Repentance – Never Too Late

Feb 8, 2023 | Articles

In I and II Kings, I and II Chronicles, and other Old Testament books, we read about the kings of Israel and Judah, the two nations that resulted from the split of leadership in Israel. In those days, the kings had no legal term limits, but war and assassinations often
changed the leadership from one king to the next. Some of the kings reigned for long periods of time, and most of them were what God called “evil” kings. Manasseh was one of the evil ones. We can read about him in II Kings chapter 21 and in II Chronicles chapter 33.

Manasseh was the son of Hezekiah, who was considered a good king and ruled in Judah for twenty-nine years. Manasseh ruled for fifty-five years. God’s evaluation of Manasseh was that he was wicked and had done many detestable things. He also said that Manasseh was more wicked than the Amorites who lived in the land of Canaan before the Israelites. Manasseh’s evil leadership caused the people of the land to sin with idolatry.

As was the case in Manasseh’s reign, the leadership of a nation can heavily influence the way the people live. The lines of sin become blurred, and people do what is right in their own eyes. At such times, we need to remember that some of the people remain righteous, and they are forced to live with all the wickedness around them. They may feel there is no hope for the future and wonder if God has forgotten them. However, after Manasseh died, his evil son Amon reigned for only two years before being assassinated; and his son Josiah, who was a good king, then reigned for the next thirty-one years.

We must not give up hope today when it feels as if we have ungodly or evil leaders. God sometimes uses leaders as discipline for our rebellious and unrepenting hearts. In Israel’s time, when wicked leaders came to the throne, it was usually as result of the people having gone their own way and forgotten about God. Perhaps the wicked leadership was God’s way of getting their attention. We do know that our God is just, and His discipline is meted out with mercy and compassion; it does not last forever. There will be good leaders and bad, but we put our trust in God no matter what. He has a good and perfect plan for us, and a purpose for everything He does.

There is another teaching in the wicked Manasseh story. In II Chronicles 33:11-17, we read that after Manasseh was taken captive to Babylon, he sought the Lord, humbled himself, and prayed to the one true God. He was returned to Jerusalem and finally realized that the Lord alone is God. He undid many of the evil things he had done before he repented.

As in those Bible times, we can live through periods of bad leadership, evil, and wicked practices. We can have hope that God will relent and return righteous persons to leadership. It is never too late to repent and acknowledge that the Lord Almighty is the one true God and master of the universe.


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