May 9

 

Read II Kings 21 -- 23:20

 

In Today's Reading:

 

Evil reigns of Manasseh and Amon; Josiah's good reign; Book of the Law discovered; true worship restored; idolatry destroyed

 

Hezekiah was one of the best kings in the history of Judah; but his son Manasseh was wicked, even more sinful than Hezekiah's father Ahaz, who had closed the Temple (see II Chronicles 28:24). Manasseh did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, after the abominations (detestable practices) of the heathen. . . . And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the House of the LORD. And he made his son pass through the fire (threw him into a raging fire as a sacrifice to the Canaanite god Molech) . . . he wrought (did) much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger (II Kings 21:2-6).

 

Because of Manasseh's wickedness, Judah was defeated by the fierce Assyrians as God's judgment. The captains of the host (army) of the king of Assyria . . . took Manasseh among the thorns (with hooks), and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon. And when he was in affliction (misery, suffering), he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before . . . God . . . And prayed to Him: and He was entreated of him (moved by his plea) . . . and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD He was God (II Chronicles 33:10-13). The Lord graciously permitted him to return to Jerusalem and be reinstated as king. This was an answer to Manasseh's prayers for mercy and forgiveness, and probably to the prayers of his godly father Hezekiah for his son many years before. God forgives even the most evil of sinners when they truly repent and sincerely pray for forgiveness. Upon being restored as king, Manasseh immediately destroyed the false gods and altars he had previously built and rebuilt the Temple's altar and returned to true worship of the Lord. But Manasseh could not relive the wasted years of his wicked rule nor even convince his own son to reject his idols and worship the Lord.

 

After Manasseh's death, his son Amon reinstated all the wicked, idolatrous practices of his father's earlier reign (see 33:22). And he . . . served the idols that his father served, and worshiped them (II Kings 21:21). This points out the irreversible law of sowing and reaping: Be not deceived; God is not mocked . . . whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap. For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption (destruction); but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting (Galatians 6:7-8).

 

Christ Portrayed:

 

By the prophets (II Kings 21:10). God, who . . . spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, Has in these last days spoken to us by His Son (Hebrews 1:1-2).

 

Word Studies:

 

21:3 the host of heaven = the whole array of heavenly bodies -- the gods of the Assyrians; 21:6 observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits = practiced witchcraft, fortune-telling, devil worship, black magic; 21:12 ears shall tingle = will be astonished with horror; 23:17 title = monument, grave marker.

 

Prayer Needs:

 

Pray for Country: Vanuatu (189,000) a group of 12 large islands southwest of the Solomon Islands in the southwestern Pacific · Major languages: English and French · Religious freedom · 78% Protestant; 17% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Pray the Lord of the harvest to send workers to harvest for Him (Matthew 9:38).

 

Optional Reading: Romans 12

 

Memory Verse for the Week: II Timothy 3:16