10 The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. (2 Chronicles 33:10)
When I was 16 years old, I competed in my first triathlon. It was a bigger deal for me than most, not because of the bike or the run, but because of the swim. You see, as a child I was very uncomfortable in deep water and failed any swim class I took. At the age of 12 my mom took me along to a youth retreat. I was too young to attend but since my mom was a cook, I was able to hang out with the others. I recall one day walking in the water to a raft with all the bigger kids; unfortunately, they decided to bring it out further. I became uncomfortable and decided to try to swim back. I made it about halfway and realized I was not going to make it. I turned around to scream at the kids on the raft, but they were too loud to hear me. I screamed at the people on the beach, but I figured I was too far away. Just as I began to ingest water and in great panic realized that this was probably it for me, I felt strong arms embrace me and I suddenly was on the back of a young black man. All I knew about him was that he served as a cook on some sort of Christian mercy ships. But at that point in time to me he was far more than a simple cook – he was my savior.
If you were to back up a few hours or even several minutes I would have been oblivious to any danger; I would have been ignorant to any need for a savior. I was whooping it up with older kids and having a blast. In today’s scripture from 2 Chronicles 33: 1-20, we read the story of Manasseh. He became king at the age of 12, and like me he probably had no idea of the dangers that surrounded him and certainly saw no need of a savior. For the years that followed he disobeyed all of God’s laws for the Israelites, erecting alters to other gods, practicing witchcraft, consulting mediums and shockingly even sacrificing his children. “[Manasseh] let Judah and the people of Jerusalem astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites.” (2 Chronicles 33:9)
So, God allowed the Assyrian army to ravage Manasseh and the Israelite people. With a hook in his nose and bound in bronze shackles, he was led to Babylon (vs. 11). 12 In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors. 13 And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. (2 Chronicles 33:12-13)
At a very young age Manasseh was drunk with power and wealth and could literally do whatever he wanted. This led to increased sinning and debauchery. If someone would have approached him saying: “you need a savior”, he would have likely laughed and told them: “I am the savior”. Strange how quickly things can turn though. Not long after, he was in desperate need of a savior and knew where to cry out. He did not cry out to the pagan gods, as he somehow knew there was only one savior to cry out to – the God of David.
How about you? Are you someplace in this story? Are you in the early days of oblivion living a life of unrepented sin, or perhaps you are already seeing the consequences of sin in your life? If so, then it is time to recognize your savior. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9). Jesus is our savior. Remain in the safety of his arms.