The Bible Speaks

God’s incredible patience
Dec. 08, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

“Manasseh … reigned fifty five years in Jerusalem … and he did evil in the sight of the Lord.” 2 Kings 21:1b,2a

Manasseh was the son of Hezekiah, a king who was praised by heaven and the people he served. It was said of Hezekiah “he trusted in the Lord God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor who were before him.” (2 Kings 18:5) Hezekiah reigned 29 years and other good kings: Asa, Jehoshaphat, Joash, Amaziah, Uzziah and Josiah all had similarly long reigns. Such would be expected as the Lord God would certainly support the good kings; blessing their tenures as rulers of His people. So then, how is it that Manasseh, Judah’s most wicked king, would reign longer than any other king in Judah’s history? When you read about his sins (2 Kings 21) you will read of deeds far more wicked than those of the evil kings of Israel. Manasseh not only led the pack in wrongdoing, but his evil was mentioned in the divine record as being almost solely responsible for Judah’s downfall and consequent captivity. Without a doubt, this monarch was the worst of the worst. Why then, did God allow him to rule over His people for such a very long time?

Most of us, if we are honest with ourselves, wonder why God does not stop evil in this world. We question how a God, who is all powerful and perfectly good, would permit gross evil to be carried out in this world. We wonder why the most wicked king of all would not be removed quickly from his position. We wonder, yet, I would submit to you that God has purposes beyond our understanding and one of His highest purposes is to redeem the souls of men. He loved Manasseh as He loves you and me and He wanted him to turn back to Him. God will wait as long as possible for an errant soul to return to Him. In the case of Manasseh, He waited over 50 years for Manasseh to finally came home. 2 Chronicles 33:10-20 tells us the incredible story of how this hell bent king turned completely around and repented of all his sin. He then went about undoing all he had done in the few years of life he had remaining. The life of Manasseh is one of the greatest examples in all of Scripture of God’s patience and forgiveness. All of us would have written off Manasseh as beyond hope of redemption. All, that is, except the God who saved his soul.

The Bible speaks of the longsuffering of God and how He desires that none should perish but that all should come to repentance. There is no one He cannot save and none for which He will not wait. How about you? Has He been waiting for you to come to Him? Don’t delay. Come back to the God who patiently waits for you. Do it today.

The Rev. Bruce MacInnes is pastor at Turner’s Chapel.