II Chronicles 33 says that when Manasseh was in affliction he besought the Lord his God, humbled himself greatly, and prayed to his God. God was entreated of him, heard his prayer, and brought him back into his kingdom at Jerusalem from Babylon. It was then, scripture says, that Manasseh knew that the LORD was God. Before this time Manasseh did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord. He implemented abominable practices. He desecrated the temple of God by setting up an idol in it, building altars to many gods in it, and worshiping these gods. He practiced the sacrifice of his children in the fire, used witchcraft, dealt with familiar spirits, and wrought much evil scripture says. He made Judah and Jerusalem to err and to do worse than the heathen that God had cast out of the land before the children of Israel.
‘Hope makes not ashamed’ the Bible says. I think Manasseh’s story gives hope. Hope for those who feel irredeemable because of their past actions or deeds. I heard a testimony yesterday about a young Muslim man. His story makes me feel like there is so much to learn about being a Christian. He persecuted and hated another student in his university who was a Christian. One day he and his friends decided that they had to kill this Christian. They ambushed him in the woods, beat him close to death, and left him there to die. Somehow this young Muslim man was saved. Because of his new found faith in Jesus, he had to leave his family never to return or to see them again. His family held a funeral service for him and buried a casket in the ground.
Today he is a mature Christian man. He’s become a leader in the church. He has experienced persecution and imprisonment because of his faith in Christ. One day he’s giving a message at a Christian event and a man named Zacharias comes up to him and asks him a few questions about where he comes from and who his family are. Through this exchange Zacharias knows he is facing the person who beat him and left him for dead in the woods. He still has a maimed arm and leg because of this beating. He opens up his Bible to the beginning page where he has written a name, and says that he has been praying daily for 25 years for the man who beat him.
God answered the prayers of Zacharias. The young Muslim man who nearly took his life has become a formidable leader, preacher, and teacher in the house of God.