This Week's Focus Passage

2 Chronicles 33:13 ‘Then Manasseh knew that Jehovah he was God.’

2 Chronicles 33:13

‘Then Manasseh knew that Jehovah he was God.’

This is what Paul Harvey would have referred to as ‘the rest of the story.’ For our purposes, the story begins in 2 Kings 20:21. We may read that simple verse, And Hezekiah slept with his fathers; and Manasseh his son reigned in his stead. Actually, this single verse is quite remarkable; we should therefore remark upon it. What makes this verse so remarkable is that which preceded it. The first verse of that twentieth chapter of 2 Chronicles is in the same words; In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death.—Isaiah 38:1. Much more information begins to follow:

And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith Jehovah, Set thy house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.

What would you do if you had received such a message from the prophet of God? What did Hezekiah do? We are not left in suspense, for Isaiah continues, saying:

Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto Jehovah. That is what he did, and then next is! what he prayed. Remember now, O Jehovah, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.

Jehovah answered the prayer of Hezekiah almost immediately, it seems, for:

Then came the word of Jehovah to Isaiah, saying, Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith Jehovah, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years.

How is Jehovah going to accomplish this addition of fifteen years? Our God is a god that makes use of means. He provided the jawbone of an ass for Samson to defend himself from the Philistines, slaying a thousand men therewith. God did not need to provide this long-haired judge with the jawbone of an ass, but it was His pleasure to do so; it was the instrument of His choice on this occasion. He is well able to use any means that He pleases. In the case of adding fifteen years to the days of this king of Judah, He chose s cake of figs, for we read at the end of Isaiah 38;

Now Isaiah had said, Let them take a cake of figs, and lay it for a plaster upon the boil, and he shall recover.

A cake of figs? Really? God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.

What was it that caused Hezekiah to weep? What was it that Hezekiah prayed for? What was it God was entreated for? Had the king prayed according to the will of God? What was the will of God in this matter? Why did God determine that Hezekiah was about to die, sending His prophet to advise him to set his house in order? Was it to bring Hezekiah to his knees in prayer? Was it in order that the king would pray for that which God had already designed to grant? Fifteen years? We must search the rest of the story to learn the answers. The answer is discovered in the words alluded to in the beginning of our meditation; And Hezekiah slept with his fathers; and Manasseh his son reigned in his stead. In the following verse, 21:1, we learn that Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign. Until the birth of Manasseh, Hezekiah had no son; no heir to the throne. Matthew informs us when giving the genealogy of Jesus—Mt. 1:9-10—that Uzziah begat Jotham; and Jotham begat Ahaz; and Ahaz begat Hezekiah; and Hezekiah begat Manasseh. Apart from the added fifteen years granted to the days of Hezekiah, there would have been no Manasseh born for he was born three years after that promise given to the king. Apart from Hezekiah’s prayer, there would have been no answer of such a promise. Apart from Jehovah’s sending the word Set thy house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live, there would have been no prayer unto God for life. We are seeing here the marvelous and mysterious ways of God. But in seeing these ways, we are also being taught some lessons our Father would have us to learn.

God gave His first promise of redemption through the Word spoken to the serpent, saying to this creature that had beguiled the man and the woman;

I will put enmity between thee and woman, and between thy seed and her seed: he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

This promise is known as the proto-evangelium; the first intimation of the coming of the seed of the woman, the God-man; the Messiah; the Savior of the World, Jesus. That Seed of the woman is then traceable from Seth; to Abraham; to David; to Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. Marvelous are the ways of God in gathering His people to Himself. He gave Hezekiah fifteen more years of life in order to preserve this lineage of the Christ through Manasseh. He has promised, and He has provided.

Noteworthy things are set before us with the person of Manasseh. If we just read the account of his life as found in the book of 2 Kings, we discover that he did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah; he shed innocent blood; he made Judah to sin. We are left with no hope for him in the last words regarding him in 2 Kings:

Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and all that he did, and his sin that he sinned, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? And Manasseh slept with his fathers, and was buried in the garden.

How blessed that God referred us to the chronicles; where we do find hope:

And when he was in distress, he besought Jehovah his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. And he prayed unto him.

This is the ‘rest of the story.’ Manasseh was humbled; he prayed; he was forgiven. We are reminded that ‘it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.’ Manasseh was brought to God well after his father’s death; we are taught to never give up praying for our loved ones. For 12 years, Hezekiah likely saw his son growing into a godless rascal. May we not presume that, once again, the king turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto God?

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church


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