One of Satan’s most powerful lies is that we are too bad to be forgiven. That we have done things too awful for even God to pardon. That Jesus’ blood is sufficient for everyone else ... but not for us.
The next time that lie is whispered in your ear, remember these examples of God’s outstanding, unending, all-encompassing, amazing grace!
AARON stood by Moses’ side as God destroyed Egypt with ten powerful plagues and parted the Red Sea. He literally saw God along with seventy of the elders of Israel (Exodus 24:9-11). Yet he bent to the pressure of the people and with his own hands fashioned a golden calf for the Hebrews to worship in an idolatrous orgy. With amazing grace, GOD FORGAVE him and Aaron served the Lord as Israel’s high priest.
DAVID had been lifted from the sheep pasture to the throne of Israel. He had been delivered countless times from the hands of his enemies by the Lord. But he let his eyes wander into lust, committed adultery with Bathsheba, and murdered her husband Uriah to cover up his sin. With amazing grace, GOD FORGAVE him and he is known for all time as “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14).
PAUL describes himself as “a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor” (1 Timothy 1:13). He ruthlessly and cruelly persecuted the fledgling Church. With amazing grace, GOD FORGAVE him and he became the apostle to the Gentiles.
Stay with me ... because there is a fourth story of forgiveness that I would like to share. In many ways, it is one of the most astounding demonstrations of mercy and grace in all of Scripture, yet it is not nearly so well-known as the three examples described above. It is the history of MANASSEH, king of Judah, found in 2 Kings 21 and 2 Chronicles 33.
Manasseh was the longest-reigning king in Judah. He ruled for 55 years. He did so much evil that, years later, God told Jeremiah he would make Judah “an object of horror among all the kingdoms of the earth because of Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah, the king of Judah, for what he did in Jerusalem” (Jeremiah 15:4).
What did Manasseh do? Consider this litany of evil deeds:
He erected altars for Baal and Asherah and worshiped all the host of heaven.
He built altars for idols in the very Temple of the Lord.
He made his sons pass through the fire in idol worship.
He practiced witchcraft, sorcery, and divination, and dealt with mediums and spiritists.
He led Judah in doing greater evil than the nations the Israelites originally drove out of Canaan.
He shed innocent blood until he had filled Jerusalem from one end to the other with murder.
God brought harsh judgment upon Manasseh. The Assyrians came against Judah and “captured Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze chains, and took him to Babylon.”
The next verses are astonishing:
“When he [Manasseh] was in distress, he entreated the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. When he prayed to Him, He was moved by his entreaty and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.”
Think about it ... Manasseh had engaged idolatry, atrocities, and cruelty for literally decades and seduced his entire kingdom to do the same. But when he humbled himself and prayed, GOD FORGAVE and even restored his kingdom to him.
This is truly outstanding, unending, all-encompassing, amazing grace!