Wednesday, April 19, 2023

2023.04.19 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Kings 21:17–26

Read 2 Kings 21:17–26

Questions from the Scripture text: To whose other acts does 2 Kings 21:17 refer? What particular types of acts are mentioned here? But where would you have to look to find their record? With/like whom did Manasseh lay down/die (2 Kings 21:18)? But where was he buried? Who reigned in his place? How old was he (2 Kings 21:19)? How long did he reign? Who was his mother? What did he do (2 Kings 21:20)? In Whose sight? As who had done? What walking, and what service, comprised this evil (2 Kings 21:21)? Whom did such service forsake (2 Kings 21:22a)? What way of walking did this reject (verse 22b)? Who did what in 2 Kings 21:23? Where did they kill him? Then what did the people of the land do to them (2 Kings 21:24)? And whom did they make king instead? What else were immaterial to this account of Amon (2 Kings 21:25)? Where was he buried (2 Kings 21:26)? Who reigned in his place?

If a conversion late in life receives the same eternal mercy, why should we seek the Lord early? 2 Kings 21:17–26 looks forward to the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these ten verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that late conversions do not undo the damage that we have done, in this life, to ourselves, others, and God’s church. 

In 2 Chronicles 33:12–17, we read about Manasseh’s repentance, restoration, and reformation. So why does 2 Kings 21:17 refer only to “the sin that he committed” as a summary of “the rest of the acts of Manasseh”? Because for the nation, and even for his own seed, the damage had been done. When Amon “walked in all the ways that his father had walked” (2 Kings 21:21a), it was that “he served the idols that his father had served, and worshiped them” (verse 21b). 

All Amon’s childhood, his father had been wicked. The damage had been done. Our sins do more than incur guilt before God. They cause and breed all sorts of harm. The Lord “visits the sins of the fathers upon the children” (cf. Exodus 20:5; Numbers 14:18) not only by punishing providences but by the sinfulness of the son, and especially his walking in similar sins. 

What an urgency there is upon fathers to be converted! What an urgency there is upon fathers to grow in grace! Our children do not have time to wait until we come to profess to know the Lord or come to live like we know Him. And as Exodus 20:5, Numbers 14:18, etc. indicate, this is especially true when it comes to our worship life. How many hours of worship will they miss on how many Lord’s Days? How many family worship times that either never happen, have no Word in them, or have no heart in them? It is not just education in theological truth that they miss but the experience of God Himself. Instead of being brought before Him by a worshiping, teaching, interceding, singing, pleading father, whose life in between the worship times is devoted to the Lord, these children are hardened in the same sins.

But Manasseh wasn’t just a father but a king. Even his reforms could not bring the people themselves all the way back (cf. 2 Chronicles 33:17), and the ruin of the nation was already determined (cf. 2 Kings 21:11–15). Just as much as with households, nations and churches under men’s authority cannot afford for those men to spend a life provoking God.

Is there extraordinary mercy with God for even the worst of sinners? Yes, praise God! And Manasseh is an example of that (and one of the keys to understanding how it was that the Lord brought Josiah his grandson to such faith). But in our passage, just here, Manasseh is also an example of the real and dreadful consequences of sin. Even if you could know (you can’t) that you might be converted later, the cost of waiting is too high. Come to Him now! Even if you could know that you might be sanctified later (how can you know that, if you do not care so much to be sanctified now?), the cost of waiting is too high. Return to Him now with all your heart, and by His grace, give Him all that you are, in dependence upon Him! 

What are you (or those that you love) missing out upon with God, while you wait to commit (or recommit) your whole life unto Him? How would your life’s story so far be a reminder of what good the Lord might bring about through someone to whom He has shown mercy? How would it be a warning of what damage may be done, even by those to whom the Lord would yet show great mercy? By what means and what responses might the rest of your life come to be more of an encouragement than a warning? How are you seeking those from the Lord?

Sample prayer: Lord, You showed great mercy to Manasseh at the end of his life. But, we tremble to consider how it was too little, too late, to recover his son Amon, or his nation, Your own people. O Lord, we too have dragged our own feet in repenting from our sin and being wholehearted toward you. And we cannot know whether the damage that we are doing will ever be repaired. Forgive us, O Lord! And help us! Grant that this day would be day of wholeheartedness, and that it would be our repentance, rather than our sin, that has the lasting effect upon our families and church. O Lord, help our young men in particular, to seek You early, to remember You in the days of their Youth, to be faithful saplings that grow up to be mighty oaks in Your world and church. Make them and us to abide in Christ, so that we all abiding in Him, might bear much fruit, we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH178 “We Have Not Known Thee as We Ought”

No comments:

Post a Comment