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Nothing Like His Father!

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
August 1, 2023 12:00 am

Nothing Like His Father!

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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August 1, 2023 12:00 am

There are many fascinating stories of prodigals in the Bible, but the story we find in 2 Chronicles is especially fascinating. Why? Because this prodigal is a King. What made him run away? Find out now. Listen to the full-length version of this message, or read Stephen's manuscript here: https://www.wisdomonline.org/teachings/kings-lesson-37

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God was moved when he prayed by his entreaty. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.

Isn't that great? He knew his father knew it. He knew his grandfather had known it. But now he knew it for himself. I know it now, by the way.

That's the way it works with us. It doesn't matter if your father is a believer in Jesus Christ. It doesn't matter if your grandfather was.

It doesn't matter if your son or daughter or friends are. The point is you must have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. As somebody once said it, God doesn't have grandchildren, only children in his family. The Bible contains the accounts of many prodigals who walked away from what they knew. Today, you're going to learn more about a prodigal king. In the Old Testament, we encounter a king named Manasseh.

Manasseh rebelled against the faith of his father. But as we look at his life, we learn two important lessons. Failure is never final, and no unbeliever is unreachable. Today's lesson from our Vintage Wisdom Library is entitled, Nothing Like His Father.

So open your Bible and prepare to learn from God's word. Hezekiah was the great godly king who is now the proud father of a newborn. We've studied his life and that illness that threatened to take his life and his prayer for healing, and God granted him healing, you remember, and gave him 15 more years to live. It was during that 15-year period that his only son was born. He named his son Manasseh. Manasseh in Hebrew, or translated from Hebrew, means God causes me to forget. It's as if he was saying that the birth of this little boy caused he and his wife, Hefzibah, the ability to forget the years of wanting and waiting now that this little boy was born. And you can only imagine the hope of Manasseh for his son, who would be the heir to the throne. Now it also seemed as we Hezekiah had sort of coasted during this period of the birth of his son Manasseh.

He had become a little proud. He had shown off his power to the Babylon's without giving credit to God. And when judgment was prophesied, it didn't seem to bother him that much, so long as it didn't come when he was the king. But yet it was also during this period, I have discovered in my study this past week, that something that indicates his worship to the Lord remained very intense and strong. Over in the book, we won't turn, but in Proverbs 25 verse 1, there's a rather unusual verse that refers to the scribes of Hezekiah, who compiled these particular proverbs.

And there are several Old Testament manuscripts that have the consonants H, Z, K at the end of them for Hezekiah. Most Bible scholars believe that during this period of time, knowing that judgment was coming, he devoted his time to bringing about him a group of scribes who carefully copied the scriptures for the sake of the people. So Manasseh then would have grown up in that home, the joy and the pride of his father, a young boy who must have observed his father's pride, but also a boy who must have discovered, watched, seen his father's veneration and respect for the Old Testament scriptures. It's a tragic thing then to read in 2 Chronicles chapter 33, that Manasseh would become a wicked king as soon as he mounts the throne.

He would reign the longest of any king of the divided kingdom. And he would go down in history as the most wicked king of Judah. His father, Hezekiah, would be compared to King David.

Manasseh will be compared to Ahab and Jezebel. Before we go too much further into our story of Manasseh's life, I want to insert a couple of things that a passage that we're about to study ought to do in the life of every parent. First of all, it should remove presumption from the heart of a parent whose child is following after God. A godly father has an ungodly son. It's a warning for us as parents to become presumptuous, to become experts in child-rearing.

Don't become an expert. If somebody says, my, your children are spiritual and they're following after the Lord, don't respond with, well, you know, we never missed devotion or we always had them in church, those self-serving answers. We never let them watch TV or drink Coke or whatever you might want to add into that.

That's what did it. That's presumption. And beware of a program or an author or a teacher who seems to teach his or her methods with the thought of the underlying implication that if you do A, B, C, D, you will spit out a godly child. Now, you and I are wise and blessed to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. And that is the only foundation upon which to rear their young lives. However, when they grow up to then turn around and follow after God, the only thing you and I can say is, thank you, God, period.

It is the grace of God. It is the grace of God's miracle that awakens a conscience in a child who will then follow after him. Second, this passage should produce hope in the heart of a parent whose child is not following after the Lord.

The miracle child of Hezekiah and Hefzibah was surrounded by blessing. He was influenced by a daddy who evidently revered the scriptures, but by the time he turned 12, he turned his back on it all. This is the story here, I'll tell you ahead of time, of a king's prodigal son. As soon as he mounts the throne, it's clear and you could hear the whispering through the kingdom, he's nothing like his father. He will restore idolatry with a passion.

But the story will end much differently than you and I would ever expect, which I hope then will produce hope. Let's begin by giving an overview of the progressing evil in the life of Manasseh. 2 Chronicles 33, 2, you read the words, and he did evil.

You could circle that word and then draw a line down to verse 6. If you have a numerical standard translated this way, you'll read he did much evil in the sight of the Lord. You could circle much evil and draw a line down to verse 9. Manasseh misled Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more evil. You have evil, much evil, more evil. The older this kid got, he became more and more wicked and entrenched in his idolatry. Now, what Ezra will do, his writing under inspiration, the Holy Spirit, he'll just sort of catalog his wicked ways for us. In verse 3, it reads for he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah, his father, had broken down.

Can you imagine that? He also erected altars for the Baals and made Asherim and worshiped all the hosts of heaven and served them. The hosts of heaven here is a reference to the Zodiac. And when it says he served them, that simply means he ordered his days after their movements.

He'd let them dictate what he would do, when he would do it, and what he would in fact follow through on. It's like people today who read their horoscope. It's nothing new. And Manasseh certainly won't be the last political power to follow the calculations of the astrologers, to serve, as it were, the hosts of heaven. We've all been a little amazed to discover our own power in this country.

According to former White House Chief of Staff Donald Reagan that a semi-resident astrologer helped the Reagan White House determine times of events and when to hold conferences and things to do. Welcome to the practice of Manasseh. It's not new. They will follow the same self-destructive source of wisdom today as they did then. May I read you something that's 40 years old and yet it reveals to us what's happened in our country in 40 brief years? This is an entry in the Encyclopedia Americana for the heading astrology. Listen to what we believed astrology to be 40 years ago. In the 17th century when scientists finally realized that the earth was not the center of the solar system, astrology fell into disrepute.

It still flourishes, however, in Asia and Africa is a means of livelihood to many charlatans who prey upon the ignorant classes of those countries. So who are we? What does this say about us? Today one out of every three newspaper subscribers follow their daily horoscope. 40% of people polled that I read believe that astrology is now scientific. You can read it and all about it. New York telephone system handles more than a million calls a month to its daily horoscope lines. Welcome to the practice of Manasseh.

But I told you all that to let you know that it's not new. First four it goes on, and he built altars in the house of the Lord of which the Lord had said, my name shall be in Jerusalem forever. Follow where he's doing this now. For he built altars for all the hosts of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. In other words, you can now have your fortune told and your horoscope read by a priest while you're out in the lobby waiting for the next service.

You can have your palm read. That's what it means. And it gets worse. Verse 6, he made his sons pass through the fire in the valley of Ben-Hinnom. He, the only son of his parents, beloved by them, has disregard for his children.

He will sacrifice them to the arms of Molech. He goes on and he practiced witchcraft. He used divination. He practiced sorcery. The word sorcery in the Septuagint, the Greek word is the same word which gives us our word pharmacy. It simply means to cut up. It refers to the person who cuts up herbs and brews them for medicinal purposes.

It's an age-old practice. Sorcery, however, is the black side, the dark side of pharmacy because it used drugs, it created drugs to create religious trances and hypnosis. For all we know, Manasseh, with all of his other problems and evils, was a man addicted to drugs.

Read on. It says he dealt with mediums and spiritists. Now these were individuals who were supposedly able to contact the dead on behalf of the living. The Syriac word for medium is zakuro, which means simply ghost. These people then had the ability to bring up ghosts or allow living people to talk to the ghosts of dead people, to have conversations with people who've already died. The word translated spiritist comes from the word or verb yada, to know.

That is, this person basically consulted the spirit world as a channel. Now it should be no surprise to us that Ezra records in verse 6, the latter part, what does he call it? He did much what? Innocent stuff?

No. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger. Then, verse 7, as if God isn't angry enough, Manasseh put the carved image of the idol, the Asherim, a figure for Mother Earth, in the house of God, of which God had said to David and to Solomon his son, in this house and in Jerusalem, which I've chosen from all the tribes of Israel, I will put my name.

I'm going to put my name in there. Now he's putting this idol in there. It's an affront to his sovereignty and his holiness. And I will not again, verse 8, remove the foot of Israel from the land which I've appointed for your fathers. If only they will observe to do all that I've commanded them according to all the law, the statutes, and the ordinances given through Moses. Thus Manasseh misled Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more evil than the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the sons of Israel.

Now notice this. And the Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. It isn't that they were without a witness.

They just wouldn't listen. They were confirmed in idolatry. Their leader had his wickedness, as it were, set in concrete. You would say the words, Manasseh is hopeless if you were a God-fearer in that day. Well, where was Isaiah? We know he was a contemporary of Manasseh.

What was he saying? Well, if we had time, we could dig into the book of Isaiah and discover that he had strong words to say to Manasseh before he was executed. But he said these words, listen, when they say to you, consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter, should a people not consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?

Isaiah says, to the law, to the testimony. If they do not according to this word, it is because they have no light. Let them write books about embracing or embrace by the light. Let them talk about their visitors of the light. Let them talk about being surrounded by light. The Bible says they have no light.

Strong words. So what did Manasseh do? According to the same account of his life in 2 Kings, we learn that he slaughtered the prophets.

The Bible tells us that blood ran from one side of the city to the other. Tradition tells us that it was Manasseh who also killed Isaiah by having him sawn in two. In fact, all the way back to the first century, Josephus, the historian, tells us that Manasseh placed Isaiah in a hollowed-out log and then cut the log and Isaiah in half. Can you imagine going down in history as the man who killed one of the greatest prophets who ever lived?

But there's more treachery to it than that. The same author and the same traditions tell us that Manasseh's mother, Hefzibah, was the daughter of Isaiah. And we have no record of scripture to contradict that century-old story. You know what that means? That means Isaiah was Manasseh's grandfather.

It's one thing to say he was nothing like his father, but you could also add he's nothing like his grandfather as well. Well, it's at this point that God moves against the nation. Look at verse 11. Therefore, the Lord brought the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria against them and they captured Manasseh with hooks. They bound him with bronze chains and they took him to Babylon.

Get this picture in your mind. Here's proud Manasseh. He's the slayer of prophets, the rebeller against God. He is wise in black arts and black magic.

He's all-powerful. He can't protect himself against the power of Babylon who capture him with hooks. That's a reference to the Babylonian tradition of capturing the monarch and its leading soldiers and driving rings through their nostrils or through their upper lip and attaching a leather thong by which they led them into the conquering city. It was a metaphor of submission. It was a metaphor for humiliation and defeat.

Here is the proud king being led through their streets like a mule. But in the plan and providence of God, where do you think Manasseh was really going? He was going to a far country and in that far country, as it were, was a pigpen. It is in that pigpen where prodigals, if they will by His grace, come to their senses.

There wasn't any doubt in my mind that all of Judah had given up on Manasseh. He's hopeless. He's incorrigible. He'll never follow God. Yeah, he had it coming.

He deserves every bit of it that will wipe him off the slate of Israelite history, will wash it clean. He's hopeless. Maybe you know somebody like that. Maybe in your own heart, as this person comes to your mind with a heavy heart, you would say, that person's hopeless. Maybe it's a relative in another city. Maybe it's a son or a daughter.

Maybe it's a mother or a father or some friend at work. They're hopeless. Can you imagine Hephzibah if she were still alive and the tears she would have shed over the death of her father and the loss of her son?

Maybe you're on the verge of giving up hope. Well, look at verse 12. And when Manasseh was in distress, he entreated the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. I like that phrase, the God of his fathers. Not a coincidence, the God of his father, the God of his grandfather. And God was moved when he prayed by his entreaty, verse 13, and heard his supplication and brought him again to Jerusalem, to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.

Isn't that great? He knew his father knew it. He knew his grandfather had known it, but now he knew it for himself. I know it now, by the way.

That's the way it works with us. It doesn't matter if your father is a believer in Jesus Christ. It doesn't matter if your grandfather was.

It doesn't matter if your son or daughter or friends are. The point is you must have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. As somebody once said it, God doesn't have grandchildren, only children in his family. He says, okay, he's the God of my father and the God of my grandfather.

I want him to be my God too. Now, verse 14, after this he built the outer wall of the city of David on the west side of Gihon and the valley even to the entrance of the fish gate and he encircled the Ophel with it and made it very high. Then he put army commanders in all the fortified cities of Judah and he also removed the foreign gods and the idols from the house of the Lord as well as all the altars which he had built on the mountain of the house of the Lord and in Jerusalem and he threw them outside the city.

Can you imagine this? He's just house cleaning. Threw them outside the city and he set up the altar of the Lord and sacrificed peace offerings and thank offerings on it and he ordered Judah to serve the Lord God of Israel. You talk about a shockwave that went through the nation. NASA, the renegade, wicked man is now house cleaning like some fanatic and he's ordering the people, worship the only true God.

How wonderful. But there is a warning to prodigals here. Maybe you identify with Hezekiah, maybe you're running from the Lord and you say, well, you know, the story turned out pretty good.

Turned out all right. Well, I'll just continue in my sin. You know, it's the harm.

I'll wait till later. Well, the warning is this, ladies and gentlemen. Even when your sins are forgiven, your influence may last a lifetime. Perhaps you notice in verse 17, one of the influences was on the people. The people never returned to worship in Jerusalem, that is where they were supposed to, at the house of the Lord. Look at verse 17. Nevertheless, the people still sacrificed in the high places, although only to the Lord their God. That is, they followed halfheartedly. You know, the worship of Yahweh wasn't as sensational or fun or creative or whatever you might think. It wasn't as exciting as witchcraft and sorcery and you can't use drugs and you can't do all these wild things that were fleshly and carnal. Well, if we got to sacrifice to Yahweh, let's at least make it convenient.

We can do it in our neighborhood. We will make the trek to Jerusalem. The people did not return as he did. The second lifelong effect was Hezekiah's son. The last phrase of verse 23 says it all, but Ammon multiplied guilt.

Ammon was named, by the way, after an Egyptian deity. And he will put his father's idols back into circulation as soon as dear old dad passes away. He's going to reign for two years. And at the end of two years, his servants will assassinate him in his own home. It's as if they were saying, as they gathered around, look, we don't want 50 years with a king like we'd had. Let's wipe this young one out soon.

And so they did. Before we stop, let me give you a couple of lessons from Manasseh's life. His story ended so well, much different than we thought it would, even though we've only skimmed the surface.

Let me give you a couple of thoughts. Lesson number one, no failure should be considered final. If you've read the biographies of the Bible, you've learned that to be true. The biographies of people like David and Samson, the story of Peter. No failure is final. Look at verse 19, his prayer also and how God was entreated by him and all his sin, his unfaithfulness, and the sites on which he built high places and erected the Asherim and the carved images before he humbled himself.

Behold, they. Note that all his sin, his unfaithfulness, all of that is written in the records of the Hosea. It's all recorded as wayward as this man had been, as immoral and idolatrous as he was. His failure was not final.

The grace of God accepted his prayer of confession, just like he did yours and mine. It leads me to lesson number two, no one believer should be considered unreachable. Maybe you have one living in your home. Maybe it's that relative or friend and you say, man, they are unreachable.

No, they're not. A young man was born in London in 1725. His father was a sea captain. His mother, a godly believer, knew that an illness which she had would take her life early. So she poured herself into this little boy's life, and at the age of seven, she died. He became a captain's boy and grew up then on the seas.

It was an exciting and dangerous world filled with evil influences. Eventually, he joined a slave trading ship and became its captain. He fell deeper and deeper into sin away, further and further from the God of his mother. It was on one particular voyage that he had become so drunk that he fell overboard and his men didn't want to take the time to send a boat after him, so they simply took a whaling harpoon and threw it at him. It caught him in the hip and they reeled him back aboard like they would have done a large fish.

He would limp for the rest of his life. It was during one voyage from Africa to England with a boat full of slaves in 1748 that his ship encountered such a severe storm that he thought he'd lose his life. It was during that voyage that he remembered the God of his mother. It was in that pen where he came to his senses. It was on that voyage that he received Jesus Christ as his own. He would become an evangelist pastor in England and would write eventually his testimony and song that probably is the most popular hymn of modern time, Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I'm found.

Was blind, but now I see. As an 82-year-old man, John Newton preached his final sermon to his congregation and he said to them, There are two truths that I know full well. Number one, that I am a great sinner. Number two, that Jesus is a great Savior. I am a great sinner. Jesus Christ is a great Savior.

That's an important truth because it's true for all of us. Each of us is a great sinner in need of a great Savior. I hope you've been encouraged by this time in God's Word today. You've tuned in to Wisdom for the Heart, the Bible teaching ministry of Stephen Davey. We're working our way through a series from our Vintage Wisdom Library entitled, We Three Kings.

We've gone back to the archives from 1996 to bring you this series. The quality of the recordings is not as high as you're used to and you may have noticed that Stephen's voice sounds a little different, but the truth of God's Word is just as powerful today as it was when Stephen first taught this message and we knew you'd be encouraged to hear it. Wisdom for the Heart is produced by Wisdom International. Stephen has said that we are empowered by prayer. As the Word of God goes forth, the Spirit of God takes the truth of His Word and uses it to bring about lasting change. All of that needs prayer and I invite you to join our global prayer team and pray for us. You'll find information about our global prayer team at wisdomonline.org forward slash prayer. We post updates on specific ways that you can pray for Wisdom International. We also want to pray for you. We have a team of people who pray by name for every request that comes in. That website includes a way for you to send us your prayer needs. Learn more about this at wisdomonline.org forward slash prayer. Join us again next time as we continue this series on Wisdom for the Heart. Learn more at wisdom.org forward slash prayer.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-01 00:29:11 / 2023-08-01 00:39:31 / 10

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