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29. Judah’s Fate is Sealed

October 13, 2010

Text:    II Chronicles 33:1-25 

Harmony Text:           II Kings 21:1-26

Outline:           I.     Manasseh, King of Judah                      II Chronicles 33:1-17

                               II.    Amon, King of Judah                             II Chronicles 33:18-25 

Context/Discussion/Comments: 

                Israel’s move away from the Lord began with Jeroboam and their fate was sealed during the reign of Ahab.  Judah’s kings were more Godly and their capital was Jerusalem.  Judah’s downslide began with Ahaz.  Hezekiah revived Judah but his son Manasseh sealed their fate even though his grandson, Josiah, brought about temporary reforms.  Isaiah, God’s key prophet, dies early in Manasseh’s reign [there is some speculation that Manasseh had him killed] and all the other remaining major and minor prophets did not come on the scene until after Manasseh’s reign [see my Introduction to The Prophets].  II Kings does not mention Manasseh’s repentance so it is believed to have happened late in his reign.  This makes sense according to the annals of Assyria.  Also, the Book of Kings was written from the perspective of the prophets whereas the Book of Chronicles was written from the perspective of the priests [Ezra].  Since no visible prophet activity occurred during Manasseh’s reign, his repentance was not recorded.

                 Manasseh, son of Hezekiah, becomes king when he is 12 years old and reigns for 55 years [Judah’s longest reigning king]  He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, rebuilding all the pagan altars his father had destroyed and even worshipping the stars.  He also built pagan altars in the Temple courts, sacrificed his sons in the Hinnon valley, practiced sorcery, divination, and witchcraft, and consulted mediums.  He even had a carved idol placed in the Temple where God said His Name resides. Manasseh led Judah astray so that they did more evil than the nations they drove out when they occupied the Promised Land. 

                The Lord speaks to Manasseh and the people [most likely through Isaiah or other prophets] but they refused to listen.  The Lord then uses Assyria to take Manasseh prisoner and escort him to Babylon.  Manasseh turned to the Lord in Babylon, humbled himself, and prayed to the Lord.  The Lord had mercy on him and returned him to his throne in Jerusalem. 

                 Upon his return to Jerusalem he rebuilt the outer wall Hezekiah had built and removed all the pagan altars from the Temple courts and the idol in the Temple.  He also restored the Lord’s altar and began to sacrifice Burnt and Thank offerings to the Lord.  The people also sacrificed to the Lord but only at their high places and not at the Temple.

                 Manasseh dies and his son, Amon, becomes king at age 22, reigning for 2 years.  Amon does evil just as his father did, worshipping idols.  He did not repent as did Manasseh.  Amon was assassinated by his own officials.  The people killed his assassinators and put his son Josiah on the throne. 

Lessons/Applications: 

  1. Do not blindly follow your leaders [political, religious, cultural etc.].  Verify what they say and do against the Word of God.  Do not support their leadership when it does not conform to God’s Law and God’s Word.  Instead, confront evil in the Name of the Lord and in a loving manner.  Ask the Lord for Wisdom, always.
  2. As Christians, we must be steadfast in holding to the truth of God’s Word.  We must keep our worship of God holy and not bring “worldly practices” into our worship.  Our worship, regardless of style, must focus on the Lord, His mercy, and His grace.  The Lord desires the worship of faithful servants, not the unfaithful multitudes bent on only serving themselves.
  3. Regardless of how great, how long, or how often one has sinned, God always hears and answers the prayers of a penitent sinner.  God willingly and lovingly offers His mercy and grace, restoring all who humble themselves before Him, repenting of their sin, and acknowledging Him as the one Lord God Almighty.  Do so now before it is too late.
  4. Listen to God.  He is speaking.  Do not ignore Him and seal your destruction.
  5. God is angered over man’s idolatry.  Wealth, power, and prestige are our idols of today, generally speaking.  Let us take inventory and note our priorities, assessing where we spend our time, energy, and  money.  If our focus and purpose in life is not on the Lord and for the Lord, may we humble ourselves before God, seek His forgiveness, and live in obedience to His Word.
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