Manasseh – a long-reigning king of Judah – heard Isaiah preach in his youth, but rejected God to plunge into extreme evil. Yet, despite a near-lifetime of this, he was humbled and turned to Him for mercy. Here is a narrative of the extraordinary mercy of God in the saving of a soul.
‘Manasseh was 12 years old when he began to reign and he reigned 50 and 5 years in Jerusalem.
The subject before us is an amazing royal conversion, Manasseh. Well in the New Testament we have Saul the persecutor of the Christian Church wonderfully, astonishingly, converted by the power of God, and so he became Paul the Apostle. But perhaps the greatest conversion recorded in the Old Testament is that of King Manasseh, the 13th king of Judah. Now this is so remarkable that it’s surely a help to us. If somebody who had gone so far from God as this particular arrogant king can know his mercy and his forgiveness, and such a work of power in his heart and in his nature that he becomes dramatically and lastingly changed, well, there is so much hope for us, no matter what we’ve been; no matter what we’ve done.
Now Manasseh was the longest reigning king either in Judah or Israel, and so far as Judah was concerned he was certainly the most evil king they ever had. He actually started to reign at the age of 12 but that was not a full reign; he was co-regent with his father for 11 years, but that’s important to observe as I’ll show a little later. And then at the age of 23 he became – on his father Hezekiah’s death – the sole king of Judah, and he reigned for a further 44 years. And for pretty well most of that time (except the last six years) he did the most astonishingly evil things. His father King Hezekiah was the very opposite; he didn’t follow his father in this at all. His father was one of the best kings of Judah and a very godly man, and he was the man who built that very famous Siloam tunnel so deep in the ground, that conducted water from a spring outside Jerusalem, deep beneath the surface, under the walls of Jerusalem into the city, feeding what later became called the Pool of Siloam.
That was done because there was a threatened siege to be laid by the Emperor of Assyria, and it was to thwart him though the siege never in the end took place, but I won’t go into that right now, and you can see the most absorbing evidences of this period of the history of Judah in the British Museum – the Lachish room – a whole saloon dedicated to those great stone reliefs on the walls showing the sacking of Lachish by Emperor Sennacherib and various other things also. Well, Hezekiah was the king at the time who built that tunnel – a king with a tremendously good rule and reign, but his son was the very opposite – one of those tragedies of life.
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