Snow, Dogsled Races, and Ice Fishing take us outdoors this month!
But Jesus sent him home, saying, 39”…Go back to your family, and tell them everything God has done for you.” So he went all through the town proclaiming the great things Jesus had done for him. ~ Luke 8:38b-39 NLT
After this Manasseh rebuilt the outer wall of the City of David, from west of the Gihon Spring in the Kidron Valley to the Fish Gate, and continuing around the hill of Ophel. He built the wall very high. And he stationed his military officers in all of the fortified towns of Judah.~ 2 Chronicles 33:14 NLT (Emphasis Added)
It looks like Manasseh was not about to help those Assyrians take over Judah or risk being dragged off to Babylon in chains again!
He wasted no time in securing the borders. He walled off Judah and the public water supply from invaders.
Manasseh removed the idols, including the one he carved and put in the Lord’s Temple
He tore down all the foreign altars and dumped them outside Jerusalem.
Manasseh was thankful. He restored the altar in the Temple and offered the proper offerings of peace and thanksgiving on it.
He encouraged the people of Judah to worship the Lord of Israel – However, a lot of damage had been done. They did not respect King Manasseh like they respected his father, King Hezekiah. They continued to worship at pagan shrines even though they worshipped only Jehovah.
This story of two father-son Old Testament kings holds truths for our own nation on many levels. We have had numerous King Hezekiah-type leaders in our nation’s history. They attended church and got wealthier while they were in office. They built great projects, led us into wars, forged the United States of America into a military and economic superpower; but did not always protect our freedoms. Our King Hezekiahs kicked the can of growing evils down the road by not keeping us One Nation Under God. Then they left office and wrote prideful memoirs.
I would rather have leaders like King Manasseh – Repentant sinners who do their best to right a whole bunch of our country’s wrongs. One sad thing is that even though King Manasseh humbled himself, his own people never really trusted his leadership again. So even though Manasseh worked hard to secure the nation from foreign invasion and to reinstate proper Temple worship of the One True God, Jehovah; his reputation remained as a man who did evil in the Lord’s sight. Judah’s subjects respected King Hezekiah more; and he was a non-repentant prideful king!
It just goes to show that only God knows the heart. We can’t trust the fickleness of humans. God is just and He does not change. Praise Him for loving us sinners! We are all condemned if we fall under human judgement. I am thankful –
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to Him, the Power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. ~ Romans 8:1-2 NLT
One Lesson from Old Lions is this: Nations are judged or blessed by God according to their leadership. We need righteous leaders who work humbly for We the People under the guidance of Jehovah, who is God over all. Vote every election and vote responsibly. Vote for leaders who seek God’s wise counsel. Pray for Kings! If we expect God to bless our nation, His church needs to REPENT AND PRAY!
“Father Jehovah God, You are HOLY! HOLY! HOLY! And You are LORD GOD ALMIGHTY!!! Today we pray for those in authority over our nation. We repent for ourselves and our nation of the sins of pride and of rebellion against You. May our people rally behind leaders who realize that the LORD alone is God! We pray for undeserved mercy – knowing that Your judgement looms large. LORD, SHAKE BUT DON’T BREAK! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!”
Why are the wicked so prosperous? Why are evil people so happy? You have planted them, and they have taken root and prospered. Your Name is on their lips, but You are far from their hearts. ~Jeremiah 12:1b-2 NLT
Bless you for following Jesus, our Messiah and King of Kings!!
King Manasseh is described as a ruler who followed the pagan practices of the countries surrounding Judah.
He rebuilt shrines, idols, and altars to pagan gods that his father, King Hezekiah had destroyed.
He built pagan altars in the very Temple of the Lord.
He sacrificed his own sons in the fires of Ben-Hinnom.
He practiced sorcery, divination, and witchcraft.
He consulted with mediums and psychics.
Manasseh even carved his own idol and set it up in God’s Temple.
He murdered many innocent people until Jerusalem was filled with blood from end to end.
He led the people to do even more evil than the original residents of Canaan.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, he was pompous, too. He defied Jehovah every way possible.
Jehovah promised that if the people and king obeyed His law they would be spared from exile judgement. When God’s warnings fell upon deaf ears, He sent the Assyrians back to Judah. This time they took King Manasseh prisoner. They put a ring through his nose and led him back to Babylon in chains. From the life of a proud and powerful king to that of a conquered slave led around by the nose …
Yes, Jehovah finally had Manasseh’s attention! But unlike his father, King Hezekiah, Manasseh humbled himself and repented before God.
And when he prayed, the LORD listened to him and was moved by his request. So the LORD brought Manasseh back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh finally realized that the LORD alone is God! ~ 2 Chronicles 33:13 NLT
So we see that the basic difference between this father and son is that King Hezekiah is a picture of today’s church – indifferent, proud, and wealthy.
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. ~ II Timothy 3:5 (KJV)
Jesus rebuked a church like this – the Church of Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22). Jesus described it as one of the seven churches that is neither cold nor hot and is pompously wealthy.
“You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.” ~ Rev. 3:17 NLT
I think Hezekiah possibly went to his grave in a prideful state. Manasseh, on the other hand, had a genuine change of heart. When Manasseh prayed for forgiveness and humbled himself, God extended grace and gave him a second chance. Jehovah not only freed Manasseh, but restored Manasseh to his kingdom.
What did Manasseh do then?
Well, he did a lot so it’s going to take another post. While I get busy writing that, God bless you all and thank you for following
¹Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became the king of Judah, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. ²He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, just as his ancestor David had done. ³In the very first month of the first year of his reign, Hezekiah re-opened the doors of the Temple of the Lord and repaired them.~2Chronicles 29:1-2 NLT
The Word of God contains many warnings to rebellious nations (and to leaders of nations) that turn their hearts away from Almighty Jehovah. One example can be found in the Old Testament of how the Lord dealt with two kings who fell short in their service to both the nation of Judah and to their Covenant-God Jehovah.
King Hezekiah was a highly respected monarch who pleased God by tearing down the pagan worship centers in the country. He restored Temple worship of Jehovah and declared national observance of holy festivals such as Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This may not seem like such a big deal to us now, but at that time in history, the previous King Ahaz was so evil that he had actually closed the Lord’s Temple! Hezekiah showed great faith in restoring God’s Law in Judah coupled with fervent positive action to get the Lord’s work done.
As a result, the Lord forestalled judgement upon Judah when King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah prayed to Him for deliverance from invading Assyrian King Sennacherib in B.C. 713. Sennacherib not only besieged Judah with the plan to take over Jerusalem; he also mocked the God of Israel in the process. The Lord sent an angel who destroyed Sennacherib’s entire army. Sennacherib returned home to Assyria in defeat and was assassinated there by his own two sons.
The Lord blessed Hezekiah for his devotion, piety, and faithful reforms. Hezekiah became extremely wealthy. Evidently while in the process of building banks, warehouses, and water dams, King Hezekiah fell into the sin of pride. Oh, haven’t we heard about this sort of problem before? Jehovah was patient with Hezekiah, and healed Hezekiah on his death bed when Hezekiah repented and prayed; granting Hezekiah fifteen more years of life. The Lord gave a famous sign to King Hezekiah of the sun going backwards ten degrees as proof of Hezekiah’s healing and that it was from the Lord (2 Kings ch20).
Wouldn’t we think that Hezekiah would be thankful to receive the miracle of life plus such a splendorous and powerful sign sealing God’s promise?
However, when ambassadors arrived from Babylon to ask about the remarkable events that had taken place in the land, God withdrew from Hezekiah in order to test him and to see what was really in his heart. ~ 2Chronicles 32:31NLT
13Hezekiah received the Babylonian envoys and showed them everything … there was nothing in his palace or kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them. 14Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and asked him, “What did those men want? Where were they from?”
Hezekiah replied, “They came from the distant land of Babylon.”
15What did they see in your palace?” Isaiah asked.
“They saw everything,” Hezekiah replied. “I showed them everything I own – all my royal treasuries.” (Emphasis added)
16Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Listen to this message from the Lord: The time is coming when everything in your palace – all the treasures stored up by your ancestors until now – will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the Lord. 18Some of your very own sons will be taken away into exile. They will become eunuchs who will serve in the palace of Babylon’s king.”
19Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “This message you have given me from the Lord is good.” For the king was thinking, “At least there will be peace and security during my lifetime.” ~ 2Kings 20:13-19 NLT
Did you catch that? It is okay to kick that cursed can down the road to future generations as long as judgement is delayed and served upon the children! Isn’t that a lot like what is going on in America today?
King Hezekiah reminds me of another king that served Israel named Solomon. Solomon started out great by pleasing the Lord as he built God’s Temple in Jerusalem and asked for wisdom instead of riches …
But they both turned away from Jehovah through the sin of pride as they gained wealth and stature. Eventually the unrepentant actions of each brought national judgement to succeeding generations whose citizens lost their freedoms to foreign invaders. That means not only being physically enslaved to conquering governments but also means being barred from the freedom to worship the one true Creator God, Jehovah.
9”The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? 10But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” ~ Jeremiah 17:9-10 NLT
Next time we will take a look at Hezekiah’s son, Manasseh’s, reign over Judah. It should be interesting to compare father and son monarchies, and possibly gain clues about what may be in store for our own nation in these end times …
Tired of living a powerless life? Is being part of the “I’m OK-You’re OK-Anything Goes-Kumbaya” church getting you down? Well, God wants us to be living victoriously. How?
The Apostle Paul writes a letter to the church at Ephesus about Christian living and then expands his directives beyond the believers at Ephesus to include the whole world! (US!) How amazing is that?
Paul says the only way we can be confused, powerless, or snared by temptation is when we do not connect with God through His Word. During his imprisonment at Rome (AD. 60-62) he wrote:
¹ºFinally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. ¹¹Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. ¹²For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. ¹³Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.~ Ephesians 6:10-13 NKJV
What “evil day” is Paul is talking about?
At least, every day has the potential. Spiritual warfare exists today just as it did in Paul’s time. Unless a believer makes a deathbed confession, repents, and accepts Jesus as Savior, it is highly unlikely that any living believer escapes daily spiritual attack or testing. Don’t try to face evil alone! Get prepped up! Verses 14 through 20 give more detail about God’s armor:
Wrap Truth about our waist
Righteousness is our breastplate
Wear shoes of the gospel of peace
Faith is our shield to douse the flaming arrows of Satan (ABOVE ALL in importance)
Salvation is our helmet
God’s Word is our sword of The Spirit
Pray in the Spirit to persevere and be watchful toward all the brethren
See, if we don’t read our Bibles, we won’t recognize evil when it comes sneaking into our lives, our church, and our nation. We will not watch and pray for Jesus to return soon for His church. We will follow the world and fall into sin. We will not recognize Truth; our shoes will carry us away from situations of sharing our faith and toward sharing gossip or other sin. We will forget to pray; therefore, we will be weak and unfit for duty as God’s ambassador. We may lose our ability to speak boldly against satanic alignments. The list goes on …
Sometimes we can feel defeated or powerless. That means we are human. That is why our Father God has given us all we need for defense. Prepare according to His Word and then take the matter to Him!
“Heavenly Father, all praise, Praise, PRAISE TO YOU TODAY!!! Even though nothing is working for me, I have girded myself with Your whole armor as best as I know how. I read Your Word, and pray for understanding. The enemy seems to follow my trail and won’t be shaken. I turn around now and just face the evil day in Your strength. Help me to stand. Thank you in the Name of Jesus (Yeshua), Amen!”