In our country we are surrounded by deceivers. We have a president who says he is a Christian, but supports distinctly non-Christian values. We are constantly being hit with laws that infringe upon our very right of “freedom of religion” – not freedom from religion, that is.
** “If a business provides a product or service to opposite-sex couples for their weddings, then it must provide same-sex couples the same product or service,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a statement.** He told The Seattle Times that he believes the state is trying to make an example of the flower shop. “This is about gay marriage, it’s not about a person being gay,” he told the newspaper. “She has a conscientious objection to homosexual marriage, not homosexuality. It violates her conscience.”
All in an effort to create a right for people. But is this right, right?
We have special civil liberty groups going around the country suing government officials (mayors, city council members, schools, etc) because someone puts up a nativity scene or because some kid brings a bible to school.
Some claims in court records, regarding kids bringing bibles to school or holding bible studies – include words like: – our First Amendment right provides for the “freedom FROM religion”. And it goes on from there.
At one time, there was a clear moral absolute. Adam and Eve got to experience it – then they were deceived in the garden. Another time there was clear moral absolutes, when Moses brought down the tablets and showed all those people – here is God’s Law. There were many others in our history, when people came together to celebrate what is right and good and true and morally centered.
There is a man named Hezekiah, who had ruled his people – for the most part fairly. He brought down statues of pagans, he helped his people recover and be blessed by God. Well, he had a son by the name of Manasseh who was going to set an example like no other.
2 Kings 20:21 and 2 Kings 21:1 -
At the age of 12 he became king and reigned 55 years, longer than any other king of Judah.
Manasseh’s reign was seen as unbridled evil. 2 Kings 21:2 – “he did evil in the sight of the Lord” and “according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord dispossessed before the sons of Israel”.
Manasseh did several things, but here is a list:
[A] "For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed" (2 Kings 21:3). He undid all of the religious reforms of his father. He reintroduced the very things that had caused the nation to stumble for generations.
[B] "and he erected altars for Baal and made an Asherah, as Ahab king of Israel had done, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them" (2 Kings 21:3). Manasseh obviously did not learn anything from the destruction of the Northern Kingdom. He did not take into consideration the fact that the house of Ahab experienced the judgment of God (2 Kings 9:6-10) for doing the very things he was doing in Judah. Manasseh desecrated the house of the Lord with altars and Asherah (2 Kings 21:4-5 and 2 Chronicles 33:7-8).
[C] Manasseh violated the law of God at every turn (see Leviticus 20:1-6). He "made his sons pass through the fire, practiced witchcraft and used divination, and dealt with mediums and spiritists" (2 Kings 21:6 and 2 Chronicles 33:6). Manasseh failed to learn from the judgment Ahaz suffered for doing the same things he was doing (see 2 Kings 16:1-4 and 2 Chronicles 28:1-4 for similar information on Ahaz).
[D] Manasseh "seduced" (2 Kings 21:9) and "misled Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem" (2 Chronicles 33:9) to sin against God (see also 2 Kings 21:11).
[E] In addition to leading the nation astray, "Manasseh shed very much innocent blood until he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another" (2 Kings 21:16). It is believed that among those killed by Manasseh were many of the prophets of God. Tradition says that Manasseh had Isaiah the prophet sawn in two with a woodcutting saw (see Hebrews 11:37).
He was eventually held accountable for the sins that he had committed – and the people of nation was also held accountable, because they followed along.
Do I have your attention yet? Maybe this will help:
2 Kings 21:10-15 - And the Lord spoke by His servants the prophets, saying, “Because Manasseh king of Judah has done these abominations (he has acted more wickedly than all the Amorites who were before him, and has also made Judah sin with his idols), therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Behold, I am bringing such calamity upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whoever hears of it, both his ears will tingle. And I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line of Samaria and the plummet of the house of Ahab; I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. So I will forsake the remnant of My inheritance and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become victims of plunder to all their enemies, because they have done evil in My sight, and have provoked Me to anger since the day their fathers came out of Egypt, even to this day.’”
Manasseh was hell bent on silencing everything that was good and true and right and moral. The problem he had was a heart issues. He had never given it over to God. He never even tried and he seduced others to follow his lead.
Paul reminds us, "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap" (Galatians 6:7).
Because Manasseh and the people of Judah turned a deaf ear to the Lord (2 Chronicles 33:10), God allowed the nation to be invaded by the Assyrians. Manasseh was captured and led away like an animal (the Assyrians put hooks through his nose and thus led him away) to Babylon (see also Psalm 32:9). While in captivity, Manasseh did not entreat Baal or any of the host of heaven or any mediums or spiritists. Instead, "he entreated the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers" (2 Chronicles 33:12). God finally had Manasseh's attention. The proud, rebellious, stiff-necked king was brought to his knees. Perhaps he acknowledged the attitude of the Psalmist (119:75), "I know, O Lord, that Thy judgments are righteous, And that in faithfulness Thou hast afflicted me." The Lord "was moved by his entreaty and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem to his kingdom" (2 Chronicles 33:13). All of this served to convince Manasseh that "the Lord was God" (2 Chronicles 33:13).
Upon returning to Jerusalem, Manasseh strengthened Jerusalem and Judah militarily (2 Chronicles 33:14). He also destroyed all of the idolatrous things he had instituted and tried to restore religious order to Judah (2 Chronicles 33:16), although the people continued to worship on the high places (2 Chronicles 33:17).
Manasseh’s son was just as corrupt. It wasn’t until the son of Amon, that things started to actually shift and his name was Josiah.
So, during the rule of the evil kings, people were all just jumping on the bandwagon. They were not concerned with what God thought, but only what others thought. It wasn’t until Josiah, that a ruler was not swayed from following God and became a good role model for his nation. Josiah "And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord" (2 Kings 22:2).