The heart of man is deceitfully wicked above all things who can know it? Other than the LORD God, the scriptures constantly remind me of how deep human depravity goes. For example consider King Hezekiah who demonstrated his faithfulness to God by destroying the idols in the land, then re-instituting the nurture and care for God’s ministers and reviving the worship of Yahweh in Israel. Nevertheless, this king still had to deal with his own pride which set him against the LORD God 2 CHRON: 32:23-26:
And many were bringing gifts to the Lord at Jerusalem and choice presents to Hezekiah king of Judah, so that he was exalted in the sight of all nations thereafter. 24 In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill; and he prayed to the Lord, and the Lord spoke to him and gave him a sign. 25 But Hezekiah gave no return for the benefit he received, because his heart was proud; therefore wrath came on him and on Judah and Jerusalem. 26 However, Hezekiah humbled the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord did not come on them in the days of Hezekiah.
Manasseh, who succeeded Hezekiah, returned to the idolatrous ways, formerly practiced in Israel and skillfully rebelled against God (33:3-9). It was only after Manasseh humbled himself that he showed himself to be faithful to Yahweh 2 CHRON. 33:10-16:
The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. 11 Therefore the Lord brought the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria against them, and they captured Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze chains and took him to Babylon. 12 When he was in distress, he entreated the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. 13 When he prayed to Him, He was moved by his entreaty and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God. 14 Now after this he built the outer wall of the city of David on the west side of Gihon, in 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. 15 He also removed the foreign gods and the idol 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. 16 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.
Unfortunately, the damage had already been done. For under Josiah’s reign there’s a devotion to the LORD God (34:1-13) where the reading of the Torah warns of the coming Babylonian captivity that he would not experience because of his devotion to God but many in Israel would have to endure(34:14-21, 27-30).
God’s mercy is daunting like His wrath. What a God! What a patient Creator! Why don’t we trust Him?! It’s because of sin. This menace has blinded God’s people since time and the “Fall” inaugurated it.
LORD, your patience and mercy are stunning. To consider your dealings with sinners like us through immeasurable grace makes the heart glad. So may we consider your attributes, and reflect on them as we live out the rest of this journey on until the new heaven and new earth arrive.