To read the account of King Manasseh of Judah is absolutely amazing in regards to the mercy of God. Manasseh literally did everything he could to provoke God to fury. Reading about his faithlessness and sin toward God is like watching a fatal train crash in slow motion. I found myself actually getting angry at him myself as it was told of him going so far as burning his own sons as sacrifices to idols. How could God ever forgive someone for something so vile?! Besides that, he “led Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem astray, to do more evil than the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the people of Israel.” Seriously?? God spoke to them and they refused to listen and “he did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger.”
There’s that phrase…and yet. It often follows when talking about God. I can read about the horrible way God’s people act and of how faithless we can be, then follows, and yet.
Manasseh was entirely faithless…completely faithless, AND YET God was faithful. The following is a remarkable passage in light of Manasseh’s depth of depravity:
12 And when he was in distress, he entreated the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers.13 He prayed to him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God. (emphasis mine)
Look at that! God was moved by his entreaty and forgave him. Is there really no depths from which God cannot restore? Is there really no one too far gone that God cannot bring back. If God can bring Manasseh to restoration after such amazingly depraved actions, surely there is hope for anyone. There is hope for us.
The Lord, my God, is an alarmingly merciful God. Yes, a God of justice and judgment, but of mercy and grace. Thank you, Father, for your abundant and sufficient loving-kindness. Your mercy endures forever!