Day 38

Manasseh’s Repentance

2 Chronicles 32:1-33, 2 Chronicles 33:1-25, 1 Timothy 1:15

BY Patti Sauls

My first childhood theater experience was the musical Peter Pan. I remember the fancy lobby, the red velvet chairs, and the crowd’s buzz as we waited for the curtain to rise. I also remember booing at Captain Hook as he schemed against Peter and cheering for Tinkerbell when she rescued him. There were good guys and bad guys, and I was delighted to participate in the tale.

As I read about the kings of the southern kingdom of Judah, I similarly shuffle them into categories. “Boo!” to King Ahaziah; “Yay!” to King Jehoshaphat. There are so many names and details that my mind instinctively attempts to simplify the data. 

But there’s a problem with this approach. The conclusions are false. My categorizing leads to polarizing. I regard each king as all bad or all good, either sinner or saint. It may be easier for my mind to make sense of oversimplified labels, but they’re not true. There’s much more to every king’s story. 

Today we learn about King Hezekiah and King Manasseh. As we read, let’s resist the urge to categorize and oversimplify. Instead, let’s make space for complexity and nuance as we consider their faithfulness and brokenness. 

First, we cheer for King Hezekiah, who restored the temple, smashed idols, and defended Jerusalem. He led with faith, courage, and prayer. “He did what was right in the LORD’s sight” (2Chronicles 29:2). Yay! But there’s more to his story. Even this faithful man of God arched his back in pride as he refused God’s provision during an illness (2Chronicles 32:25). Can we accept the truth that even mighty King Hezekiah was a mixed bag? 

Next, we boo Hezekiah’s son, King Manasseh, who practiced witchcraft, defiled God’s temple with idol worship, and even burned his children to death as sacrifice to false gods. Clearly, he was wicked and led Judah far from the Lord. “He did a huge amount of evil in the LORD’s sight, angering him” (2Chronicles 33:6). Booing is a massive understatement. But there’s more to his story, too. Deep in his pride and rebellion, Manasseh hit rock bottom. As a defeated king and shackled prisoner in Babylon, he turned to the Lord in prayer and repentance. Can we accept the truth that even evil King Manasseh was a mixed bag too? “When he was in distress, he sought the favor of the LORD his God and earnestly humbled himself before the God of his ancestors” (v.12).

Yes, there’s more to these stories. In fact, there’s complexity and nuance in everyone’s story. We may be tempted to categorize ourselves or others as all bad or all good, but this is not biblical. Our best days don’t define us, and neither do our worst. God defines us. And He calls us His children. Saved by grace. Sinners made saints. May we delight in participating in this ultimate, true tale of God and His kingdom. 

Post Comments (41)

41 thoughts on "Manasseh’s Repentance"

  1. Addie says:

    The LORD is altogether GOOD!

  2. Kimberly Z says:

    So late to the game today as I’ve been running around like crazy all day. This devotional is very fitting for me today as I finally finished up jury duty and the trial has wrapped up. It is so easy to cast judgement on somebody even when we don’t know them. As I reflect back on the decision we came to it is a comforting reminder that even though on our best days they don’t define and same with our worst days. @Foster mama praying for you!!

  3. Aimee Rogers says:

    Yes this was a really good one. It seems they did a lot of back and forth. One king sought God he died he son rebelled against God…over and over. You think they would learn but things are still much the same today.

  4. Victoria E says:

    Foster Mama! Thank you for your comment. I am praying for your decision about this client !

  5. Victoria E says:

    Adrienne. Paring for you

  6. Jennifer Anapol says:

    This devotional was spot on. I too have been oversimplifying these kings by placing them into good or bad categories. We are so much more complicated and dynamic than these categories can describe. In one moment I am following after God and in the next moment I am following after my own sinful desires. God sees me as his child in my best moments and my worst. I pray I would see myself and those around me as he sees me.

  7. Mercy says:

    What a change of event! What a surprising twist when repentance hits the innermost of one’s heart. The Lord of glory brought a drastic 360 change of one’s life, from fetters in Babylon to being an honorable king. What a full restoration of status, heart and mind, power and influence. Our God is amazing and full of surprises.
    Praying for prayer requests of our dear sisters, VICTORIA E, DOROTHY, SEARCHING, FOSTER MAMA.
    @LISA CHAPEK: amen that the real enemy is desperate. May we continue to intercede for healing to come, and an awakening/repentance from leadership level.

    If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14 ).

    Be blessed dear sisters. The name of the LORD is a STRONG TOWER; the righteous run to it and are safe (Proverbs 18:10).

  8. Dorothy says:

    “there’s complexity and nuance in everyone’s story.” When I read this I knew Patti had some how gotten into my mind and thoughts. I seem to be calling out to God and Christ every other day if not every day for some reason or another. God, Christ and the Holy Spirit are the true friends I know I can count on to get me through any situation.
    Sisters, I asked yesterday for prayer regarding my sister, Carol, well she is in the hospital. I am going to have to talk to her about getting her son out of the house. Please pray for God to help me use the proper words and to not sound mean but to be unrelenting.
    Be blessed and know God, Christ and the Holy Spirit are ALWAYS, ALWAYS there for you.

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