SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Some of the evil practices of Manasseh were "sorcery and divination" and consulting "with mediums and psychics" (verse 6). Some evil things we read about in the Bible (like Asherah poles and child sacrifice) aren't issues in America today, but sorcery and psychics are. These are forbidden by God (see Leviticus 19:31 and Deuteronomy 18:9-13) because they demonstrate a lack of faith in Him, have a foundational belief system totally opposed to God and His teachings, and can open the door to demonic influence (the Bible says that Satan and his demons masquerade as good spirits and will deceive us).
- The sin and rejection of God by His people has become too much, and God announces (in verses 10-15) that the consequences are coming. We're going to see what God is talking about here in just a few chapters.
- Verse 16 tells us Manasseh murdered many innocent people. Tradition (teaching we don't find in the Bible) says that one of those innocent people was the prophet Isaiah, who was sawed in two. It's believed that other prophets were killed at this time as well.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- If you've been reading through 1 and 2 Kings (the weekend readings of the Verve reading plan the last months) you've seen a series of kings, occasionally good and godly, but almost always bad. These bad kings, like Manasseh in this chapter lead the people of their nation to sin against God and to evil religious practices (sorcery, child sacrifice, etc.). What's interesting and sad is that the people never stand up to the king and take a stand for God. In verse 24 we see the "people of the land" take a stand and revolt against the power of the palace, but it's for (seemingly) political reasons. No one can force a person to not worship God, or to sin, or to another religion.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- You may have influences in your life (like the kings we've been reading about) who want to lead you away from God or to sin or to religious beliefs or practices that don't honor God. Don't be a victim. You have a choice and can take a stand, be true to God, and do what's right, no matter who is trying to turn you in the wrong direction.