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Week 4 April 2024, Devotion Part 2

He said, “What have they seen in your house?”  2 Kings 20:15

Hezekiah wept and pleaded to be spared, reminding God of his good deeds. Isaiah had just reached the middle court on his way out when the word of the Lord came to him, “Turn back, and say to Hezekiah… ‘I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you….’” Babylon sent envoys with a gift to honor the king’s recovery. After their visit, Isaiah paid a call and asked, “What have they seen in your house?” Homage to God’s mercy, perhaps? Humility of heart befitting His majesty? Oops! How could that sort of thing slip the king’s mind? He had proudly showed off his treasure house. The delighted spies returned home rewarded; at the time of the Babylonian invasion the raiders would locate the fabled loot with ease. When informed of his stupidity and the evil that would come on the nation, Hezekiah (the closet egotist) shrugged it off by saying, “Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?”

As icing on the cake, it seemed, the good king got his desired heir. Manasseh came to Judah’s throne when he was twelve and ruled for fifty-five years. He threw out all of his father’s reforms; vigorously promoted Baal worship; defiled the temple with pagan altars; practiced soothsaying and augury; dealt with mediums and with wizards; and burned his son as an offering. Manasseh seduced the nation “to do more evil than the nations had done whom the LORD destroyed before the people of Israel.”  {Part 2 of 2)

Comment: Did we just throw Israel’s best king ever under the bus? What if the closet egotist and the sadly clueless person in you or me were given such short shrift?  If anyone deserved to die from “vehicular manslaughter” – metaphorically and colloquially speaking – it was surely his son. Oddly, God did not throw evil Manasseh under the bus, but gave him a royal ride to Babylon. The fed-up king of Assyria had ordered him captured and brought there in bronze chains. With hooks placed through his nostrils – a sign of his high status – the proud king of Judah was a sorry sight. Amazingly, the distress of his captivity caused a humbled Manasseh to throw himself at God’s feet. “He prayed to him, and God received his entreaty and heard his supplication and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom…” (2 Chronicles 33:13). The penitent son of Hezekiah ended up as a builder and reformer in the manner of his illustrious father. His 22-year-old son Amon, evil to the core, corrupted Judah for 2 years and was murdered by his servants.  Manasseh’s grandson Josiah ascended the throne when he was 8 and proved himself a godly and humble king.  David, the king most after God’s own heart, had to flee for his life from his son Absalom.  Saul, the very first monarch, always “mad” in one form or another, produced son Jonathan who renounced his rights of succession in favor of his dearest friend, David.  Is the reader stressed out by now to the point of breathing a sigh of relief that the 21st century dysfunctional America has term limits and family therapists in place?  Hebrews 13:8 asserts that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”  Calvary qualifies Him more than ever to still offer Manasseh-plus-size forgiveness, but also to throw “evildoers” under the bus who are willfully refusing to “know” Him (Matthew 7:23).  2 Kings 20


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