Never Give up on Anyone.
IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING
Of all the wicked kings to sit on the throne of David in Jerusalem, Manasseh was the worst. For fifty-five years, he did the most detestable things imaginable. He built altars to Baal, Asherah and the gods and had them placed inside the Temple courts. He consulted mediums and spiritists rather than calling on the name of God, and he sacrificed his own son in the fire (2 Kings 21:1-6). Eventually, God could take no more, so He removed His protection from Judah’s king and allowed the army commanders from the king of Assyria to take him prisoner. They put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles, and carried him off to Babylon (2 Chron. 33:11).
While in Babylon, an amazing thing happened. God finally got Manasseh’s attention. Perhaps he remembered some of the better days of his father Hezekiah. Perhaps he had to hit rock bottom before he was willing to look up. Whatever the reason, Manasseh humbled himself, and began to call on the Lord.
Another most remarkable thing happened. God, in His great mercy, listened to this evil man’s prayers, “was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea.” Because of that great mercy, Manasseh was brought back to Jerusalem and restored to his kingdom (2 Chron. 33:12). Reestablished in Jerusalem, he destroyed the altars he had built to foreign gods, restored the altar of the Lord, and re-initiated God-worship in the Temple and in Jerusalem.
AS I SEE IT
Never give up on anyone! Some of the Lord’s worst enemies have become some of His
most ardent disciples. Ananias, a follower of Christ in Damascus, learned this lesson when the Lord told him to go to the house of Judas on Straight Street to ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. Ananias was confused to say the least. “Lord, are you sure? Don’t you know who this man is? I have heard all the reports about him. He harasses believers everywhere he goes. He even has letters from the chief priests with authority to arrest or even kill all of us. Are we talking about the same man?” (A paraphrased version of Ananias’ response to the Lord in Acts 9:13-14).
If I had been in Ananias’ shoes, I doubt if I would have even considered praying for Saul’s conversion. I would have been more like Jonah and his disgust at the thought of mercy being shown to the people of Nineveh. More likely, I would have been praying that God would take this guy out. Fortunately for Saul, the Lord had other plans for him. He is all about restoration. What better way to display His glory than to raise up and restore one who has hit bottom or one whose conversion seems impossible. He told Ananias, “This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel” (Acts 9:15).
We all have people in our lives who seem to be beyond hope-rebellious, fighting God every step of the way, unconcerned about the destruction they have left in their wake. As difficult as it may be, we must try to see them through God’s eyes, focusing on what they can become rather than what they are now. I know from experience that this approach doesn’t come naturally. In fact, apart from the Holy Spirit’s work in you lives, it’s impossible.
Praise God that through Christ all things are possible. Let’s vow to fight the urge to be like Jonah, regardless of how justified we may feel in requesting retribution. I realize that many of the Psalms are imprecatory, asking God to destroy the enemy. This is understandable and apparently acceptable. However the goal should be the destruction of the flesh, not the person’s life. Once again, God’s goal is restoration. The bottom line-don’t lose hope. Remember Manassah and Saul!
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to your youth, think of Algebra.