2 Kings 21:1-18 – Goodness is Gone Again

Read 2 Kings 21:1-18

broken mask, contemplation

We always hope that our children grow up to become faithful, living fulfilling lives doing exactly what God designed them to do. Hezekiah would probably not be thrilled with how his son turned out. Granted, taking over as king at the tender age of 12 was probably quite a challenge. I can’t even imagine!

It’s amazing to see how all the good Hezekiah did during his reign could be so easily demolished by the next king. Was poor Manasseh that weak to have been lured by evil even worse than it was in the people God drove from the lands originally?

Didn’t your heart just break at the rapid decline? After all the good Hezekiah had done. I feel sorry for the people caught in the middle. You know there were those who were devoted to God. Now they were seeing idols pop up everywhere, even in the holy temple. That was supposed to be holy ground. Jesus would years later also encounter a temple that had been overtaken for purposes not ordained by God.

Manasseh wasn’t just bringing back idols and worshipping anything BUT the Lord. He was murdering innocent people and causing others to do sinful things. I’m guessing the fear factor was high for those who did want to stay to true to the LORD. It even sounds like some of them were forced in some way to sin.

God was not impressed with this behavior either. “So this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I will bring such disaster on Jerusalem and Judah that the ears of those who hear about it will tingle with horror.” Because Manasseh’s actions were so far skewed away from God’s mercy, desperate measures were set in motion. The “horror” hinted at would soon befall Judah and, in particular, Jerusalem.

Why do I feel like we are reliving this same pattern over and over. Not only in the history of Israel and Judah, but in our own day. There are plenty of people in leadership around the world who are far from God. These leaders are causing their own people to do horrific things to other humans and to the environment. It seems like those who are trying to make a difference are only shut down.

Why can’t we learn from the mistakes of those who have gone before us? Why can’t we leave GOOD alone? If we’re not sure that something is good “enough” we should pray about it. Simply ask God to reveal his perfect will (which is certainly better than good). We get into trouble when we think our way is better than God’s way.

Manasseh obviously thought that way, as did all the evil kings we’ve been reading about. Throughout history, we can see all sorts of examples of bad choices. God allows bad choices, but he certainly doesn’t like doing it.

Are you building up idols or tearing them down? That is, are you really passionate about something that is distracting you from spending time with God, or are you clearing away the manipulative thoughts that distract you? Take some time to reflect on this.

praying hands looking up

Let’s pray …
Lord, thank you for loving me even when I am looking the other way. Please forgive me for those times when I let myself get distracted from you and how important you are to me. There are so many messages today misleading people from the truth. Use my voice to help you be heard above the noise. I am ready to be used by you. Please guide my steps. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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