«Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our Cod, for He will abundantly pardon» (Isaiah 55:7).
Manasseh was only twelve years old when he began his reign and he ruled the kingdom of Judah for fifty-fives years. The Bible relates that «he did evil in the sight of the Lord” ( 2 Chron. 33:2) as he built temples and edified altars from pagan gods, and worshipped the stars in the courtyard of God’s temple. He also burnt his own son, offering him as a sacrifice to the idols; he practiced magic, soothsaying and witchcraft and consulted mediums and spiritists. He was one of the most idolatrous and blood-thirsty kings of Judah and «he did much evil in the sight of the Lord» (v. 6). His malice amplified as-it spread to the people he governed, making them sin more than the nations God had destroyed (v. 9). Through prophets, God repeatedly reprimanded Manasseh’s wickedness, sending him messages of judgment and admonition. But the messages were neglected and the messengers killed.
Today’s Bible verse had been uttered by the prophet Isaiah to Manasseh’s ears. Even though the prophet was already dead, his words continued to echo in his hardened heart. As a consequence of his evil, God allowed the King and his people to be taken captives to Babylon. And «when [Manasseh] was in affliction, he implored the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed to Him; and He received his entreaty, heard his supplication, and brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God» (vv. 12-13).
Do you find it fair that, after being so evil, he was restored to his reign so quickly? Do you think that before having been restored, he should have shown repentance? Even if they such beliefs are not expressed, they are shared by many Christian professors. In many people’s hearts, there is the idea that in order to be forgiven, we must first prove that we are worthy. Sometimes, we also want the people who have hurt us to change their behavior before forgiving them. But this is not how God treats us. God does not despise a broken and remorseful heart (Ps. 51: 17). To those who reach Him confessing their sins, He grants them prompt and free forgiveness.
If you are lost, do not wait or an improvement before seeking God. If you feel far from God, go back to Him without delay. Remember that the Lord will have mercy on you . . . and He will grant you pardon.