Second Kings 21 Commentary
King Manasseh of Judah is known for his extreme wickedness. He sacrificed his own son in the fire, practiced divination, sought omens, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord, arousing his anger. Consequently, the LORD pronounced on Judah the same sentence as on Israel.
From this moment, the nation is moving with a rope around its neck. We are not surprised. We are however sobered by the words of the LORD to a nation that had constantly lived in rebellion. A man’s sin does affect the LORD. And there are consequences.
The holiness of the LORD is such that no unclean thing stays in His presence. Israel has been unclean from the very beginning. Action must be taken. Divine justice comes into play. Yet this chapter is highlighted by the mourning God. Israel is gone. Judah is also going. The two faces of the LORD come to the fore.
And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.” Exodus 34 verses 6 and 7.
We have seen countless moments of rebellion. This study has taken us through many moments of sin by the nation of Israel. We owe it to the compassions of the LORD that we can still talk about Israel today.
You would wish an individual’s life is different. When history is written, will people read about a steady walk with the LORD? Manasseh’s narrative is very different. He has set a time bomb right in his own bedroom. He does nothing about it; neither does his son Amon who succeeded him on the throne. Manasseh’s grandson named Josiah was a godly king but Judah had already exhausted the patience of the LORD. We shall read about Josiah in the next chapter.
Manasseh gives us a very good example of faithlessness. He took the carved Asherah pole he had made and put it in the temple. We may want to look at our own practices, and consider if we haven’t imported ungodly practices into the house of the LORD. The Manasseh spirit says one can still worship the LORD while at the same time entertaining all sorts of idols.
The LORD, whose name is Jealous says no. I will not share my glory with another. This is what we have known. The saint is warned.
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