King Manasseh’s long reign goes to show us the immense patience of God
In the midst of king Hezekiah’s success and prosperity we find king Sennacherib of Assyria invading Judah, 2 Chronicles 32:1.
While doing all he could to save the city, king Hezekiah encouraged the people to know that the One who was stronger than all those who came against them was on their side, vs 2-8. He could have this confidence because his heart was right and his conscience clear, before the Lord! King Sennacherib talked about the God of Jerusalem as if he were one of the man-made gods of the nations of the earth.
So, King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz prayed about this and cried out to the Lord, vs 19,20. The Lord then sent a messenger and He wiped out all the soldiers, princes, and officers of the enemy and Sennacherib returned home humiliated!
Eventually he was killed by his own sons, vs 21.
After this incident, king Hezekiah continued to prosper greatly and was respected by all Nations, vs 23. However, after those days Hezekiah was stricken with a terminal illness, and when he prayed to the Lord, begging God to extend his life, the Lord healed him after giving him a sign to confirm the same, vs 22.
During this time when messengers from Babylon came to inquire about the miracle, Hezekiah was ungrateful; and he displayed a proud attitude, provoking God to be angry at him, vs 25. Subsequently, he repented and God graciously forgave him, vs 26-31!
Nevertheless, after his healing and a fifteen year extention given to his lifetime, he gave birth to a son named Manasseh, who turned out to be a very evil king, 2 Chronicles 33:1-10! Inspite of this, Manasseh reigned for 55 years, perhaps because God knew that after being severely disciplined by God, he would repent, which he eventually did, vs 11-17!
His son Amon did evil in God’s sight and did not repent of the same like his father did, and so his reign lasted only for 2 years, vs 22-24. His son Josiah came to the throne at the tender age of 8, and he reigned for 31 years, 2 Chronicles 34:1.
He was one of the best kings who sought to follow the Lord wholeheartedly, vs 2-13. It was during his reign that Hilkiah the priest found the law scroll which the Lord had given to Moses, and when Shapan the scribe read the same to the king, the king tore his clothes on learning how much they had deviated from obeying God’s law and about the destruction that was to follow, vs 14-19. However, because he displayed a sensitive spirit and humbled himself before God, on hearing those words; God assured him that the destruction would not come during his reign, vs 27,28.
King Josiah left no stone unturned to live in a manner that pleased God and encouraged Judah and Benjamin to do so too, vs 29,33. King Manasseh’s long reign goes to show us the immense patience of God towards evil sinners and his great desire to see them turn from their sin. He graciously and willingly forgives the penitent, no matter what the sin may be or for how long it continued! It also suggests that God permits such people to live so long only because he forsees that in the future they will indeed turn from their sin!
King Hezekiah’s life suggests that we could be doing many right things with an absolutely selfish motive! Further, pleading with God for an extension of our lives, apart from His will, can lead to problems for ourselves and others too, in the long run, as seen from the history of Hezekiah and Manasseh.
A clear conscience, like king Hezekiah had initially, helps us have a sincere faith that enables us to seek *God’s help instinctively, and pray aright, thus obtaining amazing victories while fighting the fiercest battles of life!
Finally, the best response of all, in view of God’s mercies, is to walk as King Josiah did, in humility and obedience, and thus become a blessing to many by serving the purpose of God in our generation! Amen.