“Manasseh reigned fifty-five years… and did what was evil.., according to the abominations of the nations. He rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had broken down, and erected altars to the Baals, and made Asheroth… He built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. He burned his sons as an offering.., and used fortune-telling and omens and sorcery, and dealt with mediums and necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger… Manasseh led Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem astray, to do more evil than the nations whom the Lord destroyed before Israel.
“The Lord spoke to Manasseh and to his people, but they paid no attention. Therefore the Lord brought upon them… the army of Assyria, who captured Manasseh with hooks and bound him with chains of bronze and brought him to Babylon. And when he was in distress, he entreated the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly… He prayed.., and God was moved by his entreaty… and brought him again to Jerusalem… Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.
“Afterward he built an outer wall for the city of David.., and raised it to a very great height. He also put commanders of the army in all the fortified cities in Judah. He took away the foreign gods and the idol from the house of the Lord, and all the altars that he had built.., and he threw them outside of the city. He restored the altar of the Lord and offered on it sacrifices of peace offerings and of thanksgiving, and he commanded Judah to serve the Lord.” 2 Chronicles 33:1-3,5-6,9-16
Decades of depraved idolatry, sorcery, blasphemy, and steering a nation away from the LORD. Manasseh was by every appearance and practice irredeemable. Rebuffing God’s mercy-sent prophets proved a heart hardened beyond softening and a life beyond repair. But nothing is impossible with God. Relentless in His pursuit, and acting in so only He could receive the glory, the Lord hooked and chained His way into the recesses of Manasseh’s conscience, and transformed him. (Luke 1:37)
None is too distant that the Almighty cannot pursue and redeem. When God goes after a lost soul, He will not cease until He has accomplished His saving work. He uses whatever necessary to ensure complete turnaround and surrender.
Have we so distorted our worship and sin-sullied ourselves that we believe we’re lost forever? Does shame or regret restrain our ‘yes’ to God’s nudges and pulls? His mercy is sufficient to cover our sin, and His grace powerful to vanquish its inclination. Once His eye is set, He will not give up. How long until we surrender? (Hebrews 10:12-14; 1 John 1:9)
Do we try to dictate or limit the ways God woos His own? Would we recognize and rejoice that He uses both proclamation and bronze chains, feathers and whips, and prescribes what is necessary to bring about His holy ends? (Malachi 1:2)
Whom do we long to awaken to His salvation call? Do we faint in prayer, impatient with their resistance? While we may not understand how or why God tarries, we can trust He will be glorified best by His marvelous plan. (Galatians 6:9; Ephesians 6:18; James 5:16-18)
Lord, may I never give up hope for Your possibles. May I pray without ceasing, and with sure expectation, for the sake of Your glory.