Paying Attention

Today I went to Denver to take my mother to my eye doctor to have her eyes examined. We found that he sight in her left eye is very limited. However, when we returned to her home, her doctor paid a visit and I found that her blood oxygen level is higher than mine! Perhaps all that walking she does at 92 is paying off.

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. 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.” 2 Chronicles 33:12,13 ESV

Manasseh was one of the child kings of Judah. What is of interest is that most of the child kings were righteous in character and followed the Lord. However, from age 12 the only the commentary is that Manasseh for 55 years “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.” (2 Chronicles 33:2 ESV)

Hezekiah brought great revival and reforms only to see them reversed by his son. Hezekiah broke down altars to idols, Manasseh rebuilt them. Hezekiah was committed to following only the Lord, Manasseh followed many gods and even practiced child sacrifice. He practiced witchcraft and sorcery and even set up idols in the “house of the Lord.”

The Lord sent prophets to rebuke and warn, but he and the people “paid no attention.” So the Lord got his attention. The Assyrian armies came and invaded Jerusalem and they, “captured Manasseh with hooks and bound him with chains of bronze.”  

The pride of Manasseh suffered a shock. He went from the pinnacle of power, perhaps feeling with his long reign and authority invincible, to becoming a humiliated captive king in a foreign land. That would give anyone time to pause and reflect and repent.

We read that Manasseh, “…entreated the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers.” Once again we see the reality scripture declares, “he does not treat us as our sins deserve…” (Psalm 103:10)

Manasseh’s repentance was reflected in his actions. The Lord in His grace and mercy restored him to Jerusalem and to his throne.  “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 on it sacrifices of peace offerings and of thanksgiving, and he commanded Judah to serve the Lord, the God of Israel.” (2 Chronicles 33:15,16 ESV)

This is a great story for those who believe the Lord will not respond to their cry for mercy and forgiveness after living a self-centered and even wicked life. It is a great story for those who serve the Lord to see that the Lord is “faithful to forgive” and is “….merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.” (Psalm 145:8 NIV) It is a story that reveals, the Lord knows how to humble the proud and to get our attention, when we don’t pay attention. We see that true repentance is revealed by our attitude and actions.

Prayer for today….. Lord thank You for Your mercy and grace. Help us to “humble ourselves” – but if we need to be humbled by You, may we be quick to repent and to learn the lessons that You have for us.