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 even more wicked than Hezekiah's father Ahaz, who had closed the Temple (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).
Manasseh's wickedness resulted in Judah being defeated by the fierce Assyrians. 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 permitted him to return to Jerusalem and be reinstated as king. This was an answer to Manasseh's prayers for mercy and forgiveness, as well as to the prayers of his godly father Hezekiah many years before. God forgives even the most evil of sinners when they truly repent and 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 idols and worship the Lord. After Manasseh's death, his son Amon reinstated all the wicked, idolatrous practices of his father's earlier reign (II Chronicles 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 nature: Be not deceived; God is not mocked . . . whatsover 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).
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).
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.
Government Officials: Attorney General John Ashcroft (Department of Justice) and Rep. Scott McInnis (CO) · Country: Belarus (10 million) in northeastern Europe · Major languages: Belarussian and Russian · Religious freedom · 48% Russian Orthodox; 22% Roman Catholic; 1% Protestant; 1% Jewish
Prayer Suggestion: Pray that God will move His people to give faithfully to His work (Malachi 3:8-10).
Optional Reading: Romans 12
Memory Verse for the Week: John 8:32