Readings: 2 Kings 21:1-18,2 Chronicles 33:1-20
The trail winds in a new direction today. We go up to the Gihon spring to the Hezekiah Tunnel, constructed by the king himself; a freshwater source to the city of Jereseulam. It was the only natural water source during that time period. “Hezekiah blocked up the upper spring of Gihon and brought the water down through a tunnel to the west side of the City of David.” when he was defending the city from the Assyrians. (1) As our trail winds down by the Gihon spring, we see that Hezekiah’s son will build a wall even higher than the original wall. ( 2 Kings 21: 14) But first, he rebuilds horrible detestable shrines to other Gods, before he ever rebuilds this wall.
Hezekiah’s son was named Manasseh. He was twelve years old when his father died. The prodigal son in all aspects of the word and somewhat of a similar parallel account. The prodigal: commits outright sin and rebellion, hits rock bottom, repents, and eventually returns to his father, our father the Lord. Everything that Hezekiah tore down, his son Manasseh rebuilt. Including rebuilding abdominal things in the temple itself. “He was a man who, if he would set up an idol, did not set it up in an obscure part of the land, but put it in the very temple of God; and when he would desecrate the name of the Most High, he did not privily go to his chapel, where he might worship some evil deity, but he put the deity into the very temple itself as if to insult God to his very face.” (2)) There are even rumors that Mannassseh killed the prophet, Isaiah.
What drives a person to sin against the heritage of his family? It’s common knowledge and often joked among many, children of the clergy that commit heinous crimes. Is it the pressure to be good? Is it the fault of the parent for not teaching the child? In the prodigal story, there are two sons. One stays behind and the other goes out in the world to rebel. Each child can be very different. But what is it that leads a man to outright blatant sin?
But even after Manasseh, built shrines, led others astray, possibly sacrificed his own child, and bowed before all others, our God forgave him. Thank you, Lord, for your mercy. Even the greatest sinner can repent and be saved. in 2 Chronicles 33, more of the story is shared. Manasseh is captured, bounded by a hook in his nose, and taken to Babylon, and brought to rock bottom literally before having a change of heart.
10 The Lord spoke to Manasseh …. 11 Therefore the Lord brought upon them the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria, who captured Manasseh with hooks and bound him with chains of bronze and brought him to Babylon. 12 And when he was in distress, he entreated the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. 13 He prayed to him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.
After his change of heart, our prodigal son came back to the tunnels his father built and fortified that outer wall to protect the temple. He removed those idols in the temple, tore down the altars, and became a new creation in his Lord. And today you can do the same. God invites us to become new creations, no matter what our past sins may have been. Through the blood and sacrifice of his Son, Jesus Christ. Not a sacrifice that we make. A sacrifice that he made for you and for me.
Acapella music is my jam and these words sung by Caleb and Kelsey say just the right thing. “My past embraced, my sin forgiven. I’m blameless in Your sight, my history rewritten. Cause You delight in showing mercy. ”