Never Too Late

“Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. 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 the host of heaven and served them. 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 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. And the carved image of the idol that he had made he set in the house of God… Manasseh led Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem astray, to do more evil than the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the people of Israel.

“The Lord spoke to Manasseh and to his people, but they paid no attention. Therefore the Lord brought upon them the commanders of the army of the king 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 before the God of his fathers.  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…

“And he took away the foreign gods and the idol from the house of the Lord, and all the altars that he had built on the mountain of the house of the Lord and in Jerusalem, and he threw them outside of the city. He also restored the altar of the Lord and offered sacrifices of peace offerings and of thanksgiving, and he commanded Judah to serve the Lord, the God of Israel.” 2 Chronicles 33:1-4,6-7a, 9-13,15-16

Following the mostly righteous 29-year reign of his father Hezekiah, Manasseh took the throne as a rebel. Five decades of subversive rule, wickedness, and entrenched idolatry hardened Judah seemingly beyond repair. But God is long-suffering and abounds in steadfast love and mercy. The tenderness of His heart kneads and softens the hardest spiritual callouses unto His grand purposes. Manasseh’s was no fake turn-around-when-times-are-tough, but a genuine coming to his spiritual senses and knowing the Lord was God. He was supernaturally humbled. The proof was in his complete turnaround in behavior, heart affection, and direction of leadership. (Psalm 103:8-14)

Personalities and proclivities get deeply entrenched over years of practiced habits. Over time, we hone our preferences until they become ingrained, and develop ugly default reactions of heart and mind. Unknowingly we lose the sensitivity needed to recognize spiritual waywardness. But when the Spirit makes us aware, we mustn’t deem ourselves beyond change or repair. He has power to convict, deliver, and transform.

What personal areas is He revealing that are not fully yielded, sanctified? Would we ask for open minds and malleable hearts, and increasing hunger for righteousness? Might this be a year of tremendous growth into His likeness?

Lord, apply Your Spirit’s perfect timing and ways to my full sanctification, for Your glory.

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