Can It Be?

Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel. For he rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had broken down, and he erected altars to the Baals, and made Asheroth, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. And he built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, ‘In Jerusalem shall my name be forever.’ And he burned his sons as an offering in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, and used fortune-telling and omens and sorcery, and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger.” 2 Chronicles 33:1-4,6

Manasseh was one of the worst. Born during the latter (weak) years of his famous father Hezekiah, much of his long reign was spent undoing the good established before him, and once he got started, his wicked and idolatrous practices spread like infectious gangrene throughout the land. But God, Who loves sinners, pursued. When words had no effect, He used captivity, and it was there in his distress that Manasseh saw the light, entreated the Lord, and humbled himself. “Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.” The Lord returned him to Jerusalem, where his new spirit was evident in his removal of idols and restoration of proper worship. “He commanded Judah to serve the LORD.” Can it really be? Yes, God can indeed change a heart of stone into a heart of flesh! (2 Chronicles 33:13,16; Ezekiel 36:26)

Coral at Queensland beach, Australia 2

Where am I dealing with an impossible? A besetting sin habit I can’t ‘shake,’ choices of a loved one I see going nowhere good, an addiction, a financial disaster, loathing of someone I am to honor and respect, a looming health issue that has grown tentacles of smothering fear, a breaking marriage or strained familial relationship? Those of us who know Jesus were all headed in the opposite direction from God when He broke in; those of us who have been changed in any manner know His power. He Who transformed abominable Manasseh can do anything He pleases, and His plans will not be thwarted. Though we, or loved ones, may combat and chafe and run the other way, when God pursues the rebel He will win in the end. He pierces light into darkness, He makes beauty in the harshest places, He softens the resistance of our flint wills. Take heart! It is never too late for a mighty work of God! (Ephesians 2:1-6)

“Long my imprisoned spirit lay, Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray—I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.                Amazing love! How can it be, That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?”                       ~Charles Wesley (1738)

God on high, I put my hope in You today, offering up all my impossibles to Your throne of grace and might. Have Your way with me and with those I love, to Your ends and for Your glory. (Jeremiah 32:17; Luke 1:37)

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