2 Kings 21

2 Kings 21
Pastor Mark Hudson

This chapter in 2 Kings describes the life and ministry of Manasseh who “did evil in the sight of the Lord” according to v. 2.  As a Bible reader might know, II Chronicles 33:10ff, also includes a period of repentance at the end of his life.  But we are looking at what this author is telling us and following his story.  We don’t know why this author didn’t include this end-of-life repentance so we can only guess.  Did he conclude that Manasseh’s repentance was too late to make a difference?  Was the author concentrating on why Judah was exiled?  For whatever reason, 2 Kings does not include that part of Manasseh’s life.

Manasseh is the son of good King Hezekiah.  But Manasseh does not follow his father’s example.  In fact, where Hezekiah torn down the high places, Manasseh rebuilt them.  As you read vs. 2-9, one wonders what God’s people thought of this reversal. During Manasseh’s time, he acted just like the Canaanites who were removed from the land for their evil (v. 2b).  Here are some of the things this wicked king did:

Erected altars for Baal.

Made an Asherah.

Worshipped all the host of heaven and served them.

Built altars for the host of heaven in the house of the Lord.

Built altars in two courts of the house of the Lord.

Burned his son as an offering.

Used fortune-telling and omens.

Dealt with mediums and necromancers.

Set an image of Asherah in the house of the Lord.

Manasseh does all this as a king which in essences is saying to the people, ‘this is what I want you to do.  I am an example for you.’  Yet all this provoked God to anger (v. 6).  God is so angry He tells his prophets, “I am bringing upon Jerusalem and Judah such disaster that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle”  in v. 12.  After Israel was taken into exile one would think that Judah would turn away from idolatry.  God warns them repeatedly.  God says, “I will forsake the remnant of my heritage and give them into the hand of their enemies . . . .” yet even after v. 14, they just keep sinning and refuse to repent.

Whatever nationality you are or whatever country you live you, do you wonder about your own country?  As a U.S. citizen, I wonder how much longer God will put up with our evil policies that schools and businesses support.  I wonder how long God will put up with what our government supports.  I think of the millions of babies that are ripped out of mother’s wombs, the lies we are telling children as they seek to change their sex, the language you hear come out of most American’s mouths, and the drugs we consume, let alone the rampant materialism that could help so many people in need.

I am glad that God is waiting before He returns.  But how long?  This world deserves God’s wrath.  Yet, the longer God waits, the more His will reaches His goal.  Once He returns then the end will come.  Now it may seem to us that He will never return.  It seems evil multiples with no reaction from God.  But God may seem slow but He is never late.  He sees everything and is waiting for the exact right time of His return.

We need to continually repent, constantly worship, spread the gospel here and around the world, and never lose heart.  He will set all things right someday and all His saints will praise Him but for a time He is waiting like he waited until 722 B.C. for Israel’s exile and for 586 B.C. for Judah’s exile to Babylon.  We are living in a time that deserves God’s awful judgment and wrath.  So while we are here, we must be faithful, live godly lives in truth and sincerity, and strengthen our local church.  Your strength contributes to the church’s strength and your weakness (sinful weakness) also pulls us down.

While we are here, let us resolve to pray without ceasing, to rid ourselves of the sins that drag us down (your sins are not my sins but we all have besetting sins that constantly tempt us and entangle us), and to keep believing in the gospel.  Our lives are but a handbreadth and then they are over.  Live for Christ.  Don’t waste your life, your time, your talents.

What if every other person was like you in church?  Would there be any ministry?  Would the church have any money?  Would the church start on time?  Would anyone be a two-hour people going to Sunday School?  On some weeks, would the church be empty?  Would the entire church gossip?  Be the believer that sets the standard.  If nothing else, take time to think carefully about what God is asking you to do.  Look to His Word for His direction.

Dear Lord, this is a sinful world that seems to copycat passages like we are reading in the Bible.  In a way, this should frighten us for our country.  That is true for any believer living in any country in the world.   You see it all and yet You wait.  In the meantime, stir us up to be lovers of Your grace and the gospel.  Have mercy O, God, have mercy.  Stir up Your church around the world to be more holy, more humble, and more on fire for the truth of the gospel.  We pray this to the Head of every church, Jesus Christ.  Amen.