Will they succeed forever in their heartless conquests? ~ Habakkuk 1:17 NLT
Habakkuk now has God’s attention. He has just accused God of being unfair!
Really? God’s own prophet? Yes, and The LORD just confirmed His plan to send Babylonian “heathens” to invade “the more righteous” nation of Judah! After more complaining, Habakkuk retires to the nearest watch tower and simply waits for the LORD’S reply.
It isn’t long in coming. The LORD methodically reminds Habakkuk that the future invasion is not a random act, but His judgement plan for the unrepentant sinful nation of Judah. Continue reading →
2How long, O LORD, must I call for help? But you do not listen!
“Violence is everywhere!” I cry, but you do not come to save.
3Must I forever see these evil deeds?
Why must I watch all this misery?
Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence.
I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight.
4The law has become paralyzed,
And there is no justice in the courts.
The wicked far outnumber the righteous,
So that justice has become perverted. ~ Habakkuk 1:2-4 NLT
Hello 612 – 589 BC! – a time in the history of ancient Judah when national sin spelled impending judgement by God. When a historically righteous nation becomes morally indistinguishable from its pagan neighbors, it’s – well, it gets God’s attention.
After much pleading and warning to His people to repent from sin; God plans to send destruction and slavery upon Judah. The prophet Habakkuk complains to God about the evils of Judean society plus God’s impending judgement at the hands of a pagan invader called Babylon. After all, how can God’s plan be just? On the surface of things, there is nothing but sin in both nations!
I ponder these things in our day as well. Our modern culture is rife with the same sins mentioned by Habakkuk:
Violence – There is virtually no community in our nation that does not have a problem with domestic violence, assault, murder, rape, and even infanticide whitewashed as “abortion”.
Evil Deeds – The purposeful acts of bullying, torture, theft, fraud, and cruelty, are just a few examples.
Misery – The widespread use of street drugs, divorce, homelessness, depression, and aimlessness abounds.
Destruction (War) – Our nation is known as the super cop of the globe. We war with everyone in the name of peace.
Discontent – Reality TV shows are a gruesome example of elevating family bickering and fighting.
Moral Paralysis – Where is God’s Church? Sadly, asleep. There is a huge price to pay, Church!
Court Injustice – Time after time we see judges who give light sentences for heinous crimes. Repeat offenders only escalate the severity of their crimes, i.e. serial or mass murders, school shootings, or human trafficking, .
Righteous Minority – Back to the Church: it used to be known as the silent majority. Now it is only a voiceless minority while elected officials scream obscenities about our President, Christians, and Jews on the floor of Congress. Christians who stand up for faith in Jesus are being martyred all over the globe while mainstream media is silent. Recently bills have been introduced to make practicing Christianity illegal in our country. Where is God’s Church?
Perverted Justice – Social norms have flipped. What used to be called right is now wrong. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
The LORD‘s reply is found in verses 5 – 11 and is a scary descriptive of the conquering Babylon but noticeably God only confirms that,
YES! He is sending this murderous enemy to conquer Judah.
AND YES! Babylon is cruel, violent, destructive, haughty, and pagan.
Very bad news for Judah. Habakkuk’s reaction is similar to anyone looking at such a desolate future. He complains again to God.
“Surely, LORD, you do not intend to wipe us out?” ~ verse 12 paraphrased.
Ah, the LORD has more to say about this. Until then, God bless your week and Thank you for following
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