Lessons From Manasseh

2 Chronicles  33:9-13

 

Let’s discuss a man of the Old Testament. I think we make a serious mistake when we fail to emphasize  for our young people the Old Testament.   We learn in the New Testament that these things were written for examples, to the intent that we should not make the same mistakes (I Cor. 10:6-11)  In  Rom 15:4  it is recorded “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and  comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”  Thus the Old Testament was written to teach us the nature of God’s wrath, the nature of sin, and the nature of punishment on sin. And by learning these things there, we learn patience and have hope.

 

Sometimes we ask  the questionWhy do bad things happen to good people.  But   I wonder even more: "Why do bad things keep on happening to bad people, who have become penitent and obedient to the “will of God”?

 

In Jeremiah,  chapter 15, there is a statement by God that is rather startling,  He tells about four ways He is  am going to punish His people,  And none of them are desirable. And when we get down to the fourth verse, He says

4And I will cause them to be removed into all kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah king of Judah, for that which he did in Jerusalem.

 

Now that is rather startling, to say that you can punish a whole nation because of what one man did.  Manasseh!  What kind of fellow was he?  Why did he deserve such a horrible verdict. And I dare say that you will be surprised when you learn that in the latter days of his life,  He turned from being a godless idolater, into a  saint of the living God, and tried to undo all of the sins of his youth, and the mistakes of the past. And still he suffered tremendously  after that.  Manasseh.

 

I believe there are some reasons clearly implied as to why this verdict  was given , one of them was that he came from a good home. Many of us came from homes where we can remember our father, or our mothers, when our fathers were not present, How they  prayed and led the children in family devotion. They prayed for us, for our success, and we remember that don’t we?  Manasseh had a father like that.

 

Two Stories, 1st from 1 Kings 19.  A tragedy that had come upon  God's people because their capitol city with 1000’s of people in it, all squeezed in soon would starve to death if something were not done.   Surrounded by the armies of Assyria under the command of Sennacherib, he sent his emissaries to talk to the people on the walls of Jerusalem, to mock them and their God, saying:  No other God has stood before us. Do you think your God Jehovah is going to be able to protect you? Why don’t you give up right now, and we will spare you, and carry you back to our lands to live, a better land, one of corn and wine.” 

 

And when the message of those ambassadors came to king Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,  he simply took to the temple and just laid it out before the LORD. He said “Lord, here’s what people are saying about you. They’re challenging you, and saying that you’re no better than other gods. And we’re your people, LORD we’re trying to depend upon you. Oh, we’ve repented of all our sins, we’re sorry for all of that. Please won’t you help us.” 

 

And do you know what happened?   2 Kings 19:6-7

The word of the LORD came unto Hezekiah saying: “6Thus saith the LORD, Be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. 7Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumor, and shall return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.  

 

Isaiah said, “don’t worry, God is going to take care of you.”  And do you know what happened that night?  In response to one man’s prayer, one angel was sent. Now get the picture.  Here is the army under Sennacherib, 185,000 strong, surrounding the little city of Jerusalem. One angel is sent,  he meanders thru the camp of the Assyrians. The next day, when men rise up, do you know what they see? 185,000 corpses.  One angel, one man,  one prayer.

 

Second story, The next chapter. Hezekiah the king, and  father of Manasseh becomes sick   We read 2 Kings 20:1

 

1In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amos came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live. “ 

 

Oh what a blessing it would be, to know that you have only a few weeks at best to live.  I know some  who have been told this, and though distressing it is also a blessing,  to adjust to death,  and straighten up your life, and to get all your business in order.   Set your house in order for you’re  going to die and not live. “  verse 2:"2Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, saying,  3I beseech thee, O LORD, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore. "

And in verse 4  we read: "4And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him, saying,  5Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the LORD. 6And I will add unto thy days fifteen years;”

 

Now that’s the kind of father, and the kind of home in which Manasseh was raised,  and trained.  A father who on at least these two occasions entreated God, God answered. When a man or woman leaves home like that and turns away from God to a life of sin,  doesn't he deserves all the bad things that happen to him? That’s one of the reasons for the extreme, horrible verdict given Manasseh.   He deserted that kind of back ground, and rearing, to become himself an idolater. In the latter years of his life, he changed.  When he was young, he even allowed one of his sons to walk through the fire, in sacrifice  to the fire-god Molech.

 

What kind of punishment do you think a fellow like this deserves?

Remember, he’s king, everything he wants is done for him. He doesn’t have to lift a finger to earn his bread.  He can snap his finger, servants will rush to provide his heart’s desires. This man fares sumptuously daily.  You know? About the best thing you could do for a man like that  would be to put him work.. and that is exactly what God did for him,  he was made a slave to the king in this foreign land.   You mark it down...  If you decide, I’m going to be much freer than my father, and I have no doubt Manasseh felt that way...   Oh!”  thought he;  “I won’t have the restrictions of my father, I don’t have to follow his religion, I’m going to have a good time in life. I’m not going to be under such restraint.”  Now here it is, you mark it down, It will eventually end in slavery.  Sin is designed to produce slavery. It seems so pleasurable at first.  But if you follow long enough, you’ll be addicted to what ever path of sin you choose. 

 

 And so, the commanders of the army of Assyria were not stopped by righteous  prayers as in the days of Hezekiah,  the father of Manasseh when he petitioned the God of heaven: - They came and took Manasseh with fetters of bronze,  The old version says,  literally those hooks were placed in his nose, and they led him back to Babylon that way.  And when he gets there what does he do? He’s an embarrassment and he’s ashamed.  Mockery is made of him, and he’s made to serve the king of Assyria. He is now  a slave to him.  The Bible says “He humbled himself before God, and made entreaty of Him”.

 

My question for you is now... You’ve had a good home, you’ve deserted  the faith and chastisement comes. You begin to suffer...  How are you going to react to it?  Some people turn and become hardened,  resentful and bitter. Why did the God of heaven let this happen to me.  God sometimes allows suffering to come upon us. Are you going to despise Him for it?  How will you react?

 

What Manasseh did.. is the most noble thing that could ever be said of anyone. "In his distress",  2 Cron.33:11 says, "In his distress,  You know  many of us have to get into real trouble and be at the very bottom,  in the very worst of conditions, We find ourselves  in alcoholism, or perhaps suffering from an incurable disease, then we will humble ourselves before the Almighty, then do we cry out to God.  We make all kind of promises, “Lord just get me out of this, and I’ll serve you faithfully the rest of my life.”  And many times we forget our troubles as soon as they are past .  Ever wonder why God refuses to answer when we cry out in distress? Have we been guilty of making promises and then failing to keep our word to God? But you know, some remain true to their word...  In his distress, he humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers.

 

That is the first step we need to take, if you want to be restored by God when you’ve deserted the faith, humble yourself. And that’s hard. We become hardened in our pride. its hard to overcome.  But Manasseh humbled himself greatly, before the God of his fathers. cried to him, he made entreaty to him. 

 

 Now what’s God going to do?  What can God do with the most feared, powerful nation in the world?  God can do anything He wants to do when one humbles himself, and cries out  from the depths  of his heart. determined  to do right again and be restored.        He prayed to him and God heard his entreaty and answered his prayer, and brought him again into Jerusalem into his kingdom.  Now you think about that for a minute. How often would something like this happen?  Almost never...  But God brought him back to Jerusalem, to his kingdom to rule.... Then it says: “Manasseh... knew that the LORD He is God.”

 

 Manasseh now knows “the LORD He is God.” he had better make some  changes. and he Tries:  2 Chron. 33:15-17 describes this reformation, he gets rid of the idols in Jerusalem, tries to destroy the high places,  he makes sure they don’t offer their children to the fire-god Molech again.  But with his son Amon he fails.  Amon had not been reared with the same loving, godly care that he had received from Hezekiah his father. The annals of Amon,  Manasseh's son  are but five short  verses. 2 Chron. 33:21-25.

21Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. 22But he did evil in the sight of the LORD, as his father Manasseh had done; for Amon sacrificed to all the carved images which his father Manasseh had made, and served them. 23And he did not humble himself before the LORD, as his father Manasseh had humbled himself; but Amon trespassed more and more.24Then his servants conspired against him, and killed him in his own house. 25But the people of the land executed all those who had conspired against King Amon. Then the people of the land made his son Josiah king in his place.

 

Manasseh is  a good man now, having repented, and humbled himself to the Lord,    but he has lost his son in this process of sin. Now what’s the lesson? 

 

Two! First, no matter how far we fall into transgression, God can exalt us up out of it if we but turn and humble ourselves again. Second Lesson:   The consequences of our sins remain often remain even if we turn in true repentance to God.  Gal 6:7 Is a passage that ought to be considered as we order our lives daily. God has decreed,  “Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap”.  Oh, God can raise us up even to eternal life, but the consequences of our sins remain. And what a hard lesson…..  Manasseh was brought again to Jerusalem, into his own kingdom God restored him as before.  But it was too late for his son Amon who had been reared in idolatry. How sad to see children follow their parents into sin. Children are an inheritance from the Lord, we have a great and grave responsibility to them, 

 

This  Story  as we close —  A young man went off into the service, living his life the way he wanted to.  Eventually was discharged, met a lovely young Christian girl.  He wanted to marry her, but she would not consider marriage until he became a Christian. He was converted and in time they were married, and soon expecting their first child.  It was discovered  after a son was born that the child was going blind. There was nothing the doctors might do to saved the child’s eyes. The father crying stated to the Dr. “I have not always lived as I should have, I have sowed my wild oats, could that be the reason?”  Of course its the reason” stated the Doctor, ”You needed have told me”. Blindness of children because of sins of the parents?  It sometimes happens. Most of us aren’t like that,   You know I have always tried to be faithful, but I have been unfaithful at times"...  Are you suffering the consequences?  Remember this passage of scripture as we order our lives daily, “Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap”. Galatians 6:7              

You remember the poem of the

 little girl with the shining eyes her little face aglow  said  “Daddy,  its almost time for Sunday school, Let’s go.

They teach us there of Jesus’ love of how he died for all, Upon the cruel cross to save those on him will call.

Oh No said daddy, Not today, I’ve worked hard all week I’m going to the creek, there I can relax  and rest and the fishing fine they say. So run along and don’t bother me, We’ll go to church someday.

 

Months and years pass away  and daddy hears that plea no more.     Let’s go to Sunday school.  Those childhood days are  ‘ore.

And now the daddy’s growing old and his life is almost through He finds the time to go to church.... But what does daughter do?

She says “oh daddy not today, I’ve stayed up most all night, and I’ve got to have some rest, and besides I look affright.

 

And daddy lifts a trembling hand to brush away the tears, again he hears a pleading voice, distinctly through the years,

He sees a small girl’s shining face,  up turned with eyes aglow. As she says “It almost time for Sunday school,

Please Daddy won’t you go?”

                       

           

If you would like to study further contact:

 

Ron Cope Minister churches of Christ

email:  RonCope@chestnutmtchurchofchrist.com

phone:  (678)617-9658