Why did the Lord allow wicked Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah, to reign over God’s people for so long a period?
Manasseh was the fourteenth ruler of the kingdom of Judah. He reigned for 55 years, which is the longest reign in the history of Judah or Israel. During part of this long reign, he was a co-ruler with his father Hezekiah. During this period of time, the Bible tells us that he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord. (11 Chronicles 33:2.) While we cannot totally explain the length of time of his reign or why he did what he did, the story of Manasseh is recorded to show God’s long-suffering for those who can eventually be saved in the kingdom of heaven.
Many times, if it were up to us as human beings, we would write off numerous potential saints, because they do not shape up to our expectations. There is a tendency to judge ourselves among ourselves, and those who do things differently from us or think differently than us are consigned to the trash heap to be burned up at the end of the world. But God does not see as we see. In spite of the terrible sins that some people commit, God forbears with them and works with them, sometimes through affliction, to save them for the kingdom of heaven. This is what happened to Manasseh. He was disobedient to the Lord. He was disobedient to those who had conquered the land of Judah and placed him as king, and he was not protective of his own family. (See 11 Chronicles 33:6.) In our thinking, this man should never be allowed to enter into heaven. But the plan of salvation is so encompassing and so extensive in its scope, that God was able to save this king for heaven. (See 11 Chronicles 33:11–13.)
Even though this story reveals gruesome insights into the life of this man, it also unfolds the truth that where sin abounds, grace does much more abound. (Romans 5:20.) Because of God’s grace, we can be in heaven with all the saints regardless of what we have done—if we repent of those sins and accept Jesus as our Saviour. We may not begin to equal the terrible acts of Manasseh, but one sin, unconfessed, will close us out of the kingdom of heaven. It is grace, and grace only, which opens the gates to any who will enter. God allowed Manasseh to reign for so long a period because, at the end, he participated in reforms and eventually developed a desire for heaven.
Time is in God’s hands, not in our own. Our whole duty is to fear God and keep His commandments. (Ecclesiastes 12:13.) If we do these things, while Jesus is our Saviour, we will one day understand more clearly things that now are only seen dimly.
Pastor Mike Baugher is a retired minister of the gospel. If you have a question you would like Pastor Mike to answer, e-mail it to: firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail it to: Land Marks, Steps to Life, P. O. Box 782828, Wichita, KS 67278.