Pastor Joel Olsteen's sermons have become incredibly moving and inspiring. He has spent less time talking about ourselves and more time talking about Christ Jesus and His Finished Work.
One of this greatest sermons yet discussed how God uses people who deliberately disobey Him. His grace is too great for our sin, and even when we have sinned greatly, not just out of hurried behavior or misunderstandings, but when we deliberately defy God, He does not run away from us.
When we call out to Him, God will hear us!
It is indeed Amazing Grace!
Consider the incredible, brutal account of King Manasseh of Judah.
His father was Hezekiah, one of the greatest Kings in Judah's history.
His son, however, turned out to be the most wicked, even worse than Ahab and all the other wicked Kings who reigned over the Northern Ten Tribes of Israel.
"But did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel." (2 Chronicles 33:2)
He insisted on bringing idol worship into the holy places. He even brought his own carved idols in the Temple, the same Temple where God had declared that He would place His name forever.
Manesseh, whose name means "Forgetful" or "Causing to Forget", rigorously defied the LORD God.
"6And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger." (2 Chronicles 33:6)
Manasseh not only did not care for holy things -- He deliberately made God angry, defied Him repeatedly.
He ended up captured, enslaved, imprisoned with a ring placed in his nose.
This hardened hatemonger, dabbling in all kind of evil, who had sacrificed his own children to evil deities, would then cry out to God for help:
"12And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, 13And prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God." (2 Chronicles 33:12-13)
And it didn't stop there:
14Now after this he built a wall without the city of David, on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, even to the entering in at the fish gate, and compassed about Ophel, and raised it up a very great height, and put captains of war in all the fenced cities of Judah. 15And he took away the strange gods, and the idol out of the house of the LORD, and all the altars that he had built in the mount of the house of the LORD, and in Jerusalem, and cast them out of the city. 16And he repaired the altar of the LORD, and sacrificed thereon peace offerings and thank offerings, and commanded Judah to serve the LORD God of Israel." (2 Chronicles 33:14-16)
First, God restored Manasseh, and God restored this most wicked of Kings because he begged Him for His help
When God heard him, it was that then Manasseh knew "The LORD", notice that the writers of Holy Scripture reference God's Covenant Name.
Manasseh was under the Covenant through David, the Beloved, the Great King! In the same way, for those of us who believe in the King of Kings, the Root and Offspring of Jesse--Christ Jesus--we have His protection and blessings through the New Covenant, too (Hebrews 8:10-12).
Manasseh, the worst of the Kings of Judah and Israel, when he cried out to God, was heard of Him.
Today, let us rest and receive -- keep receiving this abundance of grace, this gift of righteounsess (Romans 5:17), and like Manasseh, God will restore to us everything that we have lost, especially when it is our fault, and bless us evermore in His Son!