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May 21 Today’s Reading: 2 Chronicles 33-34
Manasseh and Amon
“Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.” (Romans 9:18)
When the Lord God showed Moses his glory, he showed him his sovereignty and his grace, declaring, “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.” It is the glory of God to have mercy on whom he will have mercy. Nowhere is this fact more clearly displayed than it is in the lives of Judah’s three kings: Manasseh, Amon and Josiah. May God the Holy Spirit inscribe upon our hearts the lessons he intends for us to learn from this family as their lives are set before us in 2nd Chronicles 33 and 34.
What abundant grace there is in our God! What mercy there is flowing out to sinners from the triune Jehovah, of whom the Prophet said, “He delighteth in mercy”! What efficacy there is for poor needy sinners in the blood and righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ! What irresistible power and grace there is in God the Holy Ghost to save sinners! It matters not how high-handed, how indescribably evil, or how brazenly obstinate sinners are; the grace of God so infinitely transcends our offenses that none are beyond the reach of God’s omnipotent mercy and saving grace. Never are these facts more clearly revealed than in the salvation of Judah’s wicked King Manasseh. Truly, the fact of Manasseh’s salvation by our God is intended to teach us that “where sin abounds grace doth much more abound”!
Manasseh was the monstrously ungodly son of a very godly man. “Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen, whom the Lord destroyed before the children of Israel.” Never was there a king upon a throne more wretched and vile than Manasseh. Yet, he obtained mercy. He is set before us in the scriptures as an instructive picture and illustration of the grace of God.
Manasseh’s name means “forgetfulness”. He forgot the example of his father, Hezekiah, the Word of God’s prophet, his grandfather, Isaiah, and the counsel of his mother, Hephzibah. And he forgot the Lord his God. But God never forgot Manasseh! Manasseh was loved of God from eternity, chosen and ordained to be a miracle and monument of mercy, a trophy of his grace. God the Holy Spirit holds Manasseh before us as an example of what God does for sinners when he saves them by his free grace in Christ.
The short, sinful life of Amon, terminating as it did in a violent death, serves to remind us of the wretchedness and hopelessness of all men by nature. — “For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be” (Psalm 37:10). Contemplating the lives of Manasseh and his son Amon, we are again reminded that grace does not run in families. God has mercy on whom he will have mercy; and whom he will he hardens. How thankful saved sinners ought to be for God’s sovereign goodness.
Manasseh deserved God’s wrath as fully as his son Amon; but God had mercy on Manasseh! Manasseh was, in great measure, the cause of his son’s ruin. He spent most of his life leading his son to hell; but God had mercy on Manasseh!
By our sin, we destroy ourselves, ruin our friends, and lead those dearest to us in evil. As a rule, the wicked terminate their existence in vanity and vexation of spirit. But think, O my soul, what a miracle of grace it is when any, like Manasseh, are delivered out of the snare of the devil, who were once taken captive by him at his will! O my God, I thank you for your intervening, sovereign, saving mercy, so richly and freely bestowed upon my wretched soul in Christ Jesus!