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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