The Point of No Return
The most significant event in the Old Testament, second only to the Exodus, is the Babylonian Exile. The Exile is the fulfillment of God’s blessings and curses (Dt. 28), that a disobedient people would be exiled from the Land. However, there was a promise that if Israel humbles themselves and repents, no matter where they are, God will bring them back to the Land (Dt. 30). This event is significant for many reasons, but it clearly helps us understand God’s Covenant Love, what he says He’ll do, He’ll do.
King Manasseh, in a way, was the straw that broke the camel’s back. He reigned for 55 years. Although there were kings to follow, there was no turning back after Manasseh. He built and followed idols, leading the nation into sin. He went so far that he burned his own son alive as a sacrifice (6), not to mention the shedding of other innocent blood (16).
God called Israel to be the light of the world—that the whole world would be blessed through them (Genesis 12 &15). Yet, here Israel stands, looking exactly like the nations. The sin-line had been crossed and God made the promise in fulfillment of Dt. 28 that He would bring destruction (7–15).
Manasseh’s grandson, Josiah, was a great king who brought a lot of reform to Israel. Even still, “the Lord was very angry with Judah because of all the wicked things Manasseh had done to provoke him” (23:26).
So, what do we make of this? First, we see clearly that God is serious about sin. As a Good Father, God will not let His people live in rebellion and disobedience. Second, God’s Name is great, and it must be considered great in how we live. Because Manasseh did not consider the name of God as great, he worshiped the wrong things. Misplaced worship always leads to an increasingly wicked way of life. So much so that Manasseh killed his own son.
Although we wouldn’t consider burning our children on an altar, that doesn’t mean we don’t sacrifice our kids to idols. If God’s Name is great in how you live, you will follow the commands to train your kids in righteousness (and you’ll have a community of believers to help you). However, idolatry leads to neglect, hurt, broken relationships, or possibly worse. This is just one example, but how many kids grow up without a dad who loved himself more than his kids, loved his job more than his kids, loved his whatever, more than his kids. Although few fathers would verbalize this, it is functionally how they live. “I was doing it for you,” is the plea of a father with misplaced worship.
As you consider the greatness of the Name of God in your life, is God Great in every area? What areas have you struggled with idolatry? If your answer is “I don’t know,” or “I don’t struggle with idolatry,” you need to listen to this sermon (https://www.tvcresources.net/resource-library/sermons/source-and-surface-idols) by our Texas friend, Matt Chandler and re-evaluate. It’s the best single sermon I’ve heard on the issue and it will sting.
By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate