Learning the Hard Way

Key Verse: “And prayed unto him: and he was entreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God.”
—II Chronicles 33:13

Lesson Scripture:
II Chronicles 33:1-13

KING HEZEKIAH, Manasseh’s father, was a good king in Judah, instituting many reforms and eliminating the worship of Baal. His son reversed the reforms and brought back the worship of Baal. Furthermore, he was an evil king. As the scriptures tell of him, “Manasseh … did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel. For he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down, and he reared up altars for Baalim, and made groves, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them.”—II Chron. 33:1-3

He also had the audacity to set up altars for worship of Baal in the Temple and the court of the Temple and set up a carved image in the Temple. (II Chron. 33:7) “He caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger.” (II Chron. 33:6) His consultations with the Adversary and the demons shows how thoroughly he was a tool of the Adversary. His desecration of the Temple was abominable.

“Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen, whom the Lord had destroyed before the children of Israel.” (vs. 9) Such evil was not to go unpunished. We read, “The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. So the Lord brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon.” (II Chron. 33:10,11; New International Version). In Manasseh’s distress he turned to God and humbled himself greatly. He entreated God who restored him to his kingdom and back to Jerusalem. His repentance was genuine and he started to undo all the wicked things he had done. “He took away the strange gods, and the idol out of house of the Lord, and all the altars that he had built in the mount of the house of the Lord, … and cast them out of the city.”—vs. 15

When Manasseh was restored, “Then Manasseh knew that the Lord he was God.” (vs. 13) This would imply that his knowledge of God was lacking at the time he performed his evil deeds. This lesson shows the great mercy and benevolence of God, our Father. As Jesus testified of him, “He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” (Luke 6:35) It is God’s plan to give all mankind a knowledge of himself. As the Apostle Paul has said of him, “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4) It is God’s plan to have all men receive an opportunity to do righteously as prophesied by Isaiah, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”—Isa. 55:7

Dawn Bible Students Association
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