Manasseh - A Change of Heart

Read Time: 7 Minutes

God's grace and mercy continually astounds me. Mostly I have learned that God looks on the heart of a person. We see the exterior and the actions. God can read the tables of your heart. This is why it is important to put the Word on to the point that it settles in your heart. Let it be your guide, let it be the standard whereby you gauge your thoughts, your actions, and measure of the circumstances around you.

There has not been a king in Judah like Manasseh. Upon reading II Kings 21 we learn that he was one of the worst:

II Kings 21
:1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign,
    and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem.
    And his mother's name was Hephzibah.
:2 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD,
    after the abominations of the heathen,
    whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.
:3 For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed;
    and he reared up altars for Baal,
    and made a grove,
        as did Ahab king of Israel;
    and worshipped all the host of heaven,
            [sun, moon, stars-see Deuteronomy 4:19, 17:3]
    and served them.
:4 And he built altars in the house of the LORD,
        of which the LORD said,
            In Jerusalem will I put my name.
:5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD.
:6 And he made his son pass through the fire,
    and observed times,
    and used enchantments,
    and dealt with familiar spirits
        and wizards:
    he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.
:7 And he set a graven image of the grove that he had made in the house,
    of which the LORD said to David,
    and to Solomon his son,
        In this house,
        and in Jerusalem,
            which I have chosen out of all tribes of Israel,
        will I put my name for ever:
:8     Neither will I make the feet of Israel move any more out of the land
            which I gave their fathers;
        only if they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them,
        and according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded them.
:9 But they hearkened not: [to the Word of God]
    and Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than did the nations
        whom the LORD destroyed before the children of Israel.

Manasseh and the people rejected the Word of God. They were persuaded to think that the gods that the people worshipped before Israel arrived were better than the one true God. No other king was said to seduce the people.

:10 And the LORD spake by his servants the prophets, saying,
:11   Because Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations,
        and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did,
            which were before him,
        and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols:
:12   Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel,
        Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah,
        that whosoever heareth of it,
            both his ears shall tingle.
:13   And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria,
        and the plummet of the house of Ahab:
        and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish,
            wiping it,
            and turning it upside down.
:14   And I will forsake the remnant of mine inheritance,
        and deliver them into the hand of their enemies;
        and they shall become a prey
            and a spoil
        to all their enemies;
:15   Because they have done that which was evil in my sight,
        and have provoked me to anger,
        since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt,
            even unto this day.
:16 Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much,
    till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another;
    beside his sin wherewith he made Judah to sin,
        in doing that which was evil in the sight of the LORD.
                [For an explanation of what God really did see the Idiom of Permission]

God paints a very grim picture of Manasseh. He rejected God wholeheartedly. He had seen his father, Hezekiah's, prosperous reign. He had been told of how God worked for Hezekiah. The Word doesn't tell us of any other miracles that God did for Hezekiah after his son was born. Unfortunately Manasseh was drawn away from God and when he had the throne he used his power to seduce the people and corrupt them. This allowed the adversary to come in and ruin his household.

The rest of the record is give to us in II Chronicles:

II Chronicles 33:
:9 So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err,
    and to do worse than the heathen,
        whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel.
:10 And the LORD spake to Manasseh,
    and to his people:
    but they would not hearken.
:11 Wherefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria,
        which took Manasseh among the thorns,
        and bound him with fetters,
        and carried him to Babylon.

Hezekiah was protected from the greatest nation in his time because he believed God and caused the people to believe God also. Manasseh walked away from God and persuaded the people to do also. He walked out of God's protective hedge and got attacked.

Manasseh had been taught God's Word some time in his life. Even though he had done abominably and seduced the people he was not beyond God's grace and mercy. God was still there waiting for him to come back to Him. (God has not changed.)

:12 And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God,
    and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers,
:13 And prayed unto him:
    and he was intreated of him,
    and heard his supplication,
    and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom.
    Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God.
:14 Now after this he built a wall without the city of David,
    on the west side of Gihon,
    in the valley,
        even to the entering in at the fish gate,
    and compassed about Ophel,
    and raised it up a very great height,
    and put captains of war in all the fenced cities of Judah.
:15 And he took away the strange gods,
    and the idol out of the house of the LORD,
    and all the altars that he had built in the mount of the house of the LORD,
        and in Jerusalem,
    and cast them out of the city.
:16 And he repaired the altar of the LORD,
    and sacrificed thereon
        peace offerings
        and thank offerings,
    and commanded Judah to serve the LORD God of Israel.
:17 Nevertheless the people did sacrifice still in the high places, [that were built for other gods]
    yet unto the LORD their God only.

When I first read about Manasseh in II Kings I was ready to dismiss him as another evil king who took his disobedience to God's Word to the extreme. Then, I read II Chronicles. I was astounded at the outcome of his life. II Kings only talks about his evil reign, II Chronicles gets to his heart. It takes great strength of character to do an about face such as this and humble oneself before the one true God. God did not dismiss him because of his disobedience but welcomed him back and rescued him from his captivity because of his change of heart.

He was able to change because he had been taught God's Word. Teach your children well. They may not run after the Word right now but you must give them the wherewithal to come to God when they are ready. God is patient; He waits on us to make the move toward Him. He has done it all for us, we just need to walk into His loving arms, enter into His gates with thanksgiving and rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice.

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Ephesians 3
:20 Now unto him
        that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think,
        according to the power that worketh in us,
:21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus
    throughout all ages,
    world without end.
    Amen.