BEFORE God handed this land over to the Hebrew people!
Interestingly, God does not cause people to have faith, directly. God, in this case, works through the enemies of His people, in order to help the people of Judah remember that God can and does care for all those who call on the name of The Lord.
Amazingly, God’s steadfast love and faithfulness rules. God, once again, protects God’s people and extends mercy, once they start to to repent and seek forgiveness.
But faith is not forced into one’s heart. God does not coerce faith, but invites all to believe.
A (Application): I feel like I’ve wandered from the Lord so many times, that I’ve lost count. And now, as a parent, I can easily forget all those times I erred, when I scold our children. I look at our children and try to balance reprimand with love.
I guess I can just step back and try to see my life as that of Manasseh: go on my own, fail, repent, believe.
I guess my kids can do this, too. Go off, fail, repent, believe. But there is a letting go that must take place. That must be the scariest place.
We don’t hear of God fretting over that letting go process, but God does seem to let go.
I wonder if this is how Covenant works? Is it a more passive “I’m always here for you” gesture from God? Or is it more of a “You can go, but I’m going to relentlessly hunt you down and never let you go” kind of gesture?
Today, I lean toward the former (the “I’m always here for you”). That’s how my parents are for me. Maybe they influenced my view of God in this way.
I’m okay with that.
How do you see this letting go process?
P (Prayer): Lord, help us all to know that we are loved. Help us to know that you are always there for us, every step of the way. Amen.