November 30, 2022
Thank you for your consistent prayers to God for our prodigals and for revival. As we pray for others, we come to realize that prayer is not only for them but also for ourselves. We draw near to God, and as we do, we experience His transformative grace in us.
Living near to God is a place worth living. In 2 Kings there were some who sought after this reality and others who left God out. Some, like Elisha, a Shunammite woman, a young maid, King Azariah, King Hezekiah, and Isaiah, lived their lives with a true consciousness of God’s presence. While others, like King Ahaziah, Gehazi, Athaliah, and King Jehoiakim, lived as if there were no God. They had no awareness of God and therefore no concern for repentance before God.
The book of 2 Kings provides many valuable life lessons. The lesson for today is the importance of repentance.
The word repent in the New Testament is the Greek word μετανοέω (metanoeō), which means “to change one’s mind for better, or to heartily amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins,” (Thayer’s Greek Definitions).
To repent is to change one's mind to the point where one's life is also changed. We could change our minds without changing our behavior, which is not genuine repentance. We could change our behavior without a true inward change of heart, which is also not repentance.
A person who is near to God will see things as God sees them, and the inward transformation will lead to an outward, observable lifestyle for the glory of God.
Of all the stories in 2 Kings, the one that most clearly displays true repentance is that of King Manasseh, son of Hezekiah.
Manasseh had good parents. He had a good upbringing. His father feared God and trusted Him in a time of great national crisis. His mother’s name was Hephzibah, which means, “my delight is in her.” And it would seem that as God looked upon her, He was pleased by what He saw.
They named their son after the firstborn son of Joseph. His name means, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father's house.” All the hurtful things that Joseph experienced, God was causing him to forget as his life was being filled with good things. Maybe the same was true for Hezekiah. (Hezekiah’s father, Ahaz, had done evil in God’s sight to the point where he even killed one of his sons as a pagan sacrifice.)
Manasseh became king at the very young age of 12, certainly too young to lead a nation. We are not told the reason, but he brought back all the evil practices of idolatry and witchcraft that his father had eliminated. He shed much innocent blood and provoked the Lord to anger as he led the nation astray by doing more evil than the heathen nations around them. You can read the account in 2 Kings 21.
After this it says, “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” (2 Chronicles 33:12 ESV).
Manasseh repented. He was brought low, he looked to the Lord, and he had a change of heart.
What do you suppose God would do with a character like this? Notice the next verse, “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 33:13).
The grace of God has no boundaries. It is limitless and transforming. Manasseh’s change of heart was evidenced by his change of life. He protected Jerusalem. He took away the false places of worship. He restored the altar of the LORD and its sacrifices (2 Chronicles 33:14-20).
To whatever degree you have departed or deviated from a close walk with God, turn back to Him today. His grace will overwhelm and embrace you with arms of infinite love.
Thank you again for praying.
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel