Hezekiah died and his twelve-year-old son Manasseh became king of Judah. Unfortunately, Manasseh was strongly influenced by folks who wanted to do away with all worship of the One True God and go back to worshiping a multitude of false gods. Manasseh hopped right on board, “following the detestable practices of the pagan nations that the Lord had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites. He rebuilt the pagan shrines his father, Hezekiah, had broken down. He constructed altars for the images of Baal and set up Asherah poles. He also bowed before all the powers of the heavens and worshiped them” (II Chronicles 33:1b-3, NLT).
“Manasseh also murdered many innocent people until Jerusalem was filled from one end to the other with innocent blood. This was in addition to the sin that he caused the people of Judah to commit” (II Kings 21:16a). Manasseh may have been the instigator, but the people would also answer for their own foolish choices.
Manasseh was so evil that he set up pagan altars inside the very walls of the Temple. He threw his own sons alive into blazing fires as offerings to pagan deities. He even practiced sorcery, divination, and witchcraft, as well as consulted mediums and psychics.
Today there’s a growing movement toward all things pagan. In many circles, declaring yourself a witch or a pagan is totally acceptable. And there are even professing Christians who “don’t see the harm in” having their palm read or getting a psychic reading. My Bible begs to differ:
“Do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord. The Lord your God forbids you to do such things” (Deuteronomy 18:10b-11, 12a, 14b).
Many times when I’ve pointed out this passage to professing Christians who’ve become involved in one of these practices, their response has been, “I didn’t know it was wrong!” People, when practically every household owns multiple Bibles, we have no excuse for not knowing the Word of God. He didn’t tolerate those things in Manasseh’s day and He won’t tolerate them in ours, either.
As I’ve said repeatedly, be careful not to mistake His patience for tolerance – Jesus Christ has a zero tolerance policy regarding sin. Yes, He will forgive it and even forget it, but He will also allow the consequences set in motion to come to pass. Unless America turns from the direction it’s headed, I fear we have an awful payday coming.
As did Manasseh. Through the prophets, “the Lord spoke to Manasseh and His people, but they ignored all His warnings” (II Chronicles 33:10) and foolishly failed to realize that God’s patience was running thin.
“Then the Lord said through His servants the prophets, ‘I will bring such disaster on Jerusalem and Judah that the ears of those who hear about it will tingle with horror. I will judge Jerusalem by the same standard I used for Samaria and the same measure I used for the family of Ahab. I will wipe away the people of Jerusalem as one wipes a dish and turns it upside down” (II Kings 21:10, 12b-13).
“So the Lord sent the commanders of the Assyrian armies, and they took Manasseh prisoner. They put a ring through his nose, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon” (II Chronicles 33:11).
“Often we become apathetic in our lives until we face a severe storm.” (Paul Chappell)
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates