Thursday, Mar 23rd

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2 Kings 21

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In this chapter we see that the ethos of the righteous king of Judah did not last after his death – not even for a day. Hezekiah was holy before the Lord, but as soon as his son, Manasseh took over, the decline in Judah was rapid and foul.

Today, Christians think the righteousness of their forefathers, who founded their local church, is enough to cover the church for all its life. But, as I have said before, the holiness of a local church resides only in the holiness of its present members. It is not passed on like a baton, nor may we live off the spiritual food it had before... the original manna has rotted away.

Like Judah, any local church can fall backwards into an evil pit, very quickly. As always, remember the Old Testament is not just an historical narrative – its pages supply us with information we can readily apply to everyday modern lives.

Verses 1-3

  1. Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hephzibah.

  2. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.

  3. For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal, and made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them.

Hezekiah’s son, Manasseh, was just 12 years old when he took the throne of Judah, and from the start he did evil. You see, we can bring up our children the best way possible, but they stand alone when it comes to culpability for their sins. Though doing evil before God, his reign lasted 55 years. Was God telling the people of Judah that they lost godliness deliberately by following an evil king? Yes.

The new king did everything pagan kings did, which God calls ‘abomination’. This is how modern Christians must view Islam (and other paganisms, but Islam is prominent); it must never be given even an ounce of sympathy or kindly forethought. God had previously cast out these abominations – which is why He called on Joshua and the early Hebrews to get rid of the pagans from the Promised Land. We must have the same attitude today.

Manasseh rebuilt all the pagan temples on the high places that his father tore down; he rebuilt altars to Baal, and made groves. Personally he worshiped all the host of heaven and made himself their slave. In this text the “host” means stars, sun, moon, etc. Notably, this worship took place amongst the peoples of the southern Middle East… where Islam arose. That is why the most likely candidate for ‘Allah’ is the moon-god. It takes an intellectual dumbing-down to worship what is created, rather than the One Who created it.

Verses 4-9

  1. And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD said, In Jerusalem will I put my name.

  2. And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD.

  3. And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.

  4. And he set a graven image of the grove that he had made in the house, of which the LORD said to David, and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever:

  5. Neither will I make the feet of Israel move any more out of the land which I gave their fathers; only if they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded them.

  6. But they hearkened not: and Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the children of Israel.

Even worse, Manasseh built altars to created things in the holy precincts devoted to God! In this way he blasphemed against the Lord. Then, when older, he burnt one of his sons alive as a sacrifice, obeyed the falsity of astrology, used items of witchcraft, had familiar spirits (demons who told him what to do every day), listened to wizards (who spoke with the dead), and did unimaginably occult things in Jerusalem, even in the Temple courtyards of Almighty God. What he indulged in gave him the impetus to be even more wicked, and God was incredibly angry with him.

The king had a replica made of the chief grove and idol, and impudently placed it in the Temple, though it was common knowledge that the place belonged only to God. You will see that God gave a condition to the people: if they obeyed Him they would not lose their land. It was rejection of this condition that led Israel and Judah to lose their land to the Romans, and is still a condition for Jews today. A very similar condition applies to modern Christians – if we disobey and accept the inroads of false gods and other wickedness, we will lose our peace and place on this earth. As God said, “they hearkened not”! So Manasseh led them along his extremely wicked path, a path that even exceeded the evils done by idolatrous nations when the Hebrews took over the Promised Land. This is a severe warning to us today. Will you listen and act?

Verses 10-15

  1. And the LORD spake by his servants the prophets, saying,

  2. Because Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations, and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which were before him, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols:

  3. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle.

  4. And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab: and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down.

  5. And I will forsake the remnant of mine inheritance, and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies;

  6. Because they have done that which was evil in my sight, and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even unto this day.

God spoke to his faithful prophets, saying that Manasseh was doing abominable things, far worse than was done by previous occult and cultic nations before Joshua took the lands. Of course, the people need not have followed his example, but they did. It is an observable fact that when a leader does wrong, all those inferior to him will do the same things. It is, though, just an excuse to sin.

Because of this great evil, God warned that Jerusalem and Judah would suffer horrendous consequences that would make their ears tingle – that is, they would quake with fear and shame. God would measure Judah by the ways of wicked Ahab and sinful Israel, and would wipe Judah clean, like dishes in a bowl… not in salvation, but in holy retribution. Though the people rightly belonged to him, He would deliver them to their enemies, who would bring them down, destroying everything. They did grave evil, and did so persistently since escaping Egypt, so God had no option but to show them His wrath. (But, He did not cast them off completely).

Verses 16-18

  1. Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another; beside his sin wherewith he made Judah to sin, in doing that which was evil in the sight of the LORD.

  2. Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and all that he did, and his sin that he sinned, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?

  3. And Manasseh slept with his fathers, and was buried in the garden of his own house, in the garden of Uzza: and Amon his son reigned in his stead.

Furthermore, besides acting wickedly towards God, Manasseh put many to death in the city, being a destroyer and not a man of God. It seems his long reign was dismissed in 2 Kings, for we are told that we can read more of his exploits in Chronicles. He was buried in a garden of the palace grounds. His son, Amon (‘skilled workman’), then reigned.

Verses 19-26

  1. Amon was twenty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Meshullemeth, the daughter of Haruz of Jotbah.

  2. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, as his father Manasseh did.

  3. And he walked in all the way that his father walked in, and served the idols that his father served, and worshipped them:

  4. And he forsook the LORD God of his fathers, and walked not in the way of the LORD.

  5. And the servants of Amon conspired against him, and slew the king in his own house.

  6. And 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.

  7. Now the rest of the acts of Amon which he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?

  8. And he was buried in his sepulchre in the garden of Uzza: and Josiah his son reigned in his stead.

Amon began his reign at age 22, but only lasted two years. He, too, did wickedly before God, copying his father. Religiously, he did everything his father did, and served false gods. Some earlier kings mixed worship of Jehovah with worship of idols. But, Manasseh and Amon simply rejected the God of Israel and Judah altogether. Many today do this, though they present a ‘holy’ face to their peers.

Within two years, some courtiers conspired against Amon and assassinated him in his palace. The sinfulness of the people led them to find all who conspired against Amon, to put them to death, when, in reality, they were just as guilty before God. The people then elected Amon’s son, Josiah, the new king. He was righteous before God.

Amon’s life is given more treatment in Chronicles, and he was buried with his father in his palace garden.

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Published on www.christiandoctrine.com

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