We were reminded of a stark fact this past Memorial Day, and it is:
“CHANGE IS THE ONLY UNCHANGING, EARTHLY REALITY.”
If you will:
“INCONSTANCY SEEMS TO BE LIFE’S ONLY CONSTANT.”
We did our traditional Memorial Day celebration by meeting with our daughter, husband, and children at a lovely roadside park for a nice traditional picnic and fellowship. Lo and behold, when we got to the park that we have been going to for many years, it was no longer a park. No tables, no toilets, no nothing. Suddenly we were park-less. What a kick in the gut that was, as we all had to go and find a different park down the road, which we did, and we had a lovely time in spite of history’s inevitability – change.
On a far more profound note, certainly one of the greatest virtues of a strong, stable mind is its resolutions, its resolves. Yet, how often they too change, which no doubt you and I have also encountered in others, and sad to say even in ourselves! Tragically:
“EVEN IN THE WEIGHTIEST MATTERS, MEN SO FREQUENTLY PUT
THEIR RESOLUTIONS ON AND OFF WITH THEIR CLOTHES.”
“INCREDIBLY, MEN DECEIVE EVEN WHEN THEY ARE
THE MOST TRUSTED.”
They say that “They Changed Their Minds.”
And now on a far larger scale, history itself! I have been shocked at how in history’s ebb and flow of light and darkness, like nature, the light can become darkness overnight. The rhythm of day and night in God’s creation is a most welcome cadence, but in the flow of international and church history, light turning to darkness can be a most sudden and fearful experience. How can it happen so quickly?
The Word of God gives a very pointed explanation to all of this in II Corinthians 11:14 where we read,
“And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself
as an angel of light.”
The devil is history’s all time “Master of Disguise,” and he has his closets full of costumes and masquerades. However, and we take our warning from the Apostle Paul, namely, that the Prince of Darkness has one camouflage that is his favorite and which he is dressed in the most, and that is LIGHT. He must be really good at what he does, for to make pitch blackness appear to be brilliant light is not the trick of a rookie or an apprentice demon.
So we heed the warning:
“A BLIND GUIDE IS CERTAINLY A DANGER, BUT A GUIDE THAT
BLINDS HIS FOLLOWERS AND SOMEHOW CONVINCES THEM
THAT DARKNESS IS LIGHT IS A FAR GREATER DANGER.”
When we think of the devil-controlled Caesars and Hitlers of history, it suddenly all becomes very real. For this is what Satan does with and through his earthy lackeys:
“THE HAND OF A CAESAR OR HITLER EXTENDED IN FRIENDSHIP
WILL BE THE SAME HAND THAT ADMINISTERS THE
History is full of such examples, and they are unfolding at this very moment. That is how Satan has always operated through earthly rulers who are enemies of the people while posing as their friends.
I am reminded in this regard of my parents old television set, that when it was turned on, we would have to wait at least two minutes for it to ‘warm up’ before anything discernible could be seen. However, it is just the opposite with Satan’s phonies, for they warm up to you immediately so that no one can really see who they are. I’ll take the old TV any day of the week and twice on Sunday, for even though it didn’t warm up right away, when it did, what we saw was indeed what it was.
“SATAN ALWAYS USES EVIL POTENTATES TO PASS THEMSELVES
OFF ON THEIR SUBJECTS AS GOOD, BUT IN THE END,
GOOD CAN NEVER COME FROM EVIL, JUST BAD.”
A REIGN OF GODLINESS AND RIGHTEOUSNESS
It happens very rarely, which is why when it does happen in the world, the holy and righteous God makes a huge issue of it, and that because of its seldomness, its singularity, and its rare substance! His name was Hezekiah – King Hezekiah, king of the Kingdom of Judah. History calls him “Good King Hezekiah” which is nice and yet far too anemic, for God would go a lot further than that. The way the Holy Spirit records him in sacred writ leads us to the inescapable conclusion that God would call him literally “Best King Hezekiah.”
Why do we say that? Because of what we read about this “Best King Hezekiah” in II Kings 18:3,
“And he did right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that
his father David had done.”
In fact, so righteously surpassing was this “Best King Hezekiah,” that God says about him in II Kings 18:5,
“so that after him was none like him among all the kings of
Judah, nor among those who were before him.”
Hezekiah’s righteous heart absolutely made all other kings before him and after him pale into insignificance and drab hues. Getting back to that old TV, in those days it was called a black and white TV, but in fact it wasn’t even so much black and white, as it was black and a pale gray. But with King Hezekiah, things were always a crisp and clear black and white, and compared to him all of his predecessors and successors were also like our old black and gray TV.
If you will, God is trying to say to us here about King Hezekiah that he was:
“INCOMPARABLE – ICONIC – SINGULAR – INFREQUENT.”
It has occurred to me over the years as a humble student of history that the following is sadly true:
“MOST EARTHLY RULERS STAND MORE IN AWE OF THEMSELVES
THAN THEY STAND IN AWE OF GOD.”
“WHEN THE INCOMPARABLY AWESOME GOD STANDS IN AWE OF
AN EARTHLY KING, WE ARE LOOKING AT SOMEONE
A true student of the Bible knows for a fact that God does not hand out His Emmy for “Best King in History” to just anyone and certainly not very often. Such honors are few and far between in their Divine bestowal, and the qualifications are stratospherically higher than the qualifications that Hollywood has for its Emmy recipients. Plus:
“WHILE HOLLYWOOD AWARDS ACTORS AND ACTRESSES, HEAVEN
ONLY AWARDS ACTUALS.”
“WHILE HOLLYWOOD AWARDS COPIES, HEAVEN ONLY
God’s Mt. Rushmore I feel would have even fewer sculpted images than Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota. I am reminded of one other who I know would be up there on God’s Mt. Rushmore, and that is the skinny, ruddy, wet behind the ears kid-would-be-king by the name of David who stood in opposition to the fearsome giant Goliath when no one else would. God said of this kid-king something that you don’t read about any ruler before him or after him either:
“I have found David the son of Jesse, A MAN AFTER GOD’S OWN
HEART, who will DO ALL MY WILL.”
I know without a doubt that King David would be on God’s Mt. Rushmore along with King Hezekiah. You can add your own!
What more particularly makes King Hezekiah stand so high in God’s estimation? We read in II Kings 18:5,
“He trusted in the Lord….”
And in II Kings 18:6,
“For he clung to the Lord….”
Oh how we need Hezekiah’s leadership in America today, a president of whom God will be able to say, “There was none as godly and righteous before him, and none as righteous and godly after him.” A president of whom God will be able to say what He says of John the Baptist, “One greater than any man born of woman.” God please grant it in a miracle way. We desperately need a God-truster and and a God-clinger in the White House.
Hezekiah trusted in and clung to God. Strong words! In everything he did and said, what showed was that he was stuck on God. He surely today would be labeled as:
“A RIGHT-WING FANATIC – A RIGHT-WING EXTREMIST.”
If you will:
“HIS TRUST IN AND HOLD ON GOD TOTALLY DEFINED
WHO HEZEKIAH WAS.”
“KING HEZEKIAH WAS THE OLD TESTAMENT’S JOHNNY-ONE-NOTE,
AND HE AS STUCK ON THE KEY OF God.”
God was everything to this king! God was his only point of reference, his sole reliance, his total security, his complete meaning in life, his all-in-all. Most earthly rulers cling to their power, to their status, to their title, to their position, to their supporters etc. God’s name is used by them only when it is politically correct, and when it is advantageous for their position to do so. In other words, they have as much God or as little God as is needed at the moment. They are not God-trusters or God-clingers, but rather, they are God-manipulators and God-users.
“MANY U.S. PRESIDENTS HAVE MORE TO DO WITH THEIR DOGS THAN
WITH GOD, AND PRESIDENTS WITH VERY LITTLE GOD IN THEIR
LIVES CANNOT AND SHOULD NOT EVEN BE TRUSTED
WITH THEIR DOGS.”
If you will:
“A PRESIDENT WHO DOES NOT TRUST IN AND CLING TO GOD
CANNOT AND SHOULD NOT BE TRUSTED – PERIOD.”
And we are told more! We read about this “Best King Hezekiah” in II Kings 18:4 and 6,
“He removed the high places and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down
the Asherah. He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had
made, for until those days the sons of Israel burned incense
to it. And it was called Nehushtan.”
“He did not depart from following the Lord, but kept His commandments
which the Lord had commanded Moses.”
Note the important words:
“HE DID NOT DEPART FROM FOLLOWING GOD.”
It is like this:
“KING HEZEKIAH NEVER WAVERED OR DEPARTED FROM OBEYING GOD AND
KEEPING HIS COMMANDMENTS.”
If you will:
“EVERY TIME HE OBEYED GOD, HIS STRENGTH TO OBEY GOD THE
NEXT TIME WAS STRONGER STILL.”
And we must not be so naive to think that King Hezekiah was unopposed in his reign. But he never teetered or tottered to the left or the right, but ruled straight on for God. He never gave an inch to “Idol Lobbyists” or “Witchcraft Interest Groups.” We must understand something powerful here:
“THE RIGHTEOUS LIFE IS LIKE A STREAM, WHICH THE FURTHER IT
HAS RUN IN RIGHTEOUSNESS, THE MORE STRENGTH AND
FORCE IT HAS TO RUN FURTHER.”
“WHEN A RULER COMPROMISES ONE OF GOD’S COMMANDMENTS, IT WILL
NOT BE LONG BUT THAT HE WILL COMPROMISE MORE OF GOD’S LAWS.
THEN THE STREAM OF RIGHTEOUSNESS IN HIS REIGN WILL
SLOW DOWN TO A TRICKLE, AND FINALLY
COMPLETELY DRY UP.”
King Hezekiah was a raging river of righteousness, and one leader like that can completely rearrange the landscape of an entire nation for the glory of God.
In short, King Hezekiah was “A REVOLUTIONARY FROM HEAVEN” with God at the center of his holy and righteous reign. He smashed the false gods and their shrines that the children of Judah under King Ahaz had built and worshiped in place of God. He demolished Moses’ bronze serpent that they also worshiped as a female deity named Nehushtan and offered incense to.
In essence, King Hezekiah destroyed and brought down the entire idolatrous religious system, and exalted the God of Israel once again. God never saw anything like it before him or after him.
“THIS RULER HEZEKIAH WAS CONSTANTLY MAKING HEADLINES
FOR GOD, AND PUTTING GOD ON THE FRONT PAGE
OF THE JERUSALEM SENTINEL WHERE HE
If you will:
“SOME RULERS WILL COVER OVER THE NAMES AND SYMBOLS OF GOD
AND OF HIS CHRIST, AND MAKE GOD THE FATHER AND HIS SON
JESUS CHRIST DECREASINGLY SMALLER FACTORS.”
They don’t want Jesus Christ the King of kings and the Lord of lords to be the Headliner in their administration. Rulers who do such things are at heart anti-God and anti-Christ, no matter what they call themselves as they blow religious smoke in the faces of the swooning citizens.
And when the time came that the Assyrians invaded Judah, this godly, devout, and praying King Hezekiah routed them, not because of the number or valor of his troops, but because this “Best King Hezekiah” had all of the power of Heaven to fight for him, with the angels as his guards, and the Lord of hosts as his Captain.
A REIGN OF IDOLATRY AND UNRIGHTEOUSNESS
It is hard to believe how history’s spiritual and moral circumstances can change from the good to the bad, and from the best to the worst so quickly. It has been said that:
“EVERY NATION AND CHURCH IS BUT ONE GENERATION
AWAY FROM CORRUPTION, DESTRUCTION,
Suddenly, in terms of the overall flow of history, we now go from TRIPLE AAA to TRIPLE EEE.
King Hezekiah reigned over Judah in Jerusalem for 29 years. Then he was succeeded by his son Manasseh who came to the throne at 12 years of age when he was a 7th grader. He came into power at a time of great spiritual and moral revival, as his father had begun an era of holiness and righteousness unto God across the land. It was all there for him to build on, and one would fully expect him to carry it on as the impressionable, very young son of his dad King Hezekiah. How could he miss or mess things up? It seemed to be the best of times, and the future looked bright. If you will:
“EVEN AS HEZEKIAH HAD DONE WHAT WAS RIGHT IN THE SIGHT OF
GOD LIKE HIS FOREFATHER DAVID, SURELY NOW MANASSEH
WILL DO WHAT IS RIGHT IN THE SIGHT OF GOD
LIKE HIS FATHER HEZEKIAH.”
Certainly it will be that Manasseh will show forth the truth of the old adage:
“LIVE AND LEARN.”
And one more:
“LIKE FATHER – LIKE SON.”
How could he have not been rightly molded under the intense righteous teaching and example of his father? Absolutely everything was in his favor to turn out as his father’s spiritual and moral clone. He must have learned well from his father the following principles, all of which have been and are being unlearned in the United States today:
“WHAT IS SPIRITUALLY AND MORALLY WRONG CAN
NEVER BE POLITICALLY RIGHT.”
“THE NUMBER OF NEW THINGS THAT WE NEED TO LEARN FROM MAN ABOUT
HOW TO LIVE LIFE IS VERY SMALL, COMPARED TO THE NUMBER
OF OLD THINGS THAT WE HAVE ALREADY LEARNED
FROM GOD HIMSELF.”
For you see, MANASSEH grew up under a father whose entire life and reign could be summed up by:
“BACK TO BASICS -THE WORD OF GOD – THE LAWS OF GOD.”
When a nation scorns and derides the Ten Commandments, and bans them from society and life, it will bring forth a people who LOSE THEIR SENSE OF RIGHT AND WRONG. But for Manasseh, he had a father who elevated and exalted the Laws of God. It could truly be said of Manasseh that he came from a very godly home.
But the fact of the matter Manasseh proved to be a demon seed the likes of which Judah and Israel had never seen before him or after him. We might ask, “How could what he became have happened in the first place?”
Was Manasseh one who, when he finally came forth from his mother’s womb, snatched from hellions who had for 9 months been working on him in a pit of darkness?
Or was he the type of child who at a very early age, when his parents disciplined him, would have anger fits and shoot laser death rays out of his eyes at them, and at any other authority figure that dealt correctively or punitively with him?
Or perhaps he started well, but then declined into an early state of rebellion against his godly father as so often can sadly happen. So that already as a youngster, he was the type before morning school class to break free from the palace and run for the horizon and play hookie, only to be dragged kicking and screaming back across the schoolyard by his mother.
When he became a teenager, was he the type to try out for the school terror-drama in order to play the part of “Freddie In The Sawmill Scene?”
Did he rob from his parents in order to get high and fry his brains with Judean drugs, or to buy Judean booze and escape into the blur of inebriation?
Only God knows the early signs of trouble that were there.
Whatever the case was, we see the total antithetical opposite of Hezekiah in his son Manasseh. We are truly talking about day and night. In Kings 18:3 we read about Hezekiah,
“And he did right in the sight of the Lord….”
In II Kings 21:1 we read about his son Manasseh,
“And he did evil in the sight of the Lord….”
Bam! Hear this:
“FATHER HEZEKIAH, THE SON OF AHAZ, WAS A SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
SHINING IN HIS FULL STRENGTH AND GLORY; BUT MANASSEH, THE
SON OF HEZEKIAH, WAS A SUN OF UNRIGHTEOUSNESS
UNDER TOTAL ECLIPSE.”
How could father Hezekiah “A Revolutionary from Heaven,” and mother Hephzibah, have possibly known as they fawned over their little bundle of joy, that growing in their nursery was “A Revolutionary from Hell” whose life would revolve around Satan and not around God? How could they have known that when they had the child circumcised on the 8th day, that it would be the circumcision of an absolutely brutal tyrant? How could mother have known that when she carried the baby in her arms in public, she was carrying a container of nitroglycerine through a crowd? No parent ever does.
And wouldn’t you just know it, of all of the kings of Judah and Israel, Manasseh ruled and would be in power the longest – 55 long, agonizing years. Once the devil gets his claws into the would-be rulers of nations, they are the most difficult to dethrone, for they are Satan’s plantings for his wicked and anti-God purposes, and he grows their roots deep in the palaces of the world.
But listen now, Satan is as busy in nurseries as he is in nations and governments, and he often captures the latter by his schemes in the former. Yes:
“SATAN SUCKS POISON FROM THE FAIREST FLOWERS OF GOD’S
GARDEN, AND MAKES THE TENDEREST BEINGS OF GOD’S
CREATION SERVE THE INTERESTS OF HIS MOST
VILE AND WICKED PURPOSES.”
It must be constantly and strongly stressed, knowing that Satan is after our children:
“HOW WE MUST CONSTANTLY PRAY PROTECTION FOR OUR CHILDREN,
KNOWING HOW THE DEVIL CONSTANTLY TRIES TO PREY
UPON OUR CHILDREN.”
Now here he comes, and this is what happened as soon as he was in office. We read in II Kings 21:3-6 about King Manasseh,
“For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had
destroyed; and he erected altars to Baal and made an
Asherah, as Ahab king of Israel had done, and
worshiped the hosts of heaven and
“And he built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord
had said, ‘In Jerusalem I will put My name.”
“And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts
of the house of the Lord.”
“And he made his son pass through the fire, practice witchcraft
and used divination, and dealt with mediums and spiritists.
He did much evil in the sight of the Lord provoking
Him to anger.”
It is all there for us to see with our mouths hanging open. Manasseh did not put his mind and rule into neutral, rather, he put his mind and rule into reverse as fast as he could go. A fact of history:
“KING MANASSEH’S SOLE PURPOSE WAS TO DESTROY THE GODLY NATION
THAT HIS FOREFATHER HEZEKIAH HAD BUILT, AND TURN IT INTO
A NATION OF HIS OWN UNGODLY MINDSET AND PURPOSE.”
In short, Manasseh undertook to undo everything his father had done in his great revival of godliness and righteousness. He rebuilt high places to false gods, and worshiped those gods of the lands of the enemies that God had helped them conquer. Manasseh even carved an idol of his own and took it into the house of the Lord and led his people to worship it.
But there is more. Manasseh led the nation in the worship of angels and in the demonized practices of witchcraft and divination as well. The King sought counsel from satanic mediums and spiritists. He turned the temple into an idol house, and his palace into a coven. Every night was Halloween in the King’s chambers. Furthermore:
“EVERY NIGHT I CAN HEAR HIM SAY TO HIS MEDIUMS AND SPIRITISTS,
‘GO DO THAT VOODOO THAT YOU DO SO WELL.'”
And now you have to hear this loud and clear, what we read in II Kings 21:9,
“and Manasseh SEDUCED them (the people of Judah) to do evil
more than all the nations whom the Lord destroyed
before the sons of Israel.”
If you will, Manasseh led his people into becoming wickeder and more idolatrous and more satanic in their worship, mind you, than all of the wicked, idolatrous, witchcraft nations around them. In fact, he raised his nation head and shoulders above the common level of idolatry and witchcraft in the world, and if you wanted to really learn about the practices of idolatry and witchcraft at their highest expression, or should we say at their lowest expression, Manasseh’s Judah was the place to come. It became under King Manasseh the “IDOL AND WITCHCRAFT CAPITAL OF THE WORLD.” You might even be able to purchase some idol statuettes and witchcraft paraphernalia at Manasseh’s “Sorcery Souvenir and Snack Shops” to take back home with you as mementos of your trip to Black Magic Judah and Idols Unlimited Jerusalem.
And I want you to notice carefully the words which tell us how all of this happened:
“AND MANASSEH SEDUCED THEM….”
If we miss this, we miss the whole ball of wax. It does not say that Satan seduced the nation of Judah. Oh to be sure, Satan is “The Master Seducer,” and he surely has no equal. Just ask Adam and Eve who were seduced by him before they knew what hit them.
But hear this now, Satan’s first targets of his seduction are heads of nations, churches, and families – national and ecclesiastical and family leadership. Then, once he has done that, he then uses his seduced presidents and pastors and parents etc. to seduce and lead whole nations and churches and families into “Satanville” and “Whackieville” and “Jonesville.” He seduced one king named Manasseh in order to be able to seduce an entire nation named Judah.
By the way:
“JUDAH MEANS ‘LET GOD BE PRAISED,’ AND MANASSEH CHANGED IT
INTO ‘LET IDOLS AND DEMONS BE WORSHIPED.'”
But this is how it works – THE DEVILISH CHAIN OF SEDUCTION:
“WITH THE EXPERIENCE OF BEING SEDUCED BY SATAN COMES THE
GIFT OF BEING ABLE TO SEDUCE OTHERS.”
Satan wastes nothing evil in his schemes of seduction, but rather he makes sure that “The Seduced” become “The Seducers.” His seducing of whoever is always an investment that will pay bigger seductive dividends for his kingdom of darkness. Let the “Chain of Seduction” be unbroken.
So what we have here is:
“SATAN AND MANASSEH – THE DEVILISH DUO’S SEDUCTION OF JUDAISM
INTO WITCHCRAFT AND IDOLATRY.”
Even as today we have:
“SATAN’S AND PASTORS’ SEDUCTION OF CHRISTIANITY INTO THE
WORSHIP OF THE IDOLS OF PERVERSION, MAMMONISM,
TEMPORALISM, AND MATERIALISM.”
The ART OF SEDUCTION! It is that skillfully seductive spirit of the passing on to the entire nation of Judah darkness as light, idols as God, devils as angels, witches as divine miracle workers, sin as righteousness, and curses as blessings. And a vast number of the population went for it and swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. All because of one seducing and seductive king.
In the Seduction of America, what is being skillfully brought upon the swooning American people is America as the Biggest Islamic Nation, Allah as compatible with God, Marxism as Capitalism, Governmental Control as Freedom, Redistribution of Wealth as Jobs Creation, Spending as Debt Retirement, a Citizens Army as Homeland Security, Perversion as Holy Matrimony, Murder as Freedom of Choice, until the duped masses actually do not know the difference anymore. SEDUCED!!! All that they know is “YES WE CAN.” “Yes we can” what? Now a minority of the spiritually discerning know what, and some of them knew before Obama seduced the nation!!!
What is SEDUCTION?:
“SEDUCTION IS THE ART OF FALSELY WORKING ON AND WOOING MEN’S
HEARTS, SO THAT IT MANIPULATES AND EVEN BYPASSES THEIR
MINDS WITHOUT ANY REASON, RESISTANCE,
DISCERNMENT, OR OBSERVATION.”
“SEDUCTION IS THE ART OF PRESENTING FALSE AND EVIL OBJECTS,
PRACTICES, AND IDEAS IN SUCH A WAY THAT THEY BECOME
IRRESISTIBLE TO OUR MOST PASSIONATE AND
PREDOMINATE DESIRES, INCLINATIONS
King Manasseh was Satan’s STUDENT ARTIST OF SEDUCTION also second to none. Head of the class! State of the art seduction!
A REIGN OF TERROR
We have dealt with THE GOOD, and we have dealt with THE BAD, but now we have to deal with THE UGLY.The bad if it is left unchecked will always become ugly.
FIRST, we read in II Kings 21:16,
“Moreover, Manasseh shed very much innocent blood until he
filled Jerusalem from one end to the other.”
Surely we have heard of the phrase:
“SCORCHED EARTH POLICY.”
However, here we have the:
“SOAKED EARTH POLICY.”
Soaked with human blood throughout every part of Jerusalem! Whose blood? The blood of those who doubtless persisted in their loyalty to Jehovah God, and resisted the corruption of the entire Jewish faith by King Manasseh! Manasseh committed mass murder of those who, for their faith in God opposed his tyrannical regime, and would not conform to his wickedness and leave Judaism and convert to Manassehism. Incredible:
“IN ONE GENERATION WE HAVE GONE FROM HEZEKIAH
THE RIGHTEOUS REFORMER TO MANASSEH THE
“AFTER THE PEOPLE FELL FOR IT ALL, MANY FAITHFUL ONES
TO GOD FELL TO THE GROUND AS RIVERS OF THEIR
OWN BLOOD WASHED THEM AWAY.”
People treated as if they were no more than cattle in a slaughter house, treated as if there is no judgment, no vengeance, no accounting to God.
Manasseh totally fits the words of Paul to Timothy in II Timothy 2:26,
“…having been held captive by him (Satan) to do his will.”
It is a Biblical and therefore an historical fact:
“RULERS WHO ARE UNDER SATAN’S CONTROL WILL ALWAYS
RESORT TO KILLING THEIR OPPOSITION.”
Hello Hitler! Hello Hussein! Hello Assad! Why?:
“BECAUSE SATAN IS A MURDERER FROM THE BEGINNING, AND
THOSE WHO HAVE COME UNDER HIS SPELL WILL EXERCISE
FOR HIM HIS CHIEF MODUS OPERANDUS – MURDER”
SECOND, we read about Manasseh in II Chronicles 33:6,
“And he made his sons pass through the fire in the
valley of Ben-hinnom.”
That is, he actually sacrificed his sons in the flames to appease the false idol gods that he led the nation in the worship of. This barbaric practice of sacrificing children to false gods goes all the way back to the ancient, heathen nations of the earth which now included Judah, but it does not originate with them.
Let’s briefly take a closer look at what is really happening in all of this Manasseh murder and mayhem.
Did you ever think about the following principle? Listen:
“SATAN DOES NOT ONLY WANT TO BE GOD, HE WANTS TO
BE HIGHER THAN GOD.”
We read about Satan speaking to himself in his heart, which of course God overheard in Isaiah 14:13,
“But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to Heaven, I will
raise my throne above the stars of God….”
Now listen carefully to the Holy Spirit:
“SATAN IS OBSESSED WITH TRYING TO TOP GOD IN
EVERYTHING THAT HE DOES.”
First of all, Jerusalem is the City of God. Satan turned Jerusalem into the “Idol Capital of the World -the City of Idols.” In other words, he would top the “City of God” by turning it into the “City of the gods.” And of course each god was Satan’s concoction, so that when people worshiped the gods, they were actually worshiping Satan. Score one for the devil. That is how he always thinks and works! Always!
Second of all, when the people were seduced into worshiping idols, Judah became more pervasively and intensely an idol worshiping nation than all of the idol worshiping nations around them put together. Absolutely incredible! A stroke of devilish genius! There it is again – top this if You can God! If you will, Judah and Jerusalem worshiped the heathen gods much more intensely and numerically than the heathen nations ever worshipped them. In fact, Satan through Manasseh seduced them into worshiping the pagan gods with more zeal than ever they had worshipped God with. He made the chosen people of God out-heathen the heathen. Score another one for the devil!
Third of all, while God sacrificed His only begotten Son, Satan so works it all out so that many sons are being sacrificed to his gods and therefore to him. God gets a one-son sacrifice, while Satan gets multi-sons sacrifices. Top that God! Score yet another one for Satan, that is, if you enjoy keeping score for an insanely jealous mass murderer. The statistics of hellish fiendishness!
NO ONE IS TOTALLY HOPELESS
Have you ever felt deep in your heart that a particularly rotten and wretched person could never be saved? Not only that, but has it ever sneaked into your mind that the scoundrel shouldn’t be saved either? If anyone deserves to fry forever in Hell, it is that person! Have you ever thought and felt that way about someone? How about Manasseh? Is this madman beyond the reach of Divine mercy and grace? If anyone is, he is!!!
The Lord Himself could not get Manasseh’s attention. We are told in the Word of God that God sent the army of the Assyrians to invade and conquer Judah and King Manasseh. They led him away with a ring through his nose and a ring through his lip. They had him chained and paraded him like a circus animal. I am reminded of the words of Ezekiel 16:36 and 43,
“because…with all your detestable idols, and because of the blood
of your sons which you gave to idols…I in turn will bring your
conduct down on your head.”
And He did!
But would you believe that in captivity, this same bloody Manasseh prayed to God. He did not turn to the gods that he had created and carved and demanded that his people worship. He turned to the God of his father Hezekiah – the Lord God Almighty. We read in II Chronicles 33:12,
“When he was in distress, he entreated the Lord his God, and
humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers.”
Note – Manasseh was in DISTRESS! He had gone from the palace to the pit as a prisoner of war. He who had fed upon the misery of others now has become misery itself. When the profligate hits the bottom, only then can he look up.
You and I might have a hard time with this, but the Lord never did tell “Manasseh the Mangler” that he was “through.” The Lord did not rehash his idolatry, his witchcraftiness, his bloodiness, his brutishness, his hatred, his disobedience. None of that! He just listened to the prayer of man with a broken heart and a shattered life.
Yes, this is hard to believe, but the Lord arranged to take Manasseh out of captivity and restore to him his kingdom and his throne so that he ruled for a total of 55 years. And what did he learn in his agony? Manasseh destroyed the very high places on the hillsides that He had built to false gods and which he demanded his people to frequent. He destroyed all of the false deities, and the Lord blessed him. Amazing grace!
The King who had done unspeakable evil in the sight of the Lord, now did right in the sight of the Lord. The King who had been at odds with God, was now finally God’s man. All of Judah must have marveled that God could salvage and show mercy to such a man and give him a new life and a glorious future. What a God! What a Savior! What a hope for the worst of men!
“DOES GOD CHANGE DEVILS INTO ANGELS?”
“NO, BUT JESUS CAN AND DOES CHANGE THE DEVILISH INTO
THE ANGELIC. ONLY HE CAN!”
“DOES GOD TURN HELL INTO HEAVEN?”
“NO, BUT JESUS CAN AND DOES TURN THE HELLISH INTO
THE HEAVENLY. HE ALONE CAN!”
God does not quit on anyone, do we?
By the way, Manasseh’s name means “Making to Forget.” Manasseh’s name was more than a garment that he wore, but it was a name that he lived to the fullest. His name was a prophecy, and Manasseh fully lived up to, or should we say, down to his name.
Satan made him forget about God and all that his father had taught him about God. It had been a total wipe-out! After his complete forgetfulness of God, now as a brute and monster in captivity, God mercifully makes him remember and worship the God Who he had forgotten, and makes him never to forget a miracle mercy that far surpasses his former idol mania and mass murder.
Also, now God helps him to forget the ogre and brute that he was, and gives him a whole new sense of identity in God. He was not only freed from captivity, but freed from the blood associated with his name. Yes he is – Manasseh is a totally changed man, “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not,” for now the pitch blackness of his hellish heart has become the brilliant light of Heaven’s glory. Amen!