Manasseh Needs To Repent

--from February  18th  --
Days 1-3 written by Autumn Gildroy

Day 1

Generational Turmoil 
 In the tapestry of our lives, threads of ancestry weave complex patterns, shaping our identities, beliefs, and behaviors. Yet, alongside the beauty of heritage, we often find threads of turmoil and unrest passed down through generations, leaving behind a legacy of pain, brokenness, and unresolved conflict. This is known as generational turmoil, which is a reality many grapple with, whether they are aware of it or not.

     Take King Manasseh for example from Sunday’s sermon, (read 2 Chronicles 33 and 2 Kings 21.) In these books, we encounter the tragic story of King Manasseh. His story serves as a reminder of the destructive power of generational turmoil- the enduring legacy of sin and dysfunction passed down from one generation to the next. Manasseh’s reign was characterized by a departure from the ways of God, he rebuilt places his father, Hezekiah, destroyed, erected altars to false gods, and even sacrificed his own son to those said gods.
     Obviously, Manasseh wasn’t the best role model for his sons. His son, Amon, took the throne after Manasseh died. And just like his father, “he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord-.” (2 Chron. 33:22.) He had seen what his father had done and did it himself.

    Our families have a huge impact in our lives. When we look for our identities we often look to our families. They influence us even when we’re unaware. Some might have had religion “forced” on them. Some might not have ever had a religion to look to at all. Others might say they grew up in a traumatic environment. While others might say they have no trauma. No matter your background, it influences your actions and your actions influence your family or future family. Your actions influence the people around you even if it's just a stranger.
     We’re blessed to know that through God and only because of God, we can change. We can break the generational turmoil. What would life for Amon have been like if Manasseh would’ve lived for God instead? Living for God also means to change for God. (Read 2 Corinthians 5:17 and Romans 12:1-2.)

     So, ask yourself these questions:
  1. (How)Has generational turmoil affected your relationship with God
  2. What areas in your life do you need to change for God
  3. How can you be a better example of God to others? 

Day 2

God’s Patience 

    Yesterday, we discussed generational turmoil and used King Manasseh and his son as an example. However, generational turmoil is not the only thing we can take from the story of King Manasseh. We can also look closely and see God’s patience in the story.

     Manasseh led Judah into idolatry and wickedness. He rebuilt the high places his father, Hezekiah, had destroyed, erected altars for Baal, worshipped the stars, practiced divination and even reached the point of sacrificing his own son in the fire. His actions provoked God’s anger and led Judah astray into greater sin than the nations God had destroyed before them. (As we saw in 2 Chronicles 33 and 2 Kings 21.) 

     Even in the face of such blatant rebellion and wickedness, there is an element of God’s patience evident in this story. Despite all Manasseh had done, God did not immediately bring judgment upon him or the nation. Instead, God sent prophets to warn the people of Judah, urging them to repent and turn back to Him. This demonstrates God’s patience and mercy, as He gave ample opportunity for repentance. 

     Additionally, after Manasseh was captured by Assyrians and taken into captivity, he humbled himself before God, acknowledged his sins and sought forgiveness. The story of Manasseh serves as a powerful example of God’s patience, mercy and willingness to forgive those who genuinely repent. Despite Manasseh’s prolonged and severe rebellion, God does not immediately cast him aside but instead extends grace and offers the opportunity for salvation. 

     God is still the same today as He was during the time of Manasseh. He is patient with us even when we’re at our worst. He loves every single person and would love nothing more than to see His children truly repent and seek Him. God’s patience never ends but our lives here on earth do. Additionally, we should be patient with others as God is with us. His patience is made obvious throughout the Bible and we’re to become more like God. There is no denying His patience, so you should be patient as He is. (Read 2 Peter 3:9 and Galatians 5:22.)

     You should ask yourself: 
  1. Have you truly repented of your ways and sought God? 
  2. When have you experienced God’s patience? 
  3. Are you patient with others as God is with you?

Day 3

Corrupt Leaders
     “Corrupt leaders have not ruined, changed or disrupted God’s plan, nor has it revoked His invitation for us to be a part of that plan.” Do you remember that sermon sentence from one of Pastor Nate’s sermons? “A Prequel to Seasons: God and His Leaders.”

     Leaders can be found all over the place and all throughout history, from kings to maybe even your boss. It is also very clear that not all leaders have been the greatest . . . like King Manasseh. We’ve been discussing him for quite a few days, but it is a good thing to familiarize yourself with the story and learn something new from it each time. If you heard Sunday’s sermon and have read the past few devotionals, you’re probably quite aware of all the terrible things King Manasseh had done. Judah suffered greatly under his reign. (Remember 2 Chronicles 33 and 2 Kings 21.)

     Despite Manasseh’s evil deeds, God’s plan was not thwarted. He could have decided to drop His plan at any moment, but none of the evilness took God by surprise. God knew what was going to happen and continued His plan. Through Manasseh, God continued His plan. Through him, David would descend.  This ultimately paved the way for the fulfillment of God’s ultimate plan of salvation through the birth of Jesus Christ.
     Nothing surprises God, and He can still turn any story into His story. He can turn ashes into beauty. Throughout the Bible, we can see His never-ending grace, patience and love. His plan is greater than ours. He knows what we don’t. Trust His plan even when someone seems to be thwarting it. (Read Romans 8:28, Romans 12:21 and Genesis 50:20.)

     Ask yourself these questions:
  1. Do you find yourself struggling to trust God to deal with corruption? 
  2. How can you be a light to those who seem to be “corrupting” God’s plan? 

Day 4

Read John 15:1-17

You may not do much gardening, but the language of this text is not lost on you.  You get the idea of the main vine being Jesus and that we are the branches.  It is easy to catch the image that we must stay attached to the vine to stay alive and healthy in our walk with Him and that the result of that will be fruit in our lives.  This is where we get the talk that we are to remain “close” to God and many other images.  I challenge you to spend some time thinking about this idea and where you are at in your life right now.  Think about what it means to “abide” in Jesus.  Think about the relationship between abiding in Jesus and keeping His commandments.  

The theme we have been on all week is that of repentance.  Turning away from sin and back to God.  So use that to fuel your thoughts and prayers as you pour over this section of Jesus teachings.

What do you think it means to abide in Jesus?

What does it mean to bear fruit?

Why do you think loving each other fits into that idea according to how Jesus tells it here?

How does this become part of your prayer today?

Day 5

Read John 15:18-27

The Bible talks about our battle against the “world” quite a bit in its teachings.  It tells us not to love the “world”.  I wonder what that means?  There have been teachings throughout history that have taken this to mean anything that is physical is not good and only those things that are spiritual in nature can be good.  They take it further by saying that this world, the creation that we see around us every single day, is the very thing that we will be leaving to become spiritual beings that will float around on clouds all the time.  If you can’t pick up my sarcasm, then you should know I think that is a ridiculous teaching.  Not the beware the “world” part, but the part where everything physical is bad and everything spiritual is good.

So this demands some thinking and spending time trying to understand what is being said.  You read the first half of this chapter, or this teaching of Jesus yesterday, and got a good idea of what was being said.  Now put it all together and try to understand what He is saying in this second half.

What do you think that it means to “of the world” and how is what we are supposed to be different?

What do you think Jesus meant in verses 26 and 27?

How does this fit into your prayers today?

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