Summary: 5th in the series "Revival in the Land." A look at the anti-revival of Manasseh and the tragedy of wasting opportunity to serve the Lord.
On Friday 14th April, 1999, Wall Street experienced its biggest one-day fall in history, ending a week in which US markets lost $2 trillion in value — the equivalent to Germany’s entire economy. Virtually all of the losses came in the Information Technology sector and what had been called the "dotcom bubble" became the "dotcom crash." Bill Gates saw his personal fortune drop $30 billion in a few hours. In the following months more than 430 Internet companies closed up shop and 100, 000 people lost their jobs. Oh how the mighty have fallen.
What’s the point? Things can change suddenly. Even when everything looks peachy they can go bad quickly as a result of carelessness or misconduct. Over the last few weeks we have been studying Hezekiah’s revival. In spite of a brief downturn as the result of pride, things were going well in the nation of Judah spiritually and materially under Hezekiah’s rule. God was responding to his people’s repentance and faithfulness with revival blessing.
This week we look at what happens when Hezekiah’s son Manasseh takes over the kingdom. And the picture is not good--we could call it anti-revival.
You might be thinking why look at this in a series on revival? The answer is because it’s a part of the story and it’s included for a reason. It’s a big flashing warning light to us: "don’t let this happen to you."
As I look at the story of Manasseh’s reign my response is primarily sadness, this is a sad chapter in Israel’s history and Manasseh’s is a sad life.
Transition: I’d like us to look at that life this morning and be cautioned as we are meant to be. The first thing that makes Manasseh’s reign sad is that he..
DEPARTED from the Faith of his Father
v. 3 He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had demolished; he also erected altars to the Baals and made Asherah poles. He bowed down to all the starry hosts and worshiped them.
You’ll remember If you’ve been here for most of this series that the high places are a recurring theme. Several promising times saw revival thwarted by the unwillingness of the kings and the people to tear down the high places. Finally in the reign of Hezekiah, they came down, we can only assume at great cost. Now upon Hezekiah’s death what does Mannaseh do? He not only allows them to be rebuilt, he apparently is one of the principal users. In fact he becomes involved in every imaginable idolatrous and occult practice including witchcraft and the sacrifice of his own son to idols. I’d say that’s a big departure and I’d say that’s pretty sad.
Perhaps you have been blessed with a Godly heritage. Be protective of it. It’s easy to look upon that heritage as old fashioned and belonging to another age, but our parents, spiritual and natural, learned at great cost that the high places were not to be trifled with. That you can’t live a life that’s pleasing to the Lord in isolation from the church, that you can’t just visit the enemy’s territory for entertainment occasionally, and that to try to do so leaves you vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy without a protective covering.
If you depart from the faith of your fathers you’re headed for destruction too, the second thing that’s sad about Manasseh’s reign is that he...
DEFILED the Temple of the Lord
vv. 4-5 He built altars in the temple of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, "My Name will remain in Jerusalem forever." In both courts of the temple of the LORD, he built altars to all the starry hosts.
The temple was God’s special place, set apart sanctified for him. Manasseh not only let idol worship take place on the hillsides, he brought it right into God’s special place.
In the New Testament were told that because of the work of Christ we ourselves have become the temple, in fact that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit.
I imagine that some of you would be offended if we brought the dumpster from outside and dumped it on this altar. Yet how often have we been guilty of letting worse filth into the real temple?
The third thing that makes Manasseh’s reign sad is that he...
DECEIVED the People of God
v. 9 But Manasseh led Judah and the people of Jerusalem astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the LORD had destroyed before the Israelites.
The people look to their leaders for instruction and example, In corrupting his own life, Manasseh was responsible also for the corruption of God’s people. 1 Cor 15:33, Bad company corrupts good morals.
ILLUSTRATION: Josiah Wedgwood, English maker of the famous Wedgwood pottery, was showing a nobleman through his factory one day. One of Wedgwood’s employees, a young boy, was accompanying them. The nobleman was profane and vulgar. At first, the boy was shocked by his irreverence; then he became fascinated by the man’s coarse jokes and laughed at them.