Amazing Grace! (Aug 3)

From Open Up Your Heart by Jeff Syverson

From Open Up Your Heart by Jeff Syverson

August 3
Amazing Grace!

Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 82:1-8| 2 Chronicles 33:14 – 34:33| Romans 16:8-27| Proverbs 20:19

Today’s Scripture Focus: 2 Chronicles 33:1 – 34:33

“In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea. So he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God.” (2 Chronicles 33:13 NIV)

Grace always amazes me—especially when I find it’s sweet sound in unexpected places. There was a day when I was surprised to find grace in the Old Testament at all, but now I see it all the time. But this story of Manasseh is more unexpected than most—I’m still amazed by it. Here is one of the most evil Kings of the whole bunch—could grace save a wretch like Manasseh?

Here is the description of his reign: “He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had demolished; he also erected altars to the Baals and made Asherah poles. He bowed down to all the starry hosts and worshiped them…In both courts to the Temple, he built altars to all the starry hosts. He sacrifices his sons in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced sorcery, divination and witchcraft and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord, provoking him to anger.”

Here is a man who undid all the good done by Hezekiah. He totally reversed it…and made it even worse. He even erected altars to Baal and defiled the temple with altars to all the starry hosts. He was even willing to sacrifice his sons in pagan rituals. He took the term “Evil King” to a new low.

For years, the Lord tried to get his attention (and the attention of the people). They wouldn’t listen. Then one day, judgment came. Put into shackles, he was carried off to Babylon by the hook they placed in his nose. Then listen to this verse: it’s amazing grace for sure!

“In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea. So he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God.” (33:13)

Just as amazing to me, is that the people of Judah, didn’t see it and didn’t get it. They were so quick to turn back to the idols and rebuild the high places. How amazing is that? But then again, don’t we often take grace for granted?

Grace truly is amazing. If it can find and change a man like Manasseh, there might be hope yet for you and me.

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About pastorjeffsneighborhood

Born and raised in Minnesota, I have served in churches in Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon and California. I am a graduate of Crown College (MN) and George Fox Evangelical Seminary (OR). I have also done additional graduate studies in New Testament Studies at the Center for Advanced Theological Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary (CA). I am also a graduate of the College of Prayer. Having served as the Academic Dean and Program Director at Horizon Institute of Los Angeles for several years, I have returned to the pastorate and serve as Pastor of Big Trees Community Bible Church in Arnold, CA.
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