Manassehs and Hezekiahs

2 Kings 21:9: “But
they did not listen, and Manasseh seduced them to do evil more than the nations
whom the Lord destroyed before the
sons of Israel.                  

Observation: Manasseh
was the longest-serving king in Judah’s
history. His father was the godly King Hezekiah, and his mother was Hephzibah,
meaning, “His delight is in her.” But despite such a godly heritage, Manasseh
was one of the most evil kings the southern kingdom had known. He restored all
the pagan practices of the nations that opposed Judah, becoming so bad that 2
Kings 21:9 summarizes his reign by saying that Manasseh led the nation to do
more evil than even that which was practiced by the pagans that God had
destroyed.

Application: My heart broke as I read this chapter, to
realize that a contemptibly evil person as Manasseh could be spawned from such godly
parents. My heart cries out that evil patterns once conquered by good, ought to
remain conquered. Hezekiah was not a perfect man; there is only one such man. But
Hezekiah’s heart had been to do good in God’s sight, and he had generally
followed through on that good intention. 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that had been the end of the
story? Wouldn’t I love to hear that the upward path set by Hezekiah could
simply be followed to higher and higher planes of God’s approval and blessing.
But life is not like that. We experience victories as
well as defeats in this life. 

Sometimes I run, sometimes I stumble. Rejoicing is followed
by mourning, and rejoicing comes again. Confidence mates with despair. Fear
follows faith. That Manasseh could be the offspring of Hezekiah isn’t an
aberration; it’s simply life, particularly a life lived without unrelenting
watchfulness. It shows me that I need to be constantly vigilant. I am all too
aware that it is my nature to fall, and the greatest danger of spiritual
slothfulness often seems to come on the heels of great victory.

Prayer: Father,
thank You for this reminder to be constantly vigilant. As a man, as a father,
help me to not let down my guard. I have seen in my
own life how easy it is for Manassehs to follow Hezekiahs.
Stir me to
zealously be on guard when I might otherwise doze. Keep my spirit man alert to
hear and respond to Your leading.

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