How many of you have ever been around a person and think to yourself “How can this person be so wicked and mean?” Throughout my life, I have met several people like this. It’s heartbreaking, discouraging, and kind of makes me mad that a person could be that far away from God and not care. Something we need to know is that no matter how far someone may be away from God, there is always an opportunity to come back to Him. In 2 Chronicles 33, we see a 12-year-old kid who has come to the throne after his father Hezekiah had died. Manasseh did everything but walk in his father’s shoes. He did evil in the sight of the Lord and led many people astray. Manasseh’s wrongdoings would end up leading Judah into Babylonian Captivity. Even though Manasseh did so much wrong, at the end of his life he humbled himself before God and was forgiven of his sins (2 Chronicles 33:12,13). In 2 Chronicles 33:1-13, we see three ways how God is willing to forgive a penitent heart.
The first lesson we learn is that God is willing to forgive a penitent heart despite a past evil char-acter. In 33:1-9, we learn that Manasseh was a wicked man. He did evil in the sight of the Lord (vs. 2), he worshipped angels (vs. 3), built altars for all the hosts of heaven (vs. 4), sacrificed children (vs. 6), and is no longer is keeping the Law (vs. 7-9). As we observed Manasseh’s character, is there any chance we today have some of the same character traits? If so, are you willing to turn away from these things right now? Manasseh waited for too long and caused his people to suffer. Don’t make the people around you suffer from an evil character.
The second lesson we learn is that God is willing to forgive a penitent heart despite not listening to the proper instruction at first. In 33:10,11 we see God speaking through one of His prophets, but Manasseh does not listen. Manasseh had the opportunity to listen to this prophet and turn away from his evil ways right away, but he decided to continue to flirt with sin and paid the price. What is it going to take to get us to turn away from our sins? We need to recognize that the time to repent is now because we are not guaranteed tomorrow! Please don’t wait until it’s too late!
The final lesson we learn is that God is willing to forgive a penitent heart and will restore you. In 33:12,13 we have a wonderful passage of Manasseh humbling himself before the Lord and asking for forgiveness. Guess what God does? He doesn’t do like what some people do today and try to give Manasseh a hard time and sit him down and lecture him. He forgives him because God has waited for this for a long time! We need to not be harsh to our brothers and sisters when they decide to repent. If they ask for forgiveness, forgive them. For people who have done terrible things, you can still get right with the Lord! God is willing to forgive a penitent heart. Will you repent from your wrongdoings and make your ways right with the Lord?