Biblical Story And Lessons From King Manasseh
BIBLE TEXT: 2 CHRONICLES 33:1-20, 2 KINGS 21:1-18
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Manasseh was the son of Hezekiah, king of Judah. He ascended the throne of his father at the age of twelve years. He became the thirteenth king of Judah. He reigned for fifty-five years.
However, he did that which was evil in the sight of God. He did not continue in the doctrine of his father Hezekiah. In fact, he did much worse evil than the ungodly nations that were defeated by Israel.
His reign was the longest in the history of any king of Israel, although he was the youngest king to ascend the throne. He also had the record of being the worst king that Judah ever had. He ruled for fifty-five long years before he passed to the world beyond.
Manasseh’s father, King Hezekiah, was a righteous man, who did what was pleasing in the sight of God. However, his son Manasseh was not. The bible says he built up again the high places of idols which his father destroyed. He did all manner of evil and gave himself up to idol worship.
Digging deeper into the story of King Manasseh, we see Manasseh building up all the groves and high places of idol worship which his father, King Hezekiah destroyed. He built altars for Baal worship. He destroyed all the good works of his father. His reign countered all the good deeds of his father, King Hezekiah.
Furthermore, King Manasseh rejected the law and teachings of God which his father passed down to him. This made him so desperately evil to a point of making his sons pass through fire in worship of idols.
Manasseh didn’t just sin against God, he did it boldly. This made him have a lot of influence on the entire nation of Judah. “So Manasseh caused Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err and to do more evil than the heathen nations, whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel.”
When Manasseh was in affliction, he turned to God. He humbled himself before God, and prayed to God for forgiveness. God heard his prayers and forgave him. “If my people who are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Manasseh went further to right all the wrongs he had done. He removed all the strange gods and idols from the house of the Lord. He began worshipping the one and only true god of Israel.
The bible further says, “Nevertheless, the people still sacrificed in the high places.” This is an indication that even though Manasseh had turned from his wicked ways unto the righteous God, he was unable to turn the hearts of the people back to God. The people still continued in their idol worship. Most times, when we do what is wrong in the sight of God and influence people around us negatively, we might not be able to prove otherwise to them when we have repented. Many parents have led their children into religious and moral errors. Then, when the parents have learned the truth, they often are unable to get their children, who are now grown ups and matured, to repent of their sins and accept the truth. The same has happened with gospel preachers who went astray and returned to the truth. Like Manasseh, they took the brave step to correct their wrongs, but are usually unable to get those whom they have misled/corrupted to change.
LESSONS FROM THE STORY OF KING MANASSEH
The story of King Manasseh is an uncommon story in the Bible. However, there are lots of kingdom lessons to learn from the story of the king with the longest reign in the history of Israel.
- The length of service does not guarantee the quality or faithfulness of service. One who has been in the Lord for many years does not necessarily have more knowledge, zeal or faith than one who just gave his life to God less than a year ago. What determines the quality of our service to God and relationship with him is constant meditation on the word of God and obedience to his commands.
- The righteousness of a father does not guarantee that of his child(ren). Salvation is a personal experience. However, the priority of every Christian parent is to produce godly offspring, by training them in the way of the Lord according to Proverbs 22:6.
- The good works and legacy of a righteous father can be messed up in a day by a wayward and ungodly child. This is why it is expedient to ensure our children have a personal salvation experience, so that they will not destroy our legacy. King Manasseh messed up all the good deeds of his father during his own reign.
- When a person is not in consonance with God, there is no limit to the degree of evil such an individual can commit. Even in our contemporary world, some Christians have deviated from the laws of God and gotten involved with the affairs of this world, like fraud, murder, cheating, idolatry, rape, incest, etc. When people despise the laws of God, anything can happen in the process.
- We all have some type of influence on others. Manasseh certainly did, but he used his influence to turn the hearts of the people away from God. As children of God, how do we use our influence? Is it for good, as the light of the world as stated in Matthew 5:14, or is it as imitators of the world as found in Romans 12:1,2. We should endeavor to use our influence to win souls to the kingdom of God, anywhere we find ourselves.
- God can forgive even the worst of sinners, as long as they ask for forgiveness and repent from their evil ways. This is similar to the story of Saul of Tarsus who was a great persecutor of the children of God. As soon as he met with Jesus, he turned around for good and became a celebrated saint.
- It is not enough to just get converted from our wicked ways; we must also take steps to make restitution. This will further strengthen our commitment to God.