INTERESTING FACTS : Francis Scott Key, U. S. ATTORNEY FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA; AUTHOR OF THE "STAR SPANGLED BANNER"
"May I always hear that you are following the guidance of that blessed Spirit that will lead you into all truth, leaning on that Almighty arm that has been extended to deliver you, trusting only in the only Savior, and going on in your way to Him rejoicing."
DAILY READING : 2 chronicles 32 - 34
TEXT : 2Ch 33:9 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. 2Ch 33:10 And the LORD spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken. 2Ch 33:11 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. 2Ch 33:12 And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, 2Ch 33:13 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.
THEME : REPENTANCE
As the reformation under Hezekiah continues, Sennacherib, king of Assyria comes up against Judah. The Assyrians had already possessed Israel to the north, and now they were at the gates of Jerusalem. However, Hezekiah is steadfast in his faith, and encourages the people of Judah to trust God for deliverance. 2Ch 32:7 Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: 2Ch 32:8 With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.
Nevertheless, Sennacherib contradicts the words of Hezekiah, telling the people of Judah no one has [yet] resisted his armies, and none of the gods of the other nations were able to deliver them. Further, he tells the people of Judah that Hezekiah was the one who destroyed the work of the LORD by throwing down [His] altars and high places. He insists Hezekiah is deceiving the people, causing them to trust in a god, whom, in essence, is no different from any other god. Moreover, he tries to deceive the people of Judah saying was [their] Lord who told him to go and take Jerusalem. [Compare 2 Kings 18] Obviously, all of these statements were false.
Hezekiah has already tried to avert this attack by paying Sennacherib money. Yet, like all tyrants, Sennacherib is not satisfied with just money. If he is able to take everything including the people and the land as he has already done with Israel why not do the same in Judah? Yet, there is a difference between Judah and Israel at this time in history. God, through Isaiah, calls Israel - a hypocritical nation, therefore they are already captives. Judah is included also because of past sins. Still, the reformation is ongoing in Judah and Hezekiah seeks the LORD for His answer and aid. In particular, he inquires of Isaiah the prophet.
2Ki 19:5 So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah. 2Ki 19:6 And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say to your master, Thus 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. 2Ki 19:7 Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumour, and shall return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land. 2Ki 19:20 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, That which thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard. 2Ki 19:32 Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it. 2Ki 19:33 By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the LORD. 2Ki 19:34 For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake.
Miraculously, the LORD sends an angel against the Assyrians, and delivers Judah. Here, then, is the testimony and principle of the entire Bible. God's people are [often] troubled and in impossible circumstances. However, when they trust in God and what He has written in His Book and do what is pleasing in His sight according to His Word, the LORD rescues them - even against all odds! In addition, the LORD often employ supernatural mean to accomplish this.
2Ki 19:35 And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went o ut, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. 2Ki 19:36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh.
2Ch 32:21 And the LORD sent an angel, which cut off all the mighty men of valour, and the leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he was come into the house of his god, they that came forth of his own bowels slew him there with the sword. 2Ch 32:22 Thus the LORD saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all other, and guided them on every side.
"Those who trust God with their safety, must use proper means, else they tempt him. God will provide, but so must we also. Hezekiah gathered his people together, and spake comfortably to them. A believing confidence in God, will raise us above the prevailing fear of man. Let the good subjects and soldiers of Jesus Christ, rest upon his word, and boldly say, Since God is for us, who can be against us? By the favour of God, enemies are lost, and friends gained." [Matthew Henry]
Still, Hezekiah has a season of pride and forgets God. After this, he becomes sick unto death and is told to prepare to die by Isaiah. Yet, he humbles himself, and the LORD delivers him from his sickness, adds fifteen years to his life, and protects him from Judah's enemies - the Assyrians. Hezekiah ends well as he began.
Still, there is an intriguing and significant statement concerning the ways of God with His people found in chapter 32:31.
"Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart." 2Ch 32:31
At times, the LORD ordains his people - individually or as a whole, to be left to themselves to see how they will respond to a trial of their faith. This is evident in the lives of Moses and the children of Israel after their deliverance from Egypt. "And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no." Deu 8:2 < /p>
Further, this testing of [Israel's] faith in the wilderness is a principle of the life of the Christian as well as the Jew as we read -
Deu 8:10 When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. Deu 8:11 Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: Deu 8:12 Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; Deu 8:13 And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; Deu 8:14 Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; Deu 8:15 Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; Deu 8:16 Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; Deu 8:17 And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. Deu 8:18 But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. Deu 8:19 And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.
TRUTH FOR TODAY : "IT IS MORE IMPORTANT WHAT WE DO TODAY THAN WHAT WE DID YESTERDAY!"
Manasseh stands in the corridor of history as an example of someone who is incredibly wicked in his early years, and becomes righteous and godly in the end. There are not too many examples like him in the Bible. Some start and finish well, other start and finish poorly. Yet, Manasseh has a true conversion, and becomes a type of what happens to the man or woman who receives Christ. The true Christian [as opposed to the hypocrite or the false professor] know s he or she has offended God and broken His laws. Once this is known, there is repentance and change.
"I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." Luk_13:3
To repent means - "to change one's mind, i.e. to change one's mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one's past sins." [Thayer] "To think differently or afterwards, that is, reconsider (morally to feel compunction)." [Strong's]
This is what the evil king Manasseh did, as all [true] Christian's do. They change their mind concerning their life as it relates to the LORD, and this change of thinking then changes behavior making it line up with the spirit of holiness, which is the nature of God. Remember, He is the "Holy" Spirit, not mere ly "the Spirit." The word "spirituality" confuses many. They do not know that the nature of the LORD is "Holy, Holy, Holy." Therefore, many make up their own philosophical constructs to follow and conduct their lives in open rebellion against God's commands or live in intellectual ignorance of the will of God and His laws. God of course, is not the blame. It is men and women who, knowing the will of God, freely give themselves over to ungodliness and uncleanness.
Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Rom 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Rom 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. < span style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Cambria","serif"'>Rom 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Rom 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. Rom 1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: Rom 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. Rom 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
In the beginning, Manasseh is an exceptionally wicked man. He does much to overturn the efforts of his father Hezekiah. Again we see a strange and perverse characteristic of life. Godly father - ungodly son. We must again remind ourselves that everyone is responsible for his or her own behavior, and how God will judge accordingly. "The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin." Deu 24:16
There is great encouragement in the life of Manasseh as we see the mercy of God. God takes no pleasure in the death of any wicked person. Rather, God is interested in men and women repenting and being changed [read - "converted"] into the image and likeness of His Son - Jesus Christ.
Eze_18:32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.
Eze_33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
As wicked as Manasseh is, when he repents his is forgiven and delivered from the captivity of the Assyrians and returned to Jerusalem. How incredibly merciful is the LORD! If He were to count our sins and hold them against us forever, who could stand? "If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?" Psa_130:3
Yet, He is loving and forgiving! However, let us be reminded that forgiveness is founded on repentance. That is, we must have a genuine remorse over breaking God's laws, and turn from that behavior. Once we do, God forgives and does not hold our sins against us. However, if we seek forgiveness without changing and brining our thoughts, words, and deeds into compliance with God's commands and laws, there is no hope for deliverance from punishment - in this life or the next.
Also, if we were righteous in the past and have become unrighteous, our past is forgotten the same as when Manasseh's past was forgiven. In other words, it is more important what we do today than what we did yesterday!
Eze 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. Eze 18:21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. Eze 18:22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. Eze 18:23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live? Eze 18:24 But whe n the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die. Eze 18:25 Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal? Eze 18:26 When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die. Eze 18:27 Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. Eze 18:28 Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.