WHEN THE WICKED RULE
A leader needs to be competent—that is important. He or she must also have character—that is indispensable. The quality of a leader is critical. As John Maxwell likes to put it, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” Leaders influence others—and their most important influence is in the moral realm. They will direct us toward good or evil, with its attendant blessing or judgment. “When the righteous flourish, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, people groan.” (Proverbs 29:2) When the wicked rule, a nation faces deadly peril. We observe this tragedy as it unfolds in our text today. Here is the story of a wicked king named Manasseh.
We see first THE EVIL THAT HE DID documented in detail in verses one through nine. Remember that his father was the godly Hezekiah, who had done so much good to elevate the spiritual state of the Jews. His son, however, turned the people from their inclination toward heaven, to an orientation toward hell. He undid all the good that his father had done—and worse—led them farther into sin than they had ever been before.
MANASSEH EMULATED THE HEATHEN IN HIS EVIL WAYS.
“He did what was evil in the Lord's sight, imitating the detestable practices of the nations that the Lord had dispossessed before the Israelites.” (2 Kings 21:2)
The very sins that nauseated God and caused Him to vomit the citizens of Canaan out of the land were replicated by Manasseh. His ways were abominable and his worship was abhorrent.
“He rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had destroyed and reestablished the altars for Baal. He made an Asherah, as King Ahab of Israel had done; he also worshiped the whole heavenly host and served them. He built altars in the Lord's temple, where the Lord had said, ‘Jerusalem is where I will put My name.’ He built altars to the whole heavenly host in both courtyards of the Lord's temple.” (2 Kings 21:3-5)
The worship of idols is futility, for they are no gods at all. But, there is an unseen spiritual reality behind the graven image—demonic spirits that the idol represents. It provides a portal into an invisible dimension of demonism. The practices of occultism, séances, astrology, palmistry and the like are not trivial pursuits. They can unleash powerful forces to bring a soul into slavery to evil. What happened to this sovereign and his subjects is “Exhibit A.”
“He made his son pass through the fire, practiced witchcraft and divination, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did a great amount of evil in the Lord's sight, provoking [Him]. Manasseh set up the carved image of Asherah, which he made, in the temple that the Lord had spoken about to David and his son Solomon, ‘I will establish My name forever in this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel. I will never again cause the feet of the Israelites to wander from the land I gave to their ancestors if only they will be careful to do all I have commanded them—the whole law that My servant Moses commanded them.’” (2 Kings 21:6-8)
What folly it is to consult the dead when one may talk with the Living God! What ignorance to look to the stars for guidance, when we can be led by the Maker of the stars!
Not only did Manasseh emulate the heathen in his evil ways, but worse—MANASSEH EXCEEDED THE HEATHEN IN HIS EVIL WORKS.
“But they did not listen; Manasseh caused them to stray so that they did greater evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites.” (2 Kings 21:9)
The king excelled in evil. He was extremely good at doing excessively bad. He didn’t stop at practicing evil personally, but due to his position enticed others to follow.
Let us focus next on THE EFFECT OF HIS DEEDS. An apostate preacher of considerable gifts and influence by the name of Rob Bell has promoted universalism in his book, “Love Wins.” The premise is that in the end, irrespective of what one believes or does, love wins out (Bell’s flawed concept of love) and all be welcomed into the eternal state of heaven—whatever heaven might be. That God is love is indisputable. But, He is also holy. Love and justice are held in perfect balance in God. True love hates evil. If God does not punish sin, he could not be God.
So, the deadly impact of Manasseh’s wicked reign is A CITY THAT WILL EXPERIENCE CALAMITY.
“The Lord spoke through His servants the prophets, saying, ‘Since Manasseh king of Judah has committed all these detestable things—greater evil than the Amorites who preceded him had done-and by means of his idols has also caused Judah to sin, this is what the Lord God of Israel says: “I am about to bring such disaster on Jerusalem and Judah that everyone who hears about it will shudder. I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line [used on] Samaria and the mason's level [used on] the house of Ahab, and I will wipe Jerusalem clean as one wipes a bowl—wiping it and turning it upside down.”’” (2 Kings 21:10-13)
God had stretched out his measuring line on the northern capital of Israel—the city of Samaria—and they came up short. He will use the same standard for the Southern Kingdom of Judah and its capital, Jerusalem. As God held the plumb line of His law against the royal line of Ahab and found them crooked, He would use the same standard to judge Manasseh. God is no respecter of persons. If He so judged Samaria and Jerusalem, how shall Washington, D.C. escape His wrath? Jerusalem had become filthy and God was going to scour it clean. Do we think that we can evade judgment when we are guilty of the same evil?
There would be A CITIZENRY THAT WOULD EXPERIENCE CAPTIVITY.
“’I will abandon the remnant of My inheritance and hand them over to their enemies. They will become plunder and spoil to all their enemies, because they have done what is evil in My sight and have provoked Me from the day their ancestors came out of Egypt until today.’
Manasseh also shed so much innocent blood that he filled Jerusalem with it from one end to another. This was in addition to his sin that he caused Judah to commit. Consequently, they did what was evil in the Lord's sight.” (2 Kings 21:14-16)
God says, “Have it your way!” Since the Jews wanted to live like the heathen, God would exile them to live with them. Sometimes God’s way of disciplining us is to give us what we want—and what we get carries with it unforeseen consequences. You may lay your head in Delilah’s lap and go to sleep—but wake up with a bad haircut and worse—just ask Samson.
Concerning Manasseh, we further note THE EXTENSION OF HIS DARKNESS.
Someone has said, “Give the devil an inch, and he’ll be a ruler.” Sin never stays still—it always stretches and spreads. It is like a deadly contagion that becomes a pandemic.
There is THE HERITAGE OF AN EVIL HISTORY.
“The rest of the events of Manasseh's [reign], along with all his accomplishments and the sin that he committed, are written in the Historical Record of Judah's Kings. Manasseh rested with his fathers and was buried in the garden of his own house, the garden of Uzza. His son Amon became king in his place.” (2 Kings 21:17-18)
When the last chapter of your life and mine is written, how will that history conclude? Will it be like the tragic tale of Manasseh—of a life wasted on wickedness? Or will it be like the superlative saga of Paul—a life rewarded for righteousness? The Apostle’s last will and testament puts it like this:
“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time for my departure is close. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. There is reserved for me in the future the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have loved His appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:6-8)
There is THE HERITAGE OF AN EVIL HOUSEHOLD extending from the evil of Manasseh’s reign.
“Amon was 22 years old when he became king and reigned two years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Meshullemeth daughter of Haruz; [she was] from Jotbah. He did what was evil in the Lord's sight as his father Manasseh had done. He walked in all the ways his father had walked; he served the idols his father had served, and he worshiped them. He abandoned the Lord God of his ancestors and did not walk in the way of the Lord.
Amon's servants conspired against the king and killed him in his own house.
Then the common people executed all those who had conspired against King Amon and made his son Josiah king in his place. The rest of the events of Amon's [reign], along with his accomplishments, are written in the Historical Record of Judah's Kings.
He was buried in his tomb in the garden of Uzza, and his son Josiah became king in his place.” (2 Kings 21:19-26)
The heir walked in the hellish heritage of Manasseh. The land which God would have blessed, flowing with milk and honey, instead was cursed, flowing with blood and idolatry.
We reap what we sow. Manasseh had a bloody reign of terror where children were sacrificed to demon gods, so is it surprising that his son is butchered in a bloody uprising?
It is a scandalous that people who can vote to determine who rules over them would elect to office a wicked leader to govern them. If we have ungodly leaders over our land, it is because of ungodly choices made in the voting booth. It has been said that in a democracy, we get the government we deserve. We reap what we sow.
And—that nation gets the judgment they deserve, also.
Created over 1 year ago