2 Chronicles 33: Manasseh & Amon

Judah's best king was followed by it's worst: Manasseh.

Introduction

After experiencing a power revival in Judah from the leadership of King Hezekiah, Judah plummeted back into idolatry under the reign of his son, Manasseh. Manasseh is described as one of the worst kings in the history of Judah.
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Manasseh

Photocredit: Unsplash.com/Frantzou Fleurine
Manasseh takes the throne at 12 years old, which is still a bit young by modern standards but not the youngest Judah had seen. His reign lasted for 55 years but was the complete opposite of Hezekiah's. Where Hezekiah inspired Judah to return to God, Manasseh drove them to idols. He turns the people against their covenant with God and takes part in pagan practices, including witchcraft and child sacrifice. Manasseh re-erects the false altars Hezekiah had destroyed, going so far as to place on inside the Temple of God.

As we would expect, God is not pleased with Manasseh's behavior. However, God never acts without giving us a chance to repent, so He sends a warning to the people. Unfortunately, the Israelites (and ourselves) don't usually heed is warnings because we are so preoccupied with our own interests. When the people refuse to listen, God allows Assyria to attack.
During the attack, Manasseh is taken captive into Babylon. It is only in this time of need that Manasseh repents. Nonetheless, God hears Manasseh's repentance and delivers him back to Judah safely. The key take away from God's mercy, however, is that Manasseh's repentance was sincere. When Manasseh returns to Judah, he doesn't return to pagan practices or forget that God has spared his life; he come back a changed man and we are given evidence of this. He has repairs made to the Temple and gets rid of the false altars he construction within God's Temple.

As with many things in life, however, our bad behavior may speak louder than the good we do and become our legacy and greatest influence. Manasseh's sudden change of heart was too late in terms of his influence over the people of Judah. The were now accustomed to worshipping at the false altars and continued to practice sinful traditions Manasseh had introduced earlier in his reign.
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Relating to Today

African American's are well acquainted with this unfortunate cat and mouse game of good and evil. Just when the Union won the war and freed the slaves, Jim Crow became the law of the South. Similarly, the US went from electing its first Black president to elected Donald Trump, who ran a campaign that did nothing but incite racial hatred. In the Bible we see this same tug of war with Manasseh taking the throne after Hezekiah. Are we just destined for evil?

It's not that we're destined for evil, so much as the devil trying to trick us down that path. The last thing the devil wants to see is God's people worshipping God and behaving the way God wants us to behave. Once a revival begins, the devil is going to seek to squelch interest. He's going to do everything in his power to find a weak link and bring that progress to a halt. Anytime there is a shift in focus to maintaining a serious relationship with God, you can bet the devil is going to try to throw a monkey wrench in the plan. That could be on a large scale, like with the kingdom of Judah, or on a personal scale, like when we make changes in our personal lives. The only way to guard against such attacks is to expect them.
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Amon

When Manasseh dies, his son Amon takes the throne. Amon is 22 when he becomes king and only reigns for 2 years. He, too, does much bad while reigning as king. Possibly responding to Manasseh's change of heart, the people do not appreciate Amon's step back toward paganism and ungodliness. This leads them to conspire against him and have him assassinated. Upon his death, his son Josiah takes over as king.
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References

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Author Image Author Image I love reading the Word of God. With prayer God's Word reveals so much: from comfort to temperance, from perspective to affirmation. Digging into the depths of the Word, cross-referencing history, language and time differences, is a passion of mine. In March of 2015 I decided to go back through the Bible doing an in depth study on each section I read. Eventually I decided to share my journal of notes as I partake in this journey. I hope you are blessed by God and inspired to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. I love reading and learning about God, nature, and science. I am interested in how it all connects. The Creator's fingerprints are all over his creation. We can learn so much about Him and how we came to be by exploring the world around us. Join me as I explore the world and draw closer to the One who created it all.
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