Jehoshaphat and Manasseh were kings of Judah in Old Testament times. One was saintly, the other evil. Both were impacted by God’s mercy.
Manasseh was 12 when he became king and reigned 55 years in Jerusalem. The guy was wicked. He worshipped Baal, built pagan altars in the house of the LORD, sacrificed his children and practiced witchcraft. He seduced Judah to do evil as well. Finally, God said enough. He sent the Assyrian army to capture the king and send him to Babylon.
Then something remarkable happened. Manasseh repented during his captivity. God responded by forgiving him, returning him to Jerusalem and restoring his kingdom. The heart change was lasting. Manasseh removed idols from Judah, sacrificed peace offerings and commanded his people to serve the LORD. Evil kings in Judah and Israel typically had short reigns. Why did God give Manasseh so many years, knowing he would commit these evil acts? Was it because he knew Manasseh needed time to have a heart change? This much is clear: God’s mercy is available to all. If He can forgive a wicked ruler like Manasseh, He can forgive anyone.
Jehoshaphat was 35 when he became king. He ruled 25 years. The LORD was with him because he:
1) Obeyed God; 2) Rejected paganism; 3) Removed graven images from Judah; 4) Sent Levites to teach God’s Word in the cities of Judah. Jehoshaphat should be a role model for Christians today. If God doesn’t change, and Jehoshaphat’s reforms pleased Him, we should follow the king’s lead:
Jehoshaphat also had unshakable faith. When he learned a foreign army was marching against Judah, he looked to God first. I love his entreaty:
We have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You – 2 Chronicles 20:12
God set ambushes and destroyed the armies of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir. In a crisis who do we have our eyes fixed on?