I have taught the story of Manasseh from II Kings 21 many times and I am always amazed at how God lavished His grace on Manasseh when he repented. Manasseh was the Stalin of Bible times. He built the idol Molech and worshippers threw their children into the fire that burned in the belly of Molech to try to gain favor of this pagan god. He killed so many innocent people (probably Christians) that blood ran down the streets of Jerusalem. And yet, when he repented God forgave him. He faithfully served God in the last years of his life, tearing down all the false idols and admonishing the people to worship only God. He must have looked back with regret at the wasted years and the wickedness of his past.
It reminds me of the 81-year-old lady who came to Prasso many years ago. God spoke to her heart about her own bitterness as she worked through the lesson on anger/bitterness. When she returned to class she shared with her discussion group that she had been bitter all of her life. She said that she blamed everyone else for her bitterness…they didn’t meet her expectations; they disappointed her; they didn’t show her the attention she thought they should; they left her out when she thought she should be invited…
She looked at her discussion group and, with tears of regret, she said that God pointed his finger at her and told her that she was the problem, not them. What she wanted from them was something that only God could give. She blamed others for her unhappiness. She wept as she said, “Oh, the wasted years!”
Our lives are but a vapor that soon vanishes away. “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4:14) Is there something you need to change? Is there someone you need to forgive? Are you living each day in obedience to Christ? “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that shall he also reap.” (Gal. 6:7)