In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly. 2 Chronicles 33:12
The letter from “Jason,” an inmate, surprised my wife and me. We “foster” puppies to become service dogs to assist people with disabilities. One such puppy had graduated to the next training phase, which was run by prisoners who’ve been taught how to train the dogs. Jason’s letter to us expressed sorrow for his past, but then he said, “Snickers is the seventeenth dog I’ve trained, and she is the best one. When I see her looking up at me, I feel like I’m finally doing something right.”
Jason isn’t the only one with regrets. We all have them. Manasseh, king of Judah, had plenty. Second Chronicles 33 outlines some of his atrocities: building sexually explicit altars to pagan gods (v. 3), practicing witchcraft, and sacrificing his own children (v. 6). He led the entire nation down this sordid path (v. 9).
“The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention” (v. 10). Eventually, God got his attention. The Assyrians invaded, “put a hook in his nose . . . and took him to Babylon” (v. 11). Next, Manasseh finally did something right. “He sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly” (v. 12). God heard him and restored him as king. Manasseh replaced the pagan practices with worship of the one true God (vv. 15–16).
Do your regrets threaten to consume you? It’s not too late. God hears our humble prayer of repentance.
What regrets do you have? How might you honor God by letting Him redeem them and use you to serve Him?
Thank You, Father, that You’re always ready to hear my honest prayers.
Under Assyrian rule, it wasn’t uncommon for rebellious kings to be deported as punishment. It seems that some who showed renewed loyalty may have been restored to serving as kings again. Some scholars believe it’s possible Manasseh was punished by Assyria for helping with a Babylonian uprising against Assyria (the revolt of Babylonian ruler Shamash-shum-ukin). Manasseh could later have been found innocent of involvement or pardoned. Whatever factors led to Manasseh’s humiliating downfall and later restoration to the throne (2 Chronicles 33:10–11), Manasseh recognized God’s hand at work (v. 13).