I have often observed that some Christians sow an offering for something other than spiritual bread. They are taught to sow for a new house, new car, new clothes, or a better job. I believe, however, we receive our greatest rewards when we simply put the Kingdom of God first and allow GOD to add to us what we need, when we need it (Mathew 6:33). ~ Pastor Perry Stone, Jr., Voice of Evangelism
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 …
Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written,
“Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in doing so you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day, in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.”
And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.
Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.
Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them. ~ Luke 2:8-20 NKJV
As I am telling you now.
“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength He exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated Him (Christ) at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under His (Christ’s) feet and appointed Him (Christ) to be head over everything for the church, which is His (Christ’s) body, the fullness of Him (Christ) who fills everything in every way. ~Ephesians 1:17-23 NIV (Emphasis added)
This God-inspired prayer sent by the Apostle Paul via Tychicus in his letter to the church in Ephesus (founded in 53 A.D.) was written while Paul was a prisoner in Rome. Even though Paul was living in the valley of death, these verses are a powerful testimony of his love for brothers and sisters in Christ. He had not lost his priority of encouraging believers to live for Christ while here on earth. My heart is to constantly lift up, encourage, and give thanks for the wealth of God’s kingdom here on earth – true believers. I have much to learn in this regard. Glory to God! The Holy Spirit is my Patient and Wise Teacher – ever and always.
All day long have I toiled and striven; but now in the stillness of heart and in the clear light of Thine eternity, I would ponder the pattern my life has been weaving. –John Baillie
Reflection on the past ten months of blogging finds me still toiling and striving. Hence, the re-posting of this quote. If my life is a cloth, what pattern have I been weaving?
What will the clear light of God’s eternity reveal about the threads of my life?
Well, I have been weaving for a long time now, so the entire pattern of my life is just too much for one post. How about just a swatch?
Drilling down on last week; it began with disaster. I strove to keep pace with shifting circumstances. I toiled to solve problems in my own strength (being a sucker for challenges). Not willing to let approaching winter snows cover all the falling leaves in the yard, hours were spent in futile attempts at raking, bagging and shredding every last one for the compost heap. Within three days I was down with a headache. God knows how to get my attention. I was beginning to feel like King Hezekiah in Isaiah 38:12 ~
Like a shepherd’s tent my house has been pulled down and taken from me. Like a weaver I have rolled up my life, and he has cut me off from the loom; day and night you made an end of me.
But, our Father is indeed good all the time. The wind blew hard and then our first snow dusted the landscape. Thank you, Lord! The last of the leaves blew only He knows where and the cares of life eased up a bit. I came to my senses and gave up wrestling with life’s dilemmas. I did what I know I should always do and turned it all over to Him. He is the Master Weaver and His pattern is so perfect, so divinely stunning; my efforts will never stand the clear light of His eternity.
By week’s end, every problem that I viewed as disastrous God transformed into a miracle. Getting the leaves raked was never God’s priority – only mine. Toiling at chores was not what was needed last week. Tempers had flared at the beginning of the week and left me with a sad heart for those involved. I prayed for an opportunity to encourage someone to do the right thing and God answered my prayer with a miracle. Family tensions melted into forgiveness. Broken stuff got fixed. My pattern swatch for the week was replaced by the one Jesus wove. Giving Him glory, life with Him at the center brings all the scattered threads together.
When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “I am the Light of the world. Whosoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the Light of Life.” ~John 8:12 NIV
Today I am praising my Father in Heaven for weaving a blanket of pure linen that covers the mistakes and sin in my life. He doesn’t see my pattern anymore – only the shed blood of His Son, Jesus. When Jesus sacrificed Himself for me, He made sure that His pattern does not need to be pondered. It WILL stand in His clear light of eternity.