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 his grandfather Ahaz, who had closed the Temple. Manasseh practiced the evils of the pagan nations around him, built altars to their false gods, and even sacrificed his son on the altar of a pagan god. The anger of God was against him.
Manasseh's wickedness resulted in his being defeated by the fierce Assyrians who captured him and took him to Babylon. While he was in prison, he sincerely humbled himself before God and prayed to the Lord. The Lord answered his prayer and made it possible for him to return to Jerusalem and be reinstalled as king. This was an answer to Manasseh's prayers for mercy and forgiveness as well as 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 Altar of God and urged the nation to worship the Lord.
It is wonderful to know that Jesus died not only in our place for our sins, but also for those of the whole world. All who sincerely repent of their sins and seek daily to please the Lord are assured that they will reign with Him. But, we also need to realize that Manasseh could not relive the wasted years of his wicked rule or even convince his own son to reject idols and worship the Lord. This points out the warning of God concerning the irreversible law of nature. If we live a life of sin, we cannot avoid its consequences. It is also true that anyone who seeks to please the Lord and receives Jesus as Savior will receive eternal life. After Manasseh's death, his son Amon reinstated all the wicked, idolatrous practices of his father's earlier reign.
Devotional commentary also refers to: II Chronicles 33:22; Galatians 6:7-8; I John 2: 1-2.
By the prophets of God who have spoken to us through His Son Jesus Christ (see II Kings 21:10; compare 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.
Staff: Charity Ryan · Dr. Frank Wright, Honorary President, International Bible Reading Association; President, National Religious Broadcasters · Government Officials: Attorney General John Ashcroft (Department of Justice), and Rep. Scott McInnis (CO) · Country: Botswana (1 million) in southern Africa · Major languages: English and Setswana · Limited religious freedom because of local chiefs · 49% animist; 21% Protestant; 4% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Pray for godly discernment to know the Lord's will (see I Corinthians 2:14-16).
Optional Reading: Romans 12
Memory Verse for the Week: I Peter 1:23