2 Chronicles 33 & Revelation 19

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2 Chronicles 33

    Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel. For he rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had broken down, and he erected altars to the Baals, and made Asheroth, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, “In Jerusalem shall my name be forever.” And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. And he burned his sons as an offering in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, and used fortune-telling and omens and sorcery, and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger. And the carved image of the idol that he had made he set in the house of God, of which God said to David and to Solomon his son, “In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my name forever, and I will no more remove the foot of Israel from the land that I appointed for your fathers, if only they will be careful to do all that I have commanded them, all the law, the statutes, and the rules given through Moses.” Manasseh led Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem astray, to do more evil than the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the people of Israel.

    The LORD spoke to Manasseh and to his people, but they paid no attention. Therefore the LORD brought upon them the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria, who captured Manasseh with hooks and bound him with chains of bronze and brought him to Babylon. And when he was in distress, he entreated the favor of the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. He prayed to him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God.

    Afterward he built an outer wall for the city of David west of Gihon, in the valley, and for the entrance into the Fish Gate, and carried it around Ophel, and raised it to a very great height. He also put commanders of the army in all the fortified cities in Judah. And he took away the foreign gods and the idol from the house of the LORD, and all the altars that he had built on the mountain of the house of the LORD and in Jerusalem, and he threw them outside of the city. He also restored the altar of the LORD and offered on it sacrifices of peace offerings and of thanksgiving, and he commanded Judah to serve the LORD, the God of Israel. Nevertheless, the people still sacrificed at the high places, but only to the LORD their God.

    Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and his prayer to his God, and the words of the seers who spoke to him in the name of the LORD, the God of Israel, behold, they are in the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. And his prayer, and how God was moved by his entreaty, and all his sin and his faithlessness, and the sites on which he built high places and set up the Asherim and the images, before he humbled himself, behold, they are written in the Chronicles of the Seers. So Manasseh slept with his fathers, and they buried him in his house, and Amon his son reigned in his place.

    Amon was twenty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, as Manasseh his father had done. Amon sacrificed to all the images that Manasseh his father had made, and served them. And he did not humble himself before the LORD, as Manasseh his father had humbled himself, but this Amon incurred guilt more and more. And his servants conspired against him and put him to death in his house. But the people of the land struck down all those who had conspired against King Amon. And the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his place.

(2 Chronicles 33 ESV)

Revelation 19

    After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out,

    “Hallelujah!
    Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,
        for his judgments are true and just;
    for he has judged the great prostitute
        who corrupted the earth with her immorality,
    and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”
    
        Once more they cried out,

    “Hallelujah!
    The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”
    
        And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” And from the throne came a voice saying,

    “Praise our God,
        all you his servants,
    you who fear him,
        small and great.”
    
        Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,

    “Hallelujah!
    For the Lord our God
        the Almighty reigns.
    Let us rejoice and exult
        and give him the glory,
    for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
        and his Bride has made herself ready;
    it was granted her to clothe herself
        with fine linen, bright and pure”—
    
        for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

    And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

    Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

    Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.

(Revelation 19 ESV)

Something to Consider

2 Chronicles 33: A man credited with bringing about the downfall and exile of an entire nation (2 Kings 21) is granted grace and mercy from our patient God. Manasseh's idolatry and immorality was so evil that child sacrifice and sorcery became some of his most prominent religious practices. Yet, instead of wiping him out with His wrath, God in His mercy gives Manasseh the gracious gift of suffering and brokenness. Sometimes we need to be hurt in order to be truly healed.

Imprisoned and in isolation, Manasseh couldn't help but contemplate his condition and what had most likely caused it. Who knows what kind of grief, guilt and pain he must have felt as he considered the life he had lived and the countless lives he had misleaded. As Manasseh humbles himself greatly under the crushing weight of his own depravity, the Lord hears his honest plea for mercy and offers him deliverance. The king who was arguably the most wicked king that Judah had ever seen, the king who was credited with bringing about the downfall of a nation, was also the king who had the longest reign in Judah's history. God's loving patience provides salvation. 

And although God's patience brings salvation, His patience must never be assumed. For Manasseh's son found delight in the sins of his father's past and was executed after reigning merely two years as king. God will have mercy on whom He pleases, and God will have patience with whom He pleases. May our lives not require hurting in order to be humbled.