Read II Kings 21 -- 23:20
Hezekiah was one of the best kings in the history of Judah; but his son Manasseh was more wicked than his grandfather Ahaz, who had closed the Temple (II Chronicles 28:24). Manasseh did . . . evil in the sight of the Lord, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out before the children of Israel. 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 worshiped all the host of heaven, and served them . . . he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger (II Kings 21:2-6).
His wickedness resulted in Manasseh being defeated, bound in chains, and taken as a prisoner by the fierce Assyrians; however, while he was imprisoned in Babylon, which was then under Assyrian control, he humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers; and the Lord delivered him and permitted him to return to Jerusalem as king (II Chronicles 33:10-13). Without a doubt, this was a miraculous answer to Manasseh's prayers for mercy and forgiveness, as well as, undoubtedly, an answer to the prayers of his godly father Hezekiah many years before. God forgives the most evil of sinners when they truly repent, and pray for forgiveness. Upon being reinstated as king, Manasseh immediately destroyed the false gods and altars he had previously built and restored the altar and the true worship of the Lord in the Temple, for now he knew that the Lord He was God (33:13,15-16).
But Manasseh could not relive the wasted years of his wicked rule or even convince his own son to reject idols and worship the Lord. After Manasseh's death, his son Amon reinstated all the wicked, idolatrous practices of his father's earlier reign, including the worship of Baal within the very Temple of God (33:22). He served the idols that his father served, and worshiped them (II Kings 21:21). After a two-year reign, the servants of Amon conspired against him, and slew the king in his own house (21:23).
Amon's son Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem (22:1). His name and godly mission had been foretold almost 300 years before: Behold, a child shall be born to the House of David, Josiah by name (I Kings 13:2). In the eighteenth year of Josiah's reign, Hilkiah the high priest said . . . I have found the Book of the Law in the House of the Lord (II Kings 22:3,8).
After hearing the Book read by Shaphan the scribe (22:10), Josiah realized that: Great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this Book (22:13). Josiah was greatly moved as he listened intently to the Lord's promised judgments for His people's disobedience. He was determined to do all he could to restore worship of the One True God in Judah.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9).
Christ Revealed: Through the prophets (II Kings 21:10). God, who . . . spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken unto us by His Son (Heb. 1:1-2).
Word Studies: 21:12 ears shall tingle means will be astonished with horror; 23:17 title means monument, grave marker.
Government Officials: Attorney General John Ashcroft (Department of Justice) and Rep. Scott McInnis (CO) · Pray for Rick Hash and the Bible Pathway Radio Broadcasts on KMXO-AM, Merkel, TX · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast sponsored by Bethany Christian Mission Center · Country: Grenada (97,000) southernmost of the Windward Islands · Major language: English · Religious freedom · 61% Roman Catholic; 31% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Commit your fears to the Lord and He will give you peace (Proverbs 3:24-26).
Optional Reading: Romans 12
Memory Verse for the Week: Colossians 1:13