This lesson reveals the extent of Manasseh’s wickedness. Yet once again, we see God’s mercy when a wicked sinner repents. The students will discover that because of God’s great mercy. He forgives all sins when a person repents and turns to Him.
This Bible study is only a guide. Be sure to modify the lesson to the needs of your students. Click here to see all the Bible lessons in this series.
Bible Story Title: Manasseh repents and receives God’s mercy
Bible Passage: 2 Chronicles 33
Target Age Group: Age 9 – 11 (U.S. 3rd – 5th Grade)
Learning Context: Sunday School
Target Time Frame: 60 minutes
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Supply List: Bibles, paper plates or construction paper for two sided face (smile/sad), pens/pencils, paper
Learning Goal: Students will learn that God is merciful and always forgives repentant sinners.
Learning Activity #1: Review the kings. Using small plates or circles cut from construction paper put a smiley face on one side and a sad face on the other. Read names of Kings that you have studied so far and allow students to show happy face or sad face indicating whether the king was pleasing to God or evil in His sight.
Learning Activity #2: Teaching students how to use concordance. Have them look in the concordance of their Bible (if they don’t have one have Bibles they can use that do) and look up the word Mercy. Have them look at the different verses for mercy and have them write their favorite one down. At the end of the activity have students share the verses they wrote down.
Test: Review Questions
Memory Verse: Exodus 34:6-7a “And He passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.”
Bible Lesson: Manasseh repents and receives God’s Mercy
(Use the Review the Kings activity to introduce the Bible lesson.)
King Hezekiah was a good king who did what was right in God’s sight. When he became king the land was filled with wickedness and the people were not worshiping the One True God. They were worshiping false gods or idols. As he began to reign Hezekiah brought great changes in his kingdom. If you were growing up as a child of King Hezekiah what do you think you would know about God? (Worship God only, worship according to God’s laws, trust Him when enemies come against you, etc.)
Hezekiah was a good example for his sons to see how to live a life that pleases God. After he died his son Manasseh became king. Let’s turn in our Bibles to 2 Chronicles 33 to discover how he reigns as king over God’s people.
Read verse 1. How old was Manasseh when he became king? (12) How long did he reign as king? (55 years)
Read verse 2. Does this shock you? How could a child of a good king do evil in the eyes of the Lord? (Allow responses)
- All people are sinners. (Romans 3:23)
- Our hearts are desperately evil. (Jeremiah 17:9)
- There is nothing good in man only God can empower us to please Him. (Romans 7:18-8:17)
2 Chronicles 33:3-9 Manasseh’s wickedness
Hezekiah worked to bring people back to God and in a few short years his son brought the southern kingdom back into a spiritually dark place.
Evil things that Manasseh did:
- Rebuilt high places and built altars for Baal.
- Bowed down and worshiped the stars.
- Built altars to false gods/idols and placed them in the Lord’s temple and put altars in the courtyard of the temple.
- Sacrificed his sons to the god named Molech by throwing them into a fire.
- He practiced sorcery, divination and witchcraft.
- Put a carved image in the Temple
All of the things Manasseh did were openly rebellious toward God. Everything he did broke God’s laws. From what you know about God and His word what laws did Manasseh break? (You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything. You shall not bow down to them.)
When a person sins it always affects others. Let’s read verse 9.
We may never be a king but we will always have someone who is watching our life. How we live is important.
- If others follow your example would they be living a life that pleases God?
In our world we are exposed to lies people believe about God. If the world that we live in knows little about what the Word of God teaches the more lies people believe about God. One lie that people say about God is that in the Old Testament a harsh God punishing sin, and in the New Testament God is kind and compassionate. That is an inaccurate statement because God is the same God in the Old Testament as in the New. God is just. He hates sin. He gives us teachers to teach us His truth and to warn us of punishment if we choose to sin. He forgives us when we repent and turn from sin.
We have seen a kind compassionate God throughout the history of Israel’s kings. He faithfully sent prophets to kings who were sinning to warn them of coming punishment. Some kings listened and repented and some did not.
2 Chronicles 33:10-11 God’s warning and punishment
As we return to Manasseh let’s see if God wipes Manasseh out because of his wickedness or if God warns him. Read verse 10.
We are not much different than these people in the Old Testament. Have you ever had a parent or teacher who told you how to avoid punishment and you ignored them? What happens when you ignore a clear warning from someone in authority? (You face the consequence of your decision not to obey)
Manasseh and the people in his kingdom chose to ignore God. He sent enemies (the Assyrian army) to invade the land of Judah. They captured Manasseh. What did they do to him? (Read verse 11) This was a very humiliating thing for a king to experience.
2 Chronicles 33:12-13 Manasseh’s repentance
Read 33:12-13. God disciplines His children because He is a good father who desires His children to live the abundant life He can give. His purpose for allowing any difficulty is to turn our hearts to Him so we can live a life that pleases Him. (Hebrews 12:5-11)
God heard Manasseh’s prayer and saw his humility and forgave him.
Manasseh sinned in many ways against God. None of those sins were too bad for God to forgive. It is the same with all people. No sin we have ever committed is too hard for God to forgive. The only sin God cannot forgive is an unrepentant heart. All God requires for our sins to be forgiven is to repent and turn away from our sins and turn to Him.
- God provided a way for our sins to be completely forgiven by sending Jesus to die in our place on the cross. He shed His blood, was buried and rose again the third day. All who believe in the Lord Jesus can have every sin past, present and future sin forgiven.
2 Chronicles 33:14-20 Fruit of Manasseh’s repentance
True repentance will be evident by the way a person lives after pleading for God’s forgiveness. How do we know that Manasseh was truly sorry for the wicked life he lived? Read verses 15-16. (He got rid of the idolatrous altars and idols that he used to worship, and restored the altar of the Lord)
- When a person is truly repentant of his/her sins before God they are a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
- As a new creation the Holy Spirit enables a believer to put off the sinful actions and attitudes and live a life that pleases God. (Ephesians 4:22-24)
What should you do if you are a believer and you know that you sinned? All your sins were forgiven the moment you believed in Jesus. When we knowingly sin as a believer it affects our relationship with God. (He never takes away our salvation…when we believe in Jesus we receive eternal life) Our relationship with God is similar to relationships we have in our lives. If I offend or hurt someone I love and I don’t admit that I was wrong and say I am sorry it causes there to be distance in that relationship. My sin caused Jesus to die. When I sin as a child of God it hurts my relationship with Him. He will always be my Father but my sin puts distance in our relationship. When I confess it to Him, He cleanses me and restores me to a close relationship with Him. (1 John 1:9)
Manasseh’s life started out wicked and very displeasing in God’s sight. We close our lesson seeing God’s great mercy towards a great sinner who humbled himself and repented. As we pray which stage are you in Manasseh’s life? Are you at the place where you are a sinner separated from God by your sinful life? Have you been saved and have allowed sin to creep into your life and habits? Maybe you are walking closely with Jesus. You can thank Him for His great mercy towards you. Wherever you find yourself in Manasseh’s life, talk to God about it as we start our prayer time in silence.
Close in prayer.
- Who is Manasseh’s father? (Hezekiah)
- How long did Manasseh reign as King? (55 years)
- What did Manasseh do that was evil?
- How did Manasseh and the people respond to God’s warning? (Ignored Him)
- Why did God forgive Manasseh? (He humbled himself and repented)
- How can we tell that Manasseh truly repented? (He removed the wicked altars/idols)
- What sin is so great that God could never forgive? (None except not believing that Jesus is the Savior)