Give me an attentive heart, O Lord!!
“The LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. Therefore the LORD brought the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria against them, and they captured Manasseh with hooks and bound him with bronze chains and took him to Babylon. When he 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.” 2 Chron. 33:10-13
Do you ever hear your children asking for your attention but only halfheartedly give it? You may be cooking dinner, and trying to measure ingredients and they may be wanting to go outside. You know, so you halfheartedly respond, “okay, but you know the rules…be safe.” Or sometimes they ask you for something and you respond with a “yes” and as they run off to do what they’ve asked to do or eat what they’ve asked to eat, you realize…you were not paying attention and now you’ve got to act quick to fix what you’ve done.
I read this scripture this morning in my quiet time, and then as the Lord would have it again this afternoon in the bible study I am doing with my best friend. I have to say it was a thrill! I’ve been so blessed to be racing through the pages of scripture in a study again!! I am so excited! Yet, as I read this this morning, I was like Manasseh. I was listening to the Lord, I was hearing Him through His word, yet I wasn’t fully paying attention. I heard His word, I read it, and I was so moved by parts of it, and yet completely read over this. So this afternoon as I sat down to work through another day of my bible study, I was in tears reading through this passage.
Manasseh (in this particular passage) was the man who looked in the mirror and when he walked away couldn’t remember what he looked like as we read about in James. But as I look at the speck in his eye, I must remove first the log in my own. Manasseh shows us how easily we can slip into captivity. How quickly, because of the hardness of our own hearts, in not giving the proper attention to God and His word, and to the discipline of prayer can put us into a bound position. Before we know it, we’re in a rut of prayerlessness. We’re in a rut of irritability. Whatever the sin we get stuck in, we’re captive. Until, we like Manasseh…..entreat the LORD and humble ourselves greatly before Him. Manasseh greatly humbled himself before the Lord. Don’t miss this, it was not a flippant prayer…oh Lord I’m sorry. The Hebrew for greatly provides us with a glimpse of the seriousness of this humbling. Greatly means exceedingly, abundance, with force. Manasseh knew he was wrong. He knew he had not listened to the Lord. So he with great force exceedingly humbled himself before the LORD!
I love the example the Lord gives us in this passage. The Lord takes these four short verses and shows us how powerful and complete His mercy is in our lives when we come to Him in true repentance with an attentive heart. Manasseh did not pay attention and as a result fell into captivity. Then immediately and deeply….exceedingly threw himself at the mercy of God…and God responded in perfect mercy. He brought restoration and redemption through the repentance of a man. Let us not be remiss, it is the Lord’s kindness that leads us to repentance!! Praise Him for it!!
Oh ladies, I hope that you see with me, the desperate need for us to have attentive hearts. We must approach the throne of grace with a humble heart…and a desperate heart…one that is willing to be attentive..not merely in reading the word, but then in hearing His word…and living it out in the everydayness of our lives for His glory and for the edification of those around us!!
Join me dear sisters in asking God to give us an attentive heart. A heart that not only reads His word and desires to apply it, but a heart ready to rely on the Holy Spirit of God to strengthen us each day for His glory…leading us in victory over sin to the praise and glory of God, our Father!! A heart that is attentive to His prompting and leading throughout our days so that in all the trials and temptations of life we can seek Him first.