The White Astilbe looks like summer snow!
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. ~ Psalms 51:7 NKJV
The White Astilbe looks like summer snow!
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. ~ Psalms 51:7 NKJV
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!
Continuing on in 2 Chronicles Chapter 33:
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!!
Because of the wicked things Manasseh son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, did in Jerusalem, I will make my people an object of horror to all the kingdoms of the earth. ~Jeremiah 15:4 NLT
King Manasseh is described as a ruler who followed the pagan practices of the countries surrounding Judah.
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 …
Until then, thank you for following
“I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble, and He answered me. I called out to You from the land of the dead, and Lord, You heard me!” ~ Jonah 2:2 NLT
When people are at their lowest, God hears their cries to Him and saves them. This message of a benevolent God of love and mercy seems to resonate with most people. But His holiness also calls for judgement when necessary. So why do we linger in sinful misery before crying out to Him?
Let’s look at the prophet Jonah in the Bible. He refused to preach God’s message of salvation to the Assyrian people of Nineveh – a particularly evil, idolatrous, and violent capital of Mesopotamia (located in modern-day Turkey and Iraq).
“Nineveh was so large that it took three days to see it all”. ~Jonah 3:3 NLT
Imagine! It may have been the equivalent of Las Vegas – known today as Sin City; full of glittering neon lights and sinful attractions along with idolatry. Anyway, God had decided to judge the people of Nineveh for their sins. Our merciful Father in Heaven had, however, allowed them a way to escape judgement. They could repent within 40 days or be destroyed like Sodom and Gomorrah.
Jonah was having none of it. He evidently hated the Assyrians. As a consequence, it cost Jonah his life and almost cost the lives of his shipmates and an entire city of people. Oh, I shrink from the horrifying thought of what my actions cost others when I behave like Jonah!
And yet, the lesson continues …
Jonah eventually repented and God gave him a second chance.
“Then the Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach.” ~ Jonah 2:10 NLT
Jonah finally obeyed God. He went to Nineveh, and preached God’s Word.
“5The people of Nineveh believed God’s message, and from the greatest to the least, they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow. 10When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, He changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction He had threatened.” ~ Jonah 3:5,10 NLT
Happy ending, right? Jonah is resurrected from a watery grave; the ship and all it’s crew are saved from the storm and worship the one true God; and a whole city is also saved.
Wrong! Well, no doubt it was a joyful event for the people and animals of Nineveh. But Jonah was so angry he complained to God about (of all things) God’s mercy and compassion to sinners. See, Jonah was certain all along that if he preached to them, the people of Nineveh would repent. God would forgive them because of His benevolent nature, and forego their destruction … RATS! His worst fears were realized.
“Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.” ~ Jonah 4:3 NLT
Then God gently rebuked Jonah:
“4Is it right for you to be angry about this? 11But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?” ~ Jonah 4:4,11 NLT
That is the last Word given to us in the Book of Jonah. I rest upon God’s wisdom.
“Father, although we are worthy of judgement and destruction, today I glorify You for showing Your power to mankind in love, mercy and salvation instead of what we deserve. Thank you for the hope we have in Your gift of a new year 2019; to recognize Your willingness to give each of us another chance to be obedient to Your Word … Especially that we would realize that all men are equal in Your sight and deserve our love and respect. In the name of JESUS; ALPHA AND OMEGA; THE LAMB OF GOD WHO TAKES AWAY THE SINS OF THE WORLD, Amen!”
Thank you for following
Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep His commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in His ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy. ~ Deuteronomy 30:15-16 NLT
Follow the words of Jehovah God for blessings individually and nationally. Those who have gone before us knew that freedom is not free. They founded this nation based upon God’s Biblical laws; erected monuments to the Ten Commandments; raised up Christian churches with crosses on their steeples; and sent missionaries worldwide to spread the gospel. Tomorrow is more than just a day to have a cookout with family and friends.
TURN! Bow the knee. Pray, repent and believe in Jesus Christ as Savior!
Praise the Lord for the USA! Happy Independence Day! Be blessed.
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. ~2Chronicles 7:14 NIV
According to this verse of scripture, it is not necessary for unbelievers to repent of evil and turn to God in order for God to forgive their sin and heal their land of drought, locusts, or plagues (read preceding verse 13).
The often quoted biblical If my people verse is not a salvation message for individual unbelievers. Why would the unsaved bother praying to a God that they do not serve, or repent, or turn from sin? Truly, 2Chron 7:13-14 is a healing message from Almighty God to His own people – the believers of a nation! Are we American believers praying that others are repenting, praying, turning, or humbling themselves instead of ourselves?
What do you think?
“If my people” = Old Testament Hebrews New Testament Christians
This tells me that if the Christians of a nation repent of their own pride, sin, and hypocrisy, that God will hear, forgive, and heal their land. The whole population does not have to participate. However, God calls all nations including the U.S. to righteousness. I know that thousands of believers are praying for our nation daily.
But what are we praying?
My pastor told a personal story during his sermon last Sunday. Pastor was fishing and tossed his coffee dregs over the side of the boat into the lake. He watched as the coffee instantly disappeared into the waters of the lake and described the Holy Spirit as telling him,
“That coffee is your sin and this lake is My grace.”
The sermon topic was about the people of Nineveh and how the greatness of their sins had reached God in Heaven (Book of Jonah); yet God loved them in spite of their sin. God sent His servant, Jonah, to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh. The people did repent so God forgave them.
I hope that sharing my pastor’s personal testimony about the sufficiency of God’s grace encourages repentance in someone out there today. God loves us, and His mercy is so wondrously kind – He forgives “seventy times seven“.
“And the grace of our Master was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Messiah Yahshua.” ~ I Timothy 1:14 RSV