John the Baptist commanded the multitudes to bear fruit worthy of repentance (Matthew 3:8 and Luke 3:8). This verse helps reveal the most common reason people fail regarding repentance. They put off without putting on. They stop the sin without starting the accompanying behavior God wants. Manasseh, the evilest king of Judah, surprisingly is a great example of repentance, as well as a tremendous vessel of God’s mercy and forgiveness.
Table of Contents
- Lessons for Bear Fruit Worthy of Repentance
- Family Worship Guide for Bear Fruit Worthy of Repentance
- Sermon Notes for Bear Fruit Worthy of Repentance
- Lesson 1: In affliction you can harden or humble yourself.
- Lesson 2: Genuine repentance bears fruit.
- Lesson 3: Forgiveness doesn’t mean no consequences (part I) we might not be able to undo what we did.
- Lesson 3: Forgiveness doesn’t mean no consequences (part II) for others.
- Lesson 3: Forgiveness doesn’t mean no consequences (part III) our kids might carry on our sins.
- Lesson 4: Manasseh shows God’s mercy knows no bounds.
Lessons for Bear Fruit Worthy of Repentance
- Lesson 1: In affliction you can harden or humble yourself.
- Lesson 2: Genuine repentance bears fruit.
- Lesson 3: Forgiveness doesn’t mean no consequences:
- (Part I) We might not be able to undo what we did.
- (Part II) For others.
- (Part III) Our kids might carry on our sins.
- Lesson 4: Manasseh shows God’s mercy knows no bounds.
Family Worship Guide for Bear Fruit Worthy of Repentance
- Day 1: Read 2 Chronicles 16:7-12 and discuss: How did Asa respond to God in the midst of his affliction? Can you discuss a time you were afflicted and you humbled yourself? What about a time you hardened yourself? What can you do to ensure you humble, versus harden, yourself when suffering?
- Day 2: Read Matthew 3:8, Luke 3:8; Ephesians 4:22-32; Colossians 3:8-12 and discuss: How do we know if repentance is genuine? Why do many people fail when it comes to repentance/producing lasting change? What is a temptation you struggle with? To develop victory in this area, what do you need to “put on,” or in other words, what fruit needs to be produced in its place?
- Day 3: Read 2 Chronicles 33:1-21 and discuss: What is forgiveness? What does forgiveness not mean? What consequences were in Manasseh and the Jews’ lives as a result of Manasseh’s sins? Can you think of other people in Scripture who repented, were forgiven, but still suffered consequences? Despite Manasseh’s wickedness, why is the end of his life so encouraging? What does Manasseh teach us about God’s forgiveness and mercy, or another way to say it is: what do we learn about Christ’s sacrifice?
Sermon Notes for Bear Fruit Worthy of Repentance
The title of this morning’s sermon is, “Fruit Worthy of Repentance.”
We’re going to look at one of the evilest men who ever lived. I can’t think of anyone, Jew or Gentile, that approached the wickedness Manasseh engaged in throughout his lifetime.
Please turn to 2 Chronicles 33:1…
2 Chronicles 33:1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem.
That’s the longest reign of any king in the OT. Just to put this in perspective, Saul, David, and Solomon each reigned 40 yrs.
2 Chronicles 33:2 But he did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel. 3 For he (Manasseh) rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down; he raised up altars for the Baals, and made wooden images; and he worshiped ALL THE HOST OF HEAVEN and served them.
He worshipped everything you could worship EXCEPT God.
Now for a moment, let me pause our reading about Manasseh, so I can share something w/ you that will give context for what we just read…
Manasseh’s father was Hezekiah. He was one of the greatest reformers in the OT. Let me share a few verses w/ you…
2 Kings 18:4-6 [Hezekiah] REMOVED the high places and BROKE the sacred pillars, CUT DOWN the wooden image and BROKE in pieces the bronze serpent. [There] was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor who were before him.
It could just say Hezekiah removed sin from the land, but notice the repetition of verbs: removed, broke, cut down.
He attacked sin like it was a cancer. His ruthlessness and severity is a great picture of the ruthlessness and severity we need to demonstrate toward sin. We tend to treat sin too lightly, but God wants us to remove sin from our lives like Hezekiah removed sin in his nation.
As you read about many of the kings in the OT, it will say a king was good, but then it will also say, “But the high places remained.”
Hezekiah has the unique distinction of being one of the few kings great enough to remove even the high places. It was a tremendous accomplishment.
I mention all this, b/c if you look at verse 3 it says [Manasseh] rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down.
Manasseh became king and reversed the great things his father did for the Lord.
Here’s what else makes Manasseh so terrible…
He rejected one of the godliest heritages anyone ever had. Everything he did would’ve been bad even if he came from an evil father, but considering Hezekiah was his father makes his actions even worse.
I think there’s application for children and parents:
- The application for children is, your accountability is higher if you’re raised in a Christian family. If you’re a child and you’re sitting here right now b/c your parents bring you to church each week, that’s a blessing, but it also makes you more responsible.
- The application for parents is, I think Manasseh can be an encouragement to godly parents whose children turn from the Lord. I imagine this must be very hard for parents, but Manasseh shows that even children raised by Hezekiah can rebel against the Lord.
Let’s look at verse 4…
2 Chronicles 33:4 He also built altars in the house of the Lord (notice he put these altars in God’s temple!), of which the Lord had said, “In Jerusalem shall My name be forever.” 5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord (notice he also put these altars in God’s temple). 6 Also he caused his sons to pass through the fire in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom; he practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft and sorcery, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger.
It seems like he filled the temple w/ as many idols he could fit.
According to God’s Law, everything Manasseh did was punishable by death, but the worst sin has to be sacrificing his sons – plural – to the false god Molech. I can’t think of anything wickeder than that. The parallel account in 2 Kings 21:16 says Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another. This refers to all the child sacrificed he performed.
The end of verse 6 says Manasseh’s actions [provoked God] to anger. His sins include soothsaying, mediums, and spiritists. The modern-day equivalents are astrology, horoscopes, and fortune-tellers.
We might not think these actions are as bad as murder and adultery, but they provoked God to anger in Manasseh’s day and they do the same to God in our day. If you’re a Christian you have no business being involved in these practices.
Look at verse 7…
2 Chronicles 33:7 He even set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of God, of which God had said to David and to Solomon his son, “In this house and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put My name forever;
A few things make this particularly bad…
First, notice this was an idol HE MADE! There were countless idols in the land, but that wasn’t enough for him. He needed to make it his own.
Second, where did he put it? He put it in the temple! The parallel account in 2 Kings 21:7 says the idol was of Asherah, the Canaanite goddess of fertility. She was worshipped through ritual prostitution. Manasseh turned God’s temple into a place of sexual immorality.
Take a look at verse 8…
2 Chronicles 33:8 and I will not again remove the foot of Israel from the land which I have appointed for your fathers—only if they are careful to do all that I have commanded them, according to the whole law and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Moses.” 9 So Manasseh seduced Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do MORE EVIL THAN THE NATIONS WHOM THE LORD HAD DESTROYED BEFORE THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL.
In other words, Manasseh led Judah to act WORSE than the Canaanites that Israel drove out of the land. This means Manasseh introduced evil that was literally unheard of up to this point. When you think of the evilest people in the OT, you think of the Canaanites. Manasseh led Israel to be worse than that. It was as though he sought unusual and outlandish sins.
Look at verse 10…
2 Chronicles 33:10 And the Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they would not listen.
God graciously warned Manasseh and his people, referring to the Jews.
It’s easy to look at this verse and NOT see ourselves in it, but I would ask…
Do we read God’s Word, and disregard what He’s saying to us through it? Do we hear God through Scripture, and then ignore what He’s saying to us?
If so, we’re doing the same thing as the Jews.
Jam 1:22 says we must be doers of the Word and not hearers only.
Look at verse 11…
2 Chronicles 33:11 Therefore the Lord brought upon them (the people of Judah) the captains of the army of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze fetters(these are just shackles or chains like inmates or prisoners wear), and carried him off to Babylon.
Since Manasseh and Judah wouldn’t repent, God was forced to judge them. If He didn’t judge them, He’d be unjust. The reason God warned them, and the reason He warns us, is He wants us to repent so He doesn’t have to judge us.
The hooks being referred to were actually hooks that went through the people’s noses and then were attached to a long rope to keep everyone walking in line while they were carted off.
Manasseh is really suffering. He was king. He was wealthy. He was powerful. But now he’s lost everything. He’s got chains on his feet, a hook in his nose, and he’s being carted off to Babylon.
And this brings us to Lesson 1…
Lesson 1: In affliction you can harden or humble yourself.
When we’re suffering b/c of our sins we face two choices:
- We can harden ourselves toward God and become angry that we’re being disciplined.
- Or we can humble ourselves and repent.
Before we look at Manasseh’s response, let me show you another king. Briefly turn a few chapters to the left to 2 Chronicles 14:2…
Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God.
I wanted you to be able to read these words for yourself. Asa was one of the best kings in the OT.
But at the end of his life something happened. Please go two chapters to the right to 2 Chronicles 16…
Here’s the context…
Asa faced an enemy, but instead of turning to God for help, he turned to the ungodly Syrians. So God rebuked him through a prophet. Look at verse 7…
In verse 7 Hanani said to Asa, “Because you have relied on the king of Syria, and have not relied on the Lord your God, therefore the army of the king of Syria has escaped your hand.”
He was rebuked and look at verse 10 to see if he hardened himself or humbled himself.
2 Chronicles 16:10 Then Asa was angry with the seer, and put him in prison, for he was enraged at him because of this. And Asa oppressed some of the people at that time.
He hardened himself so much he punished the prophet that rebuked him…AND his own people!
It got even worse. Look at verse 12…
2 Chronicles 16:12 And in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa became diseased in his feet, and his malady was severe; yet in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but the physicians.
When God gave Asa this disease in his feet, it was a gracious way for him to have another chance to humble himself and turn to Him. But he continued to be hardened toward God. There’s nothing wrong with going to the doctors, but the verse is written in such a way so as to imply he ONLY went to the doctors and would NOT seek God.
There are many people in Scripture who responded poorly when they suffered, but I chose Asa b/c there’s something that makes him different: he’s one of the best kings in the OT. The fact that this can happen to him should cause all of us to be on guard against this happening to us too.
And I’ll tell you something that I wouldn’t believe if it wasn’t written in Scripture…
Just as much as Asa is considered one of the best kings, Manasseh is considered the worst. But believe it or not, Manasseh is about to put Asa to shame. Turn back to 2 Chronicles 33:12…
2 Chronicles 33:12 Now when he was in affliction, he implored the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers,
This is how we should respond when we’re afflicted b/c of our sins.
There are many wonderful examples of repentance in Scripture:
- David after he was confronted by Nathan
- The people of Nineveh when they repented under Jonah’s preaching
- The Prodigal Son when he returned to his father
- The thief on the cross when he confessed Jesus as Lord
But I don’t think any of them are as dramatic as Manasseh’s repentance, b/c I don’t think any of these people approached his wickedness.
Look at verse 13 to see how the Lord responds…
13 [Manasseh] prayed to Him; and He received his entreaty, heard his supplication, and brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.
The end of verse 13 says Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God. That’s an OT way to refer to saved people! We’re going to see Manasseh in heaven someday!
At WCC we’ve been going through Luke’s Gospel, and we recently reached Luke 11, which records Jesus teaching the Lord’s prayer. I’ve been stressing to my congregation that Jesus encouraged us to pray to our Heavenly Father. I also said, thinking of the relationship between children and their earthly father can influence the way we view our Heavenly Father.
For example, if you had a cruel earthly father, then you might think your Heavenly Father is the same. If your earthly father was unforgiving, then when you think of repenting and turning toward God, you might expect Him to respond angrily, saying something, “You did all these terrible things and now you need to pay for all of them before I even think of forgiving you or hearing your prayers again. You’re looking at years and years of penance for your sins.”
But that’s not the God of the Bible:
- The NT account that makes this clear is the Story of the Prodigal son. The son returned to the father, and the father immediately received him.
- The OT account that makes this clear is right here w/ Manasseh.
Manasseh humbled himself, repented, and God received him despite all the terrible things he had done.
Now here’s what you could say when I tell you this: “How do we know Manasseh is really repentant? It’s easy to sound repentant, but it’s another thing to actually be repentant.”
If you said that you would be exactly right. So the question is, how do we know when true repentance has taken place?
This brings us to Lesson 2…
Lesson 2: Genuine repentance bears fruit.
John the Baptist knew how to encourage repentance. It didn’t matter who he was speaking to – heathens, tax collectors, prostitutes, or the religious leaders – he had the same message for all of them…
Matthew 3:8 and Luke 3:8 he said, “Bear fruits worth of repentance.”
These words tell us something about repentance that we don’t often consider. I would go so far as to say these words reveal WHY many people fail when it comes to repentance: our repentance must produce fruit.
When I say the word, “repent”, my suspicion is the first thing that comes to mind is stopping. That’s good, but that’s only half of what it means to repent. The other half is we also have to start something.
Paul also knew how to preach repentance, and listen to what he said…
Acts 26:20 the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.
In Scripture this is known as:
- Putting off and putting on…
- Severing and replacing…
The clearest teaching on this is Ephesians 4. Please mark your spot in 2 Chronicles 33 and turn there…
Let’s say some of us struggle w/ lying. Look at verse 25 to see how to repent of this sin…
- 25 Therefore, putting away lying – so here’s what you repent of:
- Here’s what you stop…
- Here’s what you put off…
- Then it says Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor.” Here’s the fruit you produce:
- This is what you start…
- This is what you put on…
So if you have a problem w/ lying, it’s not enough to simply stop lying: you have to make a conscious effort to start telling the truth. This probably means concentrating on your speech and making sure what you say is accurate.
Next, let’s say you struggle w/ stealing. Look at Ephesians 4:28…
- Let him who stole steal no longer – this is what you repent of. This is what you stop or put off…
- Then it says but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.
- This is the fruit that’s produced:
- This is what you start or put on.
Let’s say you have a problem w/ the way you talk. Look at Ephesians 4:29…
- Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth – this is what you repent of, stop, put off…
- Then it says but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
- This is the fruit to produce. This is what you start or put on.
- It’s not enough to simply stop saying unwholesome things. You must consciously speak words that edify and build up.
Finally skip to Ephesians 4:31 where Paul sums it up:
- Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice – repent of all this:
- Stop all this…
- Put off all this…
- Ephesians 4:32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. This is what we start, put on, and replace the sins of verse 31 with. If someone has genuinely repented of the sins in verse 31, they’ll produce the fruit of verse 32.
You don’t have to turn there, but Paul communicates the same truth about repentance producing fruit in Colossians 3:
- 8 Now you are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. This is what you stop or put off.
- Then Paul lists everything to produce in Colossians 3:12 put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another.
- If people have genuinely repented of the sins in verse 8, they’ll produce the fruit in verse 12. This is the fruit that reveals their repentance is sincere.
You probably noticed the verses are presented as opposites or opposing pairs:
- Whatever you repent of, you try to produce the opposite of that as fruit.
- If there’s a sin in your life that’s not covered in the verses we discussed, then think about the opposite of that sin. More than likely that’s the fruit you need to produce if you want to repent of that sin.
We’re looking at one of the main reasons people say, “I stopped doing this. I repented. Why do I keep struggling?”
The question is:
- Okay, you stopped, but what did you start doing?
- What did you replace that sin with?
- What fruit accompanied your repentance?
To be practical:
- You stopped going to bars, but what did you start doing instead?
- You stopped yelling at your kids, but what did you start saying to them instead?
- You stopped watching things you shouldn’t, but did you start reading your Bible more?
- You tried to stop coveting, but did you start giving?
In the language of Ephesians 4 and Colossians 3, you put off bitterness, wrath and anger, but did you put on kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness?
So let me give you an encouragement…
When there’s sin in your life, make sure your prayers are two-fold:
- Father, what do you want me to change?
- What do you want me to stop doing?
- What should I repent of?
But then also pray:
- What do you want me to start doing?
- What do you want me to replace that sin with?
- What fruit do you want to see accompanying my repentance?
With this in mind, go ahead and turn back to 2 Chronicles 33…
So here’s the question…
Since anyone can act sorry, was Manasseh really repentant?
How will we know?
I’m glad you asked!
Let’s see if he bore fruit worthy of repentance. Look at verse 14…
2 Chronicles 33:14 After this he built a wall outside the City of David on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, as far as the entrance of the Fish Gate; and it enclosed Ophel, and he raised it to a very great height. Then he put military captains in all the fortified cities of Judah. 15 (Here’s where it gets good…listen to what he put off) He took away the foreign gods and the idol from the house of the Lord, and all the altars that he had built in the mount of the house of the Lord and in Jerusalem; and he cast them out of the city. (Now look what he put on…) 16 He also repaired the altar of the Lord, sacrificed peace offerings and thank offerings on it, and commanded Judah to serve the Lord God of Israel.
We talked about:
- Stopping and starting.
- Putting off and putting on.
- Severing and replacing.
This is probably the best example in all of Scripture along with Zacchaeus.
I don’t think it’s too much to say that as much effort as he previously put toward wickedness, after his repentance he put as much effort toward pleasing and serving God.
So here’s what we need to ask ourselves when we sin:
- Does our repentance bear fruit?
- When we’re sorry, does it lead to change?
If you really want to know the answer:
- If you’re married, ask your spouse.
- If you’re a parent ask your children.
- If you’re a child, ask your parents.
Look at verse 17…
2 Chronicles 33:17 Nevertheless the people still sacrificed on the high places, but only to the Lord their God.
The verse starts w/ the word Nevertheless or some Bibles say However, which tells us everything isn’t perfect!
This brings us to Lesson 3, and it will have 3 parts…
Lesson 3: Forgiveness doesn’t mean no consequences (part I) we might not be able to undo what we did.
Back in verse 13 it says God heard Manasseh’s prayer and then restored him as king. That was very gracious of God, and it would be easy for us to say, “Wow, I can’t believe it; there must be no consequences!”
There were definitely consequences for Manasseh…
Look back at verse 17. Ironically, the high places are mentioned again. Yes, they’re being used for God, but you can tell their existence isn’t a good thing. The people were supposed to worship God at the temple, not at these manmade inventions. They were worshipping God, but not the way He commanded.
No matter how sincerely Manasseh repented, and no matter how hard he worked to remove the sin he introduced, he couldn’t get rid of all of it. This must’ve been a constant reminder to him of what he’d done.
It’s important to keep this in mind, b/c sometimes we equate forgiveness w/ the absence of consequences. But the church is FILLED w/ people who are forgiven, but still live w/ the consequences of some of their actions.
The next part of Lesson 3…
Lesson 3: Forgiveness doesn’t mean no consequences (part II) for others.
God is repetitive when He wants to make sure we don’t miss something, and twice we’re told Manasseh led Judah to act worse than the Canaanites whom God drove out of the land,
- 2 But he did evil in the sight of the Lord, ACCORDING TO THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE NATIONS WHOM THE LORD HAD CAST OUT BEFORE THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL.
- 9 So Manasseh seduced Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do MORE EVIL THAN THE NATIONS WHOM THE LORD HAD DESTROYED BEFORE THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL.
If God drove the Canaanites out of the land for the way they acted, then what would we expect God to do w/ the Jews if they acted WORSE than them? Drive them out too…and that’s what He did! Within 50 years God used Babylon to conquer the Jews and bring them into exile.
But you say, “Manasseh repented, so why was Judah punished?”
There were terrible consequences for the nation AFTER Manasseh repented, b/c our sins have consequences for others.
Manasseh is actually singled out as THE REASON God took Judah into exile:
- 2 Kings 24:3 Surely at the commandment of the Lord [the Babylonians] came…to remove [Judah] from [God’s] sight BECAUSE OF THE SINS OF MANASSEH, ACCORDING TO ALL THAT HE HAD DONE.
- Jeremiah 15:4 God said, “I will hand Judah over to [Babylon]…BECAUSE OF MANASSEH THE SON OF HEZEKIAH, king of Judah, FOR WHAT HE DID in Jerusalem.
Even if we’re forgiven, our sins still have consequences for others. There’s a real selfishness to sin, b/c it’s doing something that we know others will pay for too!
Sin never affects just the sinner.
The last part of Lesson 3…
Lesson 3: Forgiveness doesn’t mean no consequences (part III) our kids might carry on our sins.
Manasseh’s son was Amon. Look at verse 21…
21 Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. 22 But he did evil in the sight of the Lord, as his father Manasseh had done; for Amon sacrificed to all the carved images which his father Manasseh had made, and served them. 23 And he did not humble himself before the Lord, as his father Manasseh had humbled himself; but Amon trespassed more and more.
Amon became king after his father, Manasseh. He learned from his father and was already so entrenched in his own wickedness that his father’s repentance had little effect on him.
Even though Manasseh repented, notice that twice Amon’s wickedness is attributed to his father. It says [Amon] did evil in the sight of the Lord, AS HIS FATHER MANASSEH HAD DONE; for Amon sacrificed to all the carved images WHICH HIS FATHER MANASSEH HAD MADE
Amon was the biggest casualty of Manasseh’s wickedness was his son, Amon, who became king after him. If Manasseh would’ve been alive to see his son reign, he would’ve felt like his father, Hezekiah, would’ve felt if he had been alive to see Manasseh reign.
One of the ironies of Manasseh’s life is this: he reversed the great things his father, Hezekiah, did. Then he had a son, Amon, who acted like him and reversed the great things he did at the end of his life.
There are a lot of great reasons NOT to sin, and one of the greatest is so we don’t have to see our sins show up in our children.
Although this chapter seems tragic and challenging, it’s one of the most encouraging in all of Scripture, and this brings us to Lesson 4…
Lesson 4: Manasseh shows God’s mercy knows no bounds.
While some people have addictions to alcohol, anger, pornography, or drugs, Manasseh literally seemed addicted to evil. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who could compete w/ his wickedness.
He seemed to hate God more than anyone else in Scripture. He’s almost a satanic figure through the first half of the chapter. It wasn’t enough for him to sin, he had to sin in the worst ways possible. Some people are rebellious, but Manasseh lived like his greatest desire each day was to carry out his own personal vendetta against God.
His life was evil and disturbing. BUT…
- As unbelievable as Manasseh’s actions are in these verses, Someone else’s actions are even more unbelievable.
- We marvel at what Manasseh did, but we must marvel even more at what God did.
Think of it like this:
- Manasseh’s wickedness is unimaginable, but God’s mercy is more unimaginable.
- As great as Manasseh’s evil was, God’s grace is even greater.
If only people who committed a certain amount of sin could be forgiven that would teach something terrible: it would teach there’s a limit to Christ’s sacrifice.
Let me get you to think about something…
There are no wasted words in Scripture. Whenever God takes up some of the precious space, there’s a reason.
Why did God take up so much room describing Manasseh’s wickedness? Why isn’t there just one verse saying, “He was really, really evil.”
Why go into so much detail?
So we can see what God is willing to forgive.
If it simply said, “Manasseh was evil,” we’d be left to wonder how much God forgave. But with all this detail, you don’t have to wonder how much God will forgive. You can see it with your own eyes!
Let me give you an illustration…
Katie’s never really been into expensive jewelry…which is why I married her…j/k.
Even though I’ve never taken Katie to any fancy jewelry stores, I know this is what they do: they take out the diamonds and they lay them on a really black velvet background.
Why do they do that? It brings out the beauty of the diamonds.
Do you see how God did that in this account?
Manasseh’s life is the black velvet background that brings out the beauty of God’s grace and mercy:
- If God forgave someone like Noah, Daniel, or Samuel, that wouldn’t be very meaningful, would it?
- But we can really appreciate the greatness of God’s grace and mercy when it’s against the backdrop of a life like Manasseh’s.
We’ve seen nobody, not even a Manasseh is beyond being forgiven.
But as encouraging as this account is, it also carries a heavy burden, and the burden is this…
We’re left w/o excuse!
This account prevents you from saying:
- “God could never forgive me.”
- “I have done too much for God to ever be merciful to me.”
- “God could never love me after what I’ve done.”
When God can forgive a man like Manasseh, we know He can forgive people like us.
And what did Manasseh do to be forgiven? He repented. Genuine, sincere repentance that produced fruit.
If you do that you see that nobody – not even a Manasseh – is beyond being forgiven.