A lesson from King Manasseh

by Royce Frederick (via) GospelTeacher.org

…press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14

              KING MANASSEH

Manasseh of Judah
Preceded by
Hezekiah
King of Judah
Coregency: 697 – 687 BC
Sole reign: 687 – 643 BC
Succeeded by
Amon

(Chart from Wikipedia)

Manasseh, son of Hezekiah, began reigning as king over Judah about 690 B.C., when he was only twelve years old. Generally, such a young boy would not be ready for such power and responsibility. Manasseh’s grandson, Josiah, who was only eight years old when he became king, was a very good king. But Manasseh did not choose the path of wisdom and righteousness.

Manasseh's idolatry

Manasseh reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. Most of those years were filled with great wickedness. “And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel … Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than the nations whom the Lord had destroyed before the children of Israel” (2 Kings 21:2, 9). He “rebuilt the high places [places for worshipping false gods] which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; he raised up altars for Baal, and made a wooden image, as Ahab king of Israel had done; and he worshiped all the host of heaven and served them … Also he made his son pass through the fire, practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft, and consulted spiritists and mediums. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger. He even set a carved image of Asherah that he had made …” in the temple in Jerusalem (2 Kings 21:3, 6-7). All of these were clear violations of the Law of Moses.

In addition to forsaking the worship of the living God, he was extremely cruel to his own people. “Moreover Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another, besides his sin with which he made Judah sin, in doing evil in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kings 21:16).

"And I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down" (2 Kings 21:13)

Manasseh’s wickedness was a major reason for the eventual destruction of Judah. “Because Manasseh king of Judah has done these abominations … 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 … I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down’” (2 Kings 21:11-13).

However, the record of Manasseh’s funeral in 2 Kings 21:18 appears peaceful: “So Manasseh rested with his fathers, and was buried in the garden of his own house, in the garden of Uzza. Then his son Amon reigned in his place” (2 Kings 21:18).

The Bible also mentions Manasseh’s repentance. Did he repent after his death? No. That is not possible, for “… it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Each person lives only one time on the earth. When we die, all opportunities for repentance and salvation are gone. We must make our choice in this life.

The story of Manasseh’s repentance is not recorded in 2 Kings, but in 2 Chronicles. “And the Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they would not listen. Therefore the Lord brought upon them the captains of the army of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze fetters, and carried him off to Babylon” (2 Chronicles 33:10-11). The Assyrians often used hooks through the noses of their captives to pull them along.

During his captivity and torture in the city of Babylon, Manasseh learned very well a lesson which his ancestor, Solomon, had written: “… the way of the unfaithful is hard” (Proverbs 13:15). “Now when he was in affliction, he implored the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed to Him; and He received his entreaty, heard his supplication, and brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God” (2 Chronicles 33:12-13).

Manasseh went to work trying to make things right. He built the outer wall of the city of David and put valiant captains in all the fortified cities of Judah (verse 14). He took away the foreign gods, removed the idol from the Lord’s temple, and tore down the altars he had built in Jerusalem (verse 15). “He also repaired the altar of the Lord, sacrificed peace offerings and thank offerings on it, and commanded Judah to serve the Lord God of Israel” (verse 16). These are the fruits of true repentance!

Manasseh truly turned his life around! But we need to soberly notice that he was never able to UNDO all the damage he had done. Part of that is seen in his son Amon, who followed his father’s wickedness, not his reform. Had Amon witnessed the wicked life of his father during the tender years of his youth? “Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. But he did evil in the sight of the Lord, as his father Manasseh had done; for Amon sacrificed to all the carved images which his father Manasseh had made, and served them. And he did not humble himself before the Lord, as his father Manasseh had humbled himself; but Amon trespassed more and more” (2 Chronicles 33:21-23).

Another part of the lasting damage is seen in the nation. The kingdom of Judah did not collapse immediately, but the foundation of the kingdom was beyond repair. Jeremiah wrote, “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Though Moses and Samuel stood before Me, yet My mind could not be favorable toward this people. Cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth … I will hand them over to trouble to all kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, for what he did in Jerusalem’” (Jeremiah 15:1, 4). Judah and Jerusalem finally fell in 586 B.C. Truly, “… one sinner destroys much good” (Ecclesiastes 9:18).

Actions have consequences. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” (Galatians 6:7-8). The law of sowing and reaping involves the physical, mental, social, and spiritual parts of life. And it involves all of the people whom we influence along the way. Very often, the people we influence the most are those who are most dear to us.

How sad it is when anyone continues in sin. The lesson we need to learn from Manasseh is NOT permanent guilt and unbearable regret. When a person hears the gospel, believes, repents of his sins, confesses his faith in Christ, and is baptized into Christ for the remission of sins, ALL of his sins are washed away by the blood of Christ (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; 8:35-39; 22:16; Galatians 3:26-27). The Lord is ready to cleanse even the most defiled. “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). “… I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all long-suffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life” (1 Timothy 1:13-16).

The lesson is this: we must not delay obeying the Lord! The cost is too high–for ourselves and others. “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, ‘I have no pleasure in them’” (Ecclesiastes 12:1). We cannot undo all of the results of our sins. But we can prevent more damage and regrets. We need to surrender to the will of God today, then always look forward and “press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

Repentance is always an option. It’s never too late (via Kevin DeYoung)

from thegospelcoalition.org website-Kings of Judah: Manasseh’s Metanoia

2 Chronicles 33:1-25

He prayed to him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea… (v. 13a)

Change is hard. We all make goals we don’t meet–exercise more, eat less, have a quite time, turn off the t.v. Sinful habits are especially hard to change: pornography, gossip, unforgiveness. Repentance is hard work. It means more than regret or embarrassment for our mistakes. Repentances means sorrow for sin, confession of sin, and turning from sin. Repentance means metanoia, the Greek word for change of mind or direction.

Manasseh was a bad king, probably the worst king Judah has ever had, at least the worst king who ruled long enough to do the most worst things. Most of Manasseh’s reign was positively wicked. But toward the end of his life, the Lord broke his pride. Manessah prayed to the Lord and the Lord heard his prayer. Manesseh was a changed man, who changed his actions and changed the kingdom.

Repentance is always an option. It’s never too late. Granted, Manasseh’s previous wickedness could not all be undone. He was still known as a bad king. But don’t miss the two miracles of this story.  One, Manasseh changed after years of wickedness. Two, God forgave. Come to Jesus and keep coming back. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Read a more in depth article  about Manasseh here at GospelTeacher.org

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Gabi Lupescu – Avem o imagine idilica si utopica despre familiile crestine

Veti gasi mai multe resurse pentru familie aici la PAGINA FAMILIEI

– Este cu adevarat familia crestina in criza ?

Se pare ca avem o imagine idilica si utopica despre familiile crestine: daca vedem tineri ( sau mai putin tineri ) casatorindu-se in fata altarului, in prezenta bisericii si cerand binecuvantarea lui Dumnezeu la inceput de drum, avem impresia ca totul ar trebui sa mearga ca pe roate. Daca ne-am intemeiat un camin in biserica, credem ca acest camin e…ste un fel de zona interzisa pentru diavol, fiind feriti de o multime de probleme pe care le vedem in jurul nostru. Sa fie chiar asa ?
Cand vedem barbati imbracati in costume la patru ace, alaturi de sotiile lor elegante si de copiii care ii insotesc la serviciile divine, toate par in regula. Uneori insa ( in ultima vreme din ce in ce mai des ) apar surprize. Aflam, ca un trasnet cazut din cer, ca o familie respectabila din biserica , pe care o credeam unita si avand o temelie solida, este in pericol sa se destrame. Foarte grabiti, ca de obicei, le punem si eticheta: “E clar ! Au fost ipocriti. Au jucat doar o piesa de teatru.”
Cand o familie, despre care credeam ca este un model in biserica si societate, e pe cale de destramare, sa fie vorba de ipocrizie ? Oare cei doi nu au fost sinceri cand au venit in fata altarului pentru a cere binecuvantarea si ocrotirea lui Dumnezeu?
Trist, dar adevarat! Sinceritatea nu este suficienta pentru reusita unei casnicii. Ea este o conditie necesara, dar nu si suficienta pentru ca o familie sa reziste tuturor vicisitudinilor vietii.
De la intrarea pacatului in lumea noastra, ne aflam intr-un razboi pe viata si pe moarte intre bine si rau, intre Christos si Satana. Si, ca in orice razboi, unii sunt victoriosi, altii supravietuiesc cu rani grave, iar altii pier. Cartea Apocalipsei ne prezinta o imagine care ar trebui sa ne puna serios pe ganduri, legat de aceasta mare lupta dintre bine si rau, in care, fie ca vrem, fie ca nu vrem, suntem si noi angrenati:
“…Vai de voi, pamant si mare ! Caci diavolul s-a coborat la voi cuprins de o manie mare, fiindca stie ca are putina vreme.” Apocalipsa 12, 12
Ce inseamna ca diavolul s-a coborat pe pamant cuprins de o manie mare ? Oare el e maniat pe scoarta terestra, pe marile si oceanele lumii ? Are el vreo rafuiala cu formele de relief, cu speciile de animale sau soiurile de plante ? Cu siguranta ca nu ! Mania lui are o tinta precisa: omul si tot ce e legat de el. Si pentru ca cel mai intim resort al existentei omenesti este viata lui de camin, aici tinteste in primul rand mania diavolului. Daca suntem biruiti aici, in viata de familie, Satana stie ca nu mai avem nevoie de o alta lovitura.
Oare de ce uraste Satana atat de mult familia ? Citind raportul biblic al Genezei, intelegem ca atunci cand omul cazut in pacat si a trebuit sa paraseasca Edenul, Creatorul i-a ingaduit sa ia cu el cel putin trei mari binecuvantari, care sa-l insoteasca pe parcursul vietii lui efemere: sabatul, casatoria si munca. Aceste trei mari binecuvantari aveau menirea sa usureze viata scurta si plina de truda a omului pe acest pamant. Daca omul ar fi apreciat aceste dovezi ale harului divin, lumea noastra ar fi aratat cu totul altfel. Odihna sabatului, tihna unui camin fericit si roadele aducatoare de satisfactii ale unei munci utile- iata trei comori apartinand lumii de dincolo de istorie a pacatului- o lume a Paradisului. Gustand din aceste binecuvantari, omul ar trebui sa-si aduca permanent aminte de Edenul pierdut si, mai ales, de Edenul cel nou fagaduit de Dumnezeu tuturor celor mantuiti.
Insa aceste trei comori edenice nu ne reamintesc doar noua, oamenilor, de unde venim si incotro mergem. Ele ii amintesc si lui Satana de fericirea pe care el insusi a trait-o inainte de revolta si alungarea sa din cer. Amintirea a ceea ce a fost si a pierdut, precum si perspectiva ca omul sa-i ia locul in locuintele ceresti definitiv pierdute pentru el, il umplu pe Satana de o manie de nedescris. Si pentru ca vulcanul urii nu poate ramane sub tensiune prea mult timp, el e gata sa-si reverse torentele spre acele caminuri fericite …care-i aduc aminte de ceea ce el insusi a pierdut pentru totdeauna.

Asadar suntem in plin razboi ! Un razboi despre care apostolul Pavel scrie:
“Caci noi n-avem de luptat impotriva carnii si sangelui, ci impotriva capeteniilor, impotriva domniilor, impotriva stapanitorilor intunericului acestui veac, impotriva duhurilor rautatii care sunt in locurile ceresti.” Efeseni 6, 12
Care sunt cateva din problemele unei familii crestine?
Probabil ca cele mai multe probleme intr-o familie de crestini nu sunt legate de violenta, de batai, injuraturi, alcoolism sau abandon familial, asa cum se intampla in cazul celor mai multe familii necrestine.Si acestea pot exista, din nefericire, insa ele nu predomina.
Problemele caminului pot aparea de la lucruri cat se poate de marunte:

  • – Un cuvant rostit din neatentie care poate rani profund si pentru mult timp persoana iubita. Doar un singur cuvant… Dar sa nu uitam ca orice cuvant este o forta: fie spre bie, fie spre rau.
  • – Neintelegeri de ordin financiar. Unul vede ca fiind prioritar un anumit lucru, in timp ce celalalt vede un alt lucru ca fiind urgent de realizat. De obicei, sotul vede masina ca fiind o prioritate pe lista cumparaturilor , in timp ce sotia vede mobila ca avand intaietate pe lista planurilor de viitor.
  • – Mici defecte de caracter, de care nu ducem lipsa niciunul dintre noi, dar pe care le vedem cel mai bine la cel de langa noi. Dupa ce le inventariem, facem adesea greseala de a incerca sa le inlaturam , uitand ca lucrarea aceasta nu ne apartine noua, ci Duhului lui Dumnezeu.
  • – Neintelegeri legate de preferinte. Unul ar dori ca dormitorul sa fie zugravit in alb, in timp ce celalalt doreste sa-l zugraveasca in galben. Lipsa intelegerii fata de dorintele partenerului de viata poate provoca, in timp, fisuri serioase in unitatea caminului.
  • – Amestecul parintilor in viata de cuplu a fost si va fi intotdeauna o cauza majora a multor tensiuni si esecuri ale caminurilor crestine.
  • – Lipsa unei viziuni comune cu privire la educatia copiilor poate fi si ea cauza unor tulburari nedorite in camin. Daca unul din parinti crede ca trebuie aplicata o pedeapsa anumita copilului, pentru indreptare, iar celalalt se opune, insusi copilul va fi derutat, nestiind care din parinti are dreptate. Aceasta greseala frecventa in educarea copiilor creaza rupturi seriose nu doar intre parinti, dar si intre parinti si copii. Aceastia din urma vor avea tendinta de a-l iubi pe parintele mai tolerant, in timp ce parintele mai sever va fi privit cu rezerva.

Desigur, lista poate continua. Si nu cu lucruri deosebit de grave, ci cu lucruri aparent neinsemnate, dar care, daca nu sunt tratate cu seriozitate si rugaciune, pot submina fericirea si stabilitatea caminului. Faptul ca exista tot felul de probleme care ameninta fericirea caminurilor noastre nu este o noutate pentru nimeni. Importante sunt insa solutiile pentru ale depasi.

Da, solutii exista ! Trebuie numai sa le cautam si, dupa ce Tatal ceresc ni le descopera… trebuie , mai ales , sa le punem in practica.

In Scriptura exista multe exemple ale celor care au trait in zile de declin moral si spiritual… si totusi au crescut cu succes o familie pentru Dumnezeu – asemenea lui Metusala, Enoh, Noe, Avraam, Caleb, Isaia, etc.

In acelasi timp au existat multi altii care, cu toate ca erau la fel de credinciosi Domnului… au avut probleme cu familiile lor. Daca acestea nu ne arata altceva, ele ne arata in mod clar faptul ca mintuirea si harul lui Dumnezeu nu „curg prin singe” (nu se mostenesc), ci trebuie sa fie primite de fiecare persoana din cadrul familiei, drept rezultat al convingerii si credintei personale.

Dupa ce am spus acestea din Scripturi, exista sfatul ca este important pentru credinciosi sa caute sa-L cinsteasca pe Domnul in viata lor de familie !!! … si noi ar trebui sa luam in considerare acest sfat.

Deci, datoria noastra, in calitate de credinciosi, este sa traim credinciosi in cadrul acestui sfat, iar daca Dumnezeu are placerea sa ne binecuvinteze familiile… atunci trebuie sa marturisim smeriti inaintea Lui… ca totul este din harul Sau !. Marire Domnului Dumnezeu !. Asa sa fie.

 

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