Changing of the guard
Hezekiah reigned over Jerusalem for 29 years. During that time frame, “he did what was right in the sight of the LORD (2 Chronicles 29:12). He established many different reforms throughout the land and among God’s people (2 Chronicles 29:4-5, 10, 16, 18-19, 35-36). He reestablished the Levities in their proper place and cleansed the house of the LORD. He reinstituted the Passover “… according to the law of Moses the man of God” (2 Chronicles 30:13-20). As a result of Hezekiah’s actions and leadership, which came from a pure place and a desire to please God, a true revival broke out among God’s people (2 Chronicles 30:21-23).
But Hezekiah did not just stop there. He continued reforms throughout the land and among God’s people by destroying all forms of idol worship that God Himself did not establish among His people. Any practices or traditions that were man made, he destroyed (2 Chronicles 31). Hezekiah did what was good, and right, and true before the LORD his God. And it was because of this that he prospered and was given divine protection against such strongholds as Sennacherib, the king of Assyria. When this king and his mighty, fearless men came up against Hezekiah and his people with their threats and intimidating actions, Hezekiah did not shrink back out of fear nor did he compromise. Instead, he partnered with the prophet Isaiah and put his complete trust in the LORD, and seek Him out through prayer for direction and protection. In response to this faithful and pure prayer, God responded and Hezekiah and the people of God were saved by the hands of the LORD (2 Chronicles 32:9-23).
The changing of the guarD
After Hezekiah fell asleep in death, Manasseh succeeded him as king. And he reigned for 55 years and did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. All the idol worship, customs, practices, and traditions his father Hezekiel had torn down, he rebuilt (2 Chronicles 33:3-9).
God personally took matters into His own hands and spoke to Manasseh and His people but they refuse to listen (2 Chronicles 33:10). Therefore, the LORD their God lifted His hand and removed His divine protection from over His nation. And as a result, Assyria returned to seek their revenge against the nation and against God’s people. And because God’s leaders and the people that followed them had become corrupted. They no longer heed the warnings and the counsel of the LORD, their enemy was allowed to come in and defeat and capture them.
The Assyrians captured Manasseh with hooks and bound him with chains and took him to Babylon to serve them as their slave. After his defeat, then Manasseh humbled himself greatly before the LORD (2 Chronicles 33:10-12).
Now, this is the distinction between God and His people.
We the people, if we were in God’s shoes having to deal with Manasseh and all the offenses that he had caused. After Manasseh found himself in a situation that he could not control or change, he then reaches out for help to get him out of his own mess. All of us would quickly turn our backs on Manasseh. Recalling ALL the problems Manasseh had caused and the offenses he had done to us. We would literally throw him under the bus and leave him in want. For many of us are guilty of doing this to people who keep messing up; who offends us; to those who we do not agree with; toward someone we do not get along with; against someone who has hurt or disappoint us; to people who our spouse or friend or family member don’t like; or based on someone’s else word about a person without verifying if the facts are true or not. We dismiss people for almost anything and over everything. And yet, God is calling each one of us to act according to His image, His likeness (Genesis 1:26-27).
god’s responses to manasseh’s change of heart
So how did God respond to Manasseh after he finally humbles himself and honestly seeks God for help? Did God turn His back on Manasseh; abandon Manasseh; was unwilling to forgive; or point His finger and say something like, ‘you should have done XYZ when I said….?’
Verse 13 of Chapter 33 of Chronicles said when Manasseh prayed to God for help, God was moved by Manasseh’s heartfelt prayer and heard Manasseh’s supplication. Now, remember, at this point, Manasseh is in Babylon, chained up as a slave, serving the Babylonians. But when Manasseh genuinely cried out to the LORD with a pure heart. Then the LORD heard him and somehow freed Manasseh from the Babylonians and returned him to his homeland. And from this point forward, Manasseh had a turning point. For the Scriptures said, “Manasseh knew that the LORD was God. He removed the foreign gods and the idols from the house of the LORD, and the altars he had built. And replaced these with altars to the LORD God (2 Chronicles 33:13-16).
Now, Manasseh had changed but the people did not. For they still sacrificed in the high places (2 Chronicles 33:17). But Manasseh, because he had a real encounter with the LORD and humble himself before the LORD, he spent the remaining of his days serving the LORD (2 Chronicles 33:18).
What lesson we can learn
There is so much we can learn from the session of Hezekiah to Manasseh. There are so many different directions I can take here. But I will say this concerning these two kings and the changing of the guard. The Scriptures reflected that Hezekiah was faithful in his service, duty, assignment, and allegiance to God. He never swayed. He had an issue with pride but humbled himself and quickly made his wrong a right with God. Now, we will have to assume that Hezekiah passed down his moral convictions onto Manasseh. And yet, Manasseh did not initially stay on the path his father set. One man did what was right in God’s sight, while the other did what was evil.
We can teach our children to have high standards and our moral convictions of how to live right, and holy, and just, and righteous. And we can truly live what we preach but there is still no guarantee our children will follow the path we carved out and set for them. For the kings in First and Second Chronicles shows us both sides of the coin. Good kings who raised bad successors and bad kings who produced great and justly, God-fearing kings.
Considering this, as parents, what we can pray is that each one of our children, whether good or bad, will have an encounter with God just like Manasseh. An encounter that will turn their world upside down to the point they too will humble themselves greatly before the LORD. And they too will be led to entreat God with a humble heart for His help. And God too will hear their cries and bring them back home to come to know the LORD is God. Resulting in them tearing up or tearing down all their personal idols, and lustful mindset and behaviors, as well as the destruction of habits, traditions, and culture acceptance and political correctness of this world. And they will make their peace with God and serve Him throughout the remaining of their days. Amen and Amen.
God's word is for the edification, exhortation, and consolation; for teaching, reproving, correcting, and training so that every Christian is equipped for the work of service, to build up the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 14:3; 2 Timothy 3:16; Ephesians 4:12).