2 Chronicles 33:10-20
10 The LORD spoke to Manasseh and to his people, but they paid no attention. 11 Therefore the LORD brought upon them the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria, who captured Manasseh with hooks and bound him with chains of bronze and brought him to Babylon.
12 And when he was in distress, he entreated the favor of the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. 13 He prayed to him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom.
Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God.
14 Afterward he built an outer wall for the city of David west of Gihon, in the valley, and for the entrance into the Fish Gate, and carried it around Ophel, and raised it to a very great height. He also put commanders of the army in all the fortified cities in Judah. 15 And he took away the foreign gods and the idol from the house of the LORD, and all the altars that he had built on the mountain of the house of the LORD and in Jerusalem, and he threw them outside of the city.
16 He also restored the altar of the LORD and offered on it sacrifices of peace offerings and of thanksgiving, and he commanded Judah to serve the LORD, the God of Israel. 17 Nevertheless, the people still sacrificed at the high places, but only to the LORD their God.
18 Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and his prayer to his God, and the words of the seers who spoke to him in the name of the LORD, the God of Israel, behold, they are in the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel.
19 And his prayer, and how God was moved by his entreaty, and all his sin and his faithlessness, and the sites on which he built high places and set up the Asherim and the images, before he humbled himself, behold, they are written in the Chronicles of the Seers. 20 So Manasseh slept with his fathers, and they buried him in his house, and Amon his son reigned in his place.
2 Kings 20 Hezekiah, one of my favorite people in the Bible, had a flaw. He wasn't too concerned with the future of his sons.
16 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord: 17 Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the Lord. 18 And some of your own sons, who shall be born to you, shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” 19 Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The Word of the Lord that you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?”
A Seal found that is a from Manasseh, son of Hezekiah, King of Judah
Papyrus of other Kingdoms have the archaeology of a tribute to Esarhaddon in 674 and 668. ANET 291 (Esarhaddon, ca. 673, made 22 kings, including Manasseh, transport tribute to Nineveh), 294 (Ashurbanipal was presented gifts by Manasseh and helped by him to conquer Egypt in 668/667) .
Yet God, is a Father and like David expected Father God to be merciful - God still is. In the Old Testament and Today.
2 Samuel 24:14
David said to Gad, "I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into human hands."
Manasseh, son of Hezekiah, moved God - just from a prayer offered in desperation.
What we are really all looking for in Christmas is to give something meaningful. To move the ones we love.
About 15 years ago, we were moving into our second home and we threw out three 40 gallon trash bags from the boys' rooms with just bits of junk in them. It took about 2 days to sort out the junk from the still intact, working toys and as we carried it to the trash, my husband remarked "There goes about 2 Christmases." He was right. (Of course this is part of life! But we've worked hard to put one lasting gift into each Christmas.)
A meaningful gift - it prompts us. Our Bishop, Clark Lowenfield asked us in 2011, in one sermon - Clark challenged us to write a letter - to tell the ones you love - what you've shared with them. Why they are important to you. It's so much better than a warm sweater.
Christmas memories are made from more than a trip to the store. Today I found the marshmallow rocket guns my college age sons didn't care about. But I have realized the fine young men they are growing to be and find joy in seeing them develop. We might load Christmas clothes in a box, but surely this is just one day. What we realize each day is what gifts God had given us in our children. Never fail to tell the ones you love again - they are treasured, admired and loved for being the loving people they are. People want to receive gifts for Christmas, but mostly they want to know they are treasured even when life hasn't surrounded them with blessings that particular year.
God found love and mercy for a man in distress, we want to be loved and to love - not just for successes. We always are told God loves our children even more than we do. God proves this in this story. A Christmas Story of the type of Father God He truly is.
Father God, this Christmas is suddenly busy. Help us all each day to provide meaning and joy, especially to the ones we love. We ask to be centered in You, Jesus. Amen.
♔ Lord Jesus Saves †