Read: 2 Chronicles 33:1-25
The LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they ignored all his warnings. So the LORD sent the commanders of the Assyrian armies, and they took Manasseh prisoner. 2 Chronicles 33:10-11
King Manasseh is crowned after King Hezekiah. King Hezekiah turned the nation away from idol worship and back to the LORD. He wasn’t perfect but he did lead well and pleased the LORD. King Manasseh now turns the nation back to idol worship, child sacrifices, witchcraft and all kinds of deplorable practices that offend God. So God disciplines the nation by sending the invading Assyrian army to capture Jerusalem and take the people into exile.
While prisoner, Manasseh has a come to Yahweh moment and turns back to God. God restores him and brings him back to kingship in Jerusalem. When he eventually dies, his son leads the people back into the same despicable practices that his father had before. That doesn’t end well for him.
The relationship between God and His people was a cycle of Sin – Consequence – Repentance – Restoration – Peace & Prosperity – Sin. Their hearts were prone to wander, as are ours. Over time they would forget the lessons learned and repeat the same mistakes and suffer the consequences.
A couple of things stand out to me about this passage and the whole history of Israel. First, God is quick to restore when we turn back to Him and truly repent. Second, God always sends warnings when we are headed in the wrong direction. “The LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they ignored all his warnings.”
How often do we become enamored with our own agendas or sin and ignore God’s warnings. It’s not like walking away from God and suffering the consequences is inevitable, or that God wants us to go there. Quite the opposite. He warns us through His word, a lack of peace in our spirit, a message from a pastor or a conversation with a friend. He sends his warnings, and so often like the people of Israel we choose to ignore them because we like what we are doing or feel that we are unable to stop.
The lesson in this passage and in the big picture of the Old Testament is simply this – if you have wandered from the LORD in some area in your life… Repent!!! God will take you back and restore you. That’s how He rolls. If you are tracking with the LORD at this time, know that the human propensity is to wander. Make the decision now to guard your heart, your life and your actions so that you don’t. And when God warns you because you are headed in the wrong direction, for goodness sake swallow your pride and listen to Him. If you don’t, there is misery coming. And God doesn’t want that for you. He wants His kids to break the cycle of broken fellowship with Him, and to choose Him each and every day above all other things.
Father – I choose you today and ask that if there is an area in my life that I am wandering away from you, that you would show me, “warn me,” and help me turn back to you. In Jesus Name, Amen.