Have you ever heard of a king called Manasseh? He was really wicked. I'm talking, you cannot imagine how bad he was: wicked. You can read about him in 2 Kings 21 and also in 2 Chronicles 33. His story truly amazes me. Let me share a little about him from the 2 Chronicles account of his reign over Judah.
"Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. He did evil in the sight of the Lord according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord dispossessed before the sons of Israel." (verses 1-2)
The next several verses go on to detail several of his wicked, abominable actions, and then we read:
"Thus Manasseh misled Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more evil than the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the sons of Israel." (verse 9)
Did you catch that? More evil than the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the sons of Israel. That's really evil. That's the kind of evil that deserves big-time consequences. God had warned Israel that if they turned away from Him to whore after other gods, He would remove His favor from them. And He was true to His word. Next we read:
"The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. Therefore the Lord brought the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria against them, and they captured Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze chains and took him to Babylon." (verses 10-11)
Good. He had it coming, right? But here comes the part that strikes me with wonder:
"When [Manasseh] was in distress, he entreated the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. When he prayed to Him, [God] was moved by [Manasseh's] entreaty and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God." (verses 12-13)
What?! God forgave him and even brought him back to his kingdom?? That kind of forgiveness is powerful. The rest of the account goes on to talk about how Manasseh truly changed and served God with his life and commanded the people of Judah to serve God as well.
I cannot fathom that kind of deep love. I can't understand why God forgave Manasseh, why God has forgiven me. But I know the power of it. And it fills me with wonder.
The everlasting kindness of God.
His unrelenting forgiveness.
The depth of His love.
I am wonderstruck.
What aspects of God's character strike you with wonder?