Today: [2 Chronicles Thirty-Three] Mannasseh Rules and is Humbled. Mannassah comes to the throne and completely rejects the God of his fathers. He goes so far as to place graven images to Baal in the outer court and the Holy Place. He is a vile and evil king even at a young age. However God speaks to him through the prophets in order to spare his life and spare the people. He refuses to listen and is taken captive to Babylon. Suffering in captivity he repents and returns to the God of his fathers and distinguishes himself with a real and lasting commitment to God.
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[2Ch 33:1-25 KJV] 1 Manasseh [was] twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem: 2 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. 3 For he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down, and he reared up altars for Baalim, and made groves, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. 4 Also he built altars in the house of the LORD, whereof the LORD had said, In Jerusalem shall my name be for ever. 5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. 6 And 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. 7 And he set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of God, of which God had said to David and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen before all the tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever: 8 Neither will I any more remove the foot of Israel from out of the land which I have appointed for your fathers; so that they will take heed to do all that I have commanded them, according to the whole law and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Moses. 9 So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, [and] to do worse than the heathen, whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel.
Hezekiah dies and is buried with great honor in the sepulchers of the kings. This is an important note because how the bodies of the kings where deposed after death reflected something of their character in life. Hezekiah was a good and godly king and was honored above all others before him in his funeral rites and final resting place. Mannaseh his son takes his place at the young age of 12. This is interesting because we know God gave Hezekiah 15 years additionally to his life after a severe disease. He apparently recovered to the point that he was able to sire children including his heir Mannasseh.
Mannasseh unfortunately for the nation and himself was not a good king. He reversed all of the reforms of his father and went so far to put idols in the outer court and the holy place. He seemingly with great purpose made specific effort to defame his father’s memory and to insult God Himself. Remember this was at the age of 12. We tend to give young people much older than Mannasseh a pass on their conduct because of their age. Yet Mannasseh was held accountable in the record of the Chronicles for his decisions even though he was quite young.
What if your children or grandchildren were held to the same level of accountability as Mannasseh? Is it ever acceptable to look at the conduct of our children and excuse them because they are “just kids”? Throughout the bible major characters of history made their mark in life at very tender ages including Jesus at the age of 12 in the temple. We often relegate children to the nursery or children’s program without realizing that we may be robbing ourselves of a precious resource that the enemy is more than happy to step in and take advantage to great hurt. This 12 year old boy caused the entire nation to fall into error.
10 And the LORD spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken. 11 Wherefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon. 12 And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, 13 And 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.
14 Now 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. 15 And 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. 16 And 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.
Verse 10 says that the Lord spoke to Manasseh and to the people around him but they would not hearken. How did God speak? No doubt through the prophets. Solomon heard from God in a dream. God has a ways and means committee to get our attention. Manasseh would not listen and the Assyrians came and hunted him down and took him bounded to Babylon. Where did they find him? Among the thorns. Thorns in the bible are representative of the cares of life and the deceitfulness of riches. The last mountain the children of Israel camped upon before the promised land was named “the thorny place”. Mannasseh didn’t listen to God and wound up in the thorny place. When we don’t listen to God let the scripture interpret your situation. Has God been speaking? Have we been listening. Thorny places are hard to get out of. Mannasseh came out of the thorny place and was taken captive.
In captivity in Babylon Mannasseh repented of his sins and after a period of time was returned by the mercy of God to Judah. He institutes reforms and repairs the altar. He takes away the strange God’s and repairs the altar. We may not have graven images that we worship but do we have mental images that influence our lives contrary to God and his word? Idolatry is not an ancient pagan oddity. Idolatry is alive and well in our world and we do well to guard ourselves against embracing mental images, thought systems, philosophies and attitudes that constitute placing abominations of idols in the temple which our heart is intended to be to God.
17 Nevertheless the people did sacrifice still in the high places, [yet] unto the LORD their God only. 18 Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and his prayer unto his God, and the words of the seers that spake to him in the name of the LORD God of Israel, behold, they [are written] in the book of the kings of Israel. 19 His prayer also, and [how God] was intreated of him, and all his sin, and his trespass, and the places wherein he built high places, and set up groves and graven images, before he was humbled: behold, they [are] written among the sayings of the seers. 20 So Manasseh slept with his fathers, and they buried him in his own house: and Amon his son reigned in his stead. 21 Amon [was] two and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned two years in Jerusalem. 22 But he did [that which was] evil in the sight of the LORD, as did Manasseh his father: for Amon sacrificed unto all the carved images which Manasseh his father had made, and served them; 23 And humbled not himself before the LORD, as Manasseh his father had humbled himself; but Amon trespassed more and more. 24 And his servants conspired against him, and slew him in his own house. 25 But the people of the land slew all them that had conspired against king Amon; and the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his stead.
Even though Mannasseh instituted reforms the people were not entirely cooperative. Under Hezekiah they did rightly but now after the backsliddenness of Mannasseh they are not so quick to follow the king in righteousness. It is easy to get people to rebel it is another thing to lead them again toward the things of God. They continued to worship in the high places but in this instance they didn’t sacrifice to idols but to God Himself. In other words they rejected the temple and worshipped in self styled groves upon improvised altars after their own imaginations. This was rejected by God and seen as an abomination because He explicitly forbade this in the law of Moses. Worship of Jehovah was to take place at His appointed place – at the temple (which temple you are).
Again the lesson of the groves and high places is a matter of understanding where the temple is and how to worship there. Col. 1:27 tells us that Christ IN US is our hope of glory. Before the church building or cathedral is a sacred place we must understand that the human heart is God’s chosen place of habitation. When we seek the kingdom we must look within and find the altar there where we worship God in spirit and in truth. Any other dependency constitutes idolatry. When we look to other things, relationships or natural securities for the stability of life that only comes from God that is idolatry. Idolatry proposes the dwelling place of God to be somewhere other than the human heart. Idolatry consists of outward dependencies on false security rather than trusting in the Lord your God that dwells on the inside of you.
Mannasseh dies and his son Amon reigns in his place. He follows in the first example of his father in ungodliness and shame. The people have had enough and he is assassinated. His son Josiah comes to rule and we will find he is a good and a just king with a powerful testimony of prophetic destiny.
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