2 Kings 21:1-16
Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem…
Two thoughts are brought before us by the reign of Manasseh. They are a striking contrast to one another.
I. THE POWER OF SIN.
1. We see how sin perpetuates itself. The deeds of Manasseh were just a repetition of the worst deeds of his predecessors. "He did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, after the abominations of the heathen." He built up again the high places. He made altars for Baal. He worshipped all the host of heaven. He made his son pass through the fire to Moloch. (What we have already said on these sins applies here.)
2. We see also the progressive power of s/n. There is a progress in sin from bad to worse. Manasseh imitated the sins of his predecessors. But he went further than any of them. "He built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord" (ver. 5). Worse than all, he set up a carved image, the idol that he had made, in the very temple of the living God. It is also stated that he shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem with blood from one end to the other (ver. 16). Let us beware of the beginnings of evil.
3. We see also the power of sin to harden men's hearts. We read in 2 Chronicles that "God spake to Manasseh and his people; but they would not hearken." How often God still speaks to men by his Word, by his providences, and yet sin has so hardened their hearts, that they pay no attention to his warnings, remonstrances, and appeals!
II. THE POWER OF PRAYER. There is no reference in this account of Manasseh to any prayer of his. And yet, strange though it may seem, prayer played an important part in Manasseh's history. When we turn to the summary of his life which is given in 2 Chronicles 33., we read (vers. 18, 19), "Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and his prayer unto his God, and the words of the seers that spake unto him in the name of the Lord God of Israel, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel. His prayer also, and how God was entreated of him, and all his sins, and his trespass... before he was humbled: behold, they are written among the sayings of the seers." Now, what was this prayer of Manasseh? It was simply a prayer for pardon. Observe how Manasseh learned to pray. For all his wickedness the Lord brought judgments upon him (vers. 10-15). He brought upon him and his people "the captains of the host of the King of Assyria, which took Manasseh prisoner, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon." It was then, in his extremity and calamity, that Manasseh learned to pray. "And when he was in affliction, he besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, 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" (2 Chronicles 33:12, 13). Often it is affliction and trial that first teach men to pray, to turn to God. We see here the power of penitent prayer. We see here that no one is too great a sinner to pray to God for mercy. Your past life may have been given up to sin. So was Manasseh's. You may have dishonored and disobeyed God. So did Manasseh. Yet he obtained mercy. The greatest, guiltiest sinner may get pardon at the cross. "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." - C.H.I.
Parallel VersesKJV: Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hephzibah.