Hardened to the Gospel
Have you ever heard someone describe a person as hardened to the gospel? They may go on to discuss the gross sins that the person is living. Our faith teaches that no one is beyond the saving power of Christ but do we really believe it? Do our prayers betray our lack of faith of what our head knowledge declares: God can save anyone? For some encouragement let’s look back to the Old Testament and examine the life of arguably the most evil king of Judah: Manasseh.
Manasseh came to power at the age of twelve after the death of his father Hezekiah. Now Hezekiah is described by the writer of Kings as doing what was right in the sight of the LORD. How is it then that his son fell so far away from his example? Perhaps it was because Manasseh did not get much instruction from his busy father or because he ascended to the throne at such a young age his views were shaped by his advisers who despised the religious reforms of his father. Whatever the reason, the policies of his rule is understated when it says he did evil in the sight of the LORD. Let’s take a look at some of the things he did:
- He rebuilt the altars his father destroyed.
- Built altars to false gods and even placed them with in the Temple courts
- Made wooden idols and established one even inside the Temple, possible removing the Ark of God to do so. (2 Chr 35:3)
- Practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft, sorcery, and consulted mediums and spiritualists.
- Sacrificed his own children to Molech. This involved burning them to death by laying them on the heated red hot hands of the idol or with fire.
- He led others into the sins he was committing.
- Tradition says he was the one who killed Isaiah the prophet of God by sawing him in two.
- He provoked God to anger and refused His council.
It was the sins of this king that brought about the eventual destruction of Judah. His sins were worthy of death according the law of God given in Deuteronomy. God brought about punishment by allowing Jerusalem to be conquered and Manasseh humiliatingly carried away by the army of the Assyrian King Esar-haddon.
A True Conversion
As grave and disgusting as these sins may seem let us not forget that our own sins produced the same stench before God. Yet through grace God chose to save us in spite of our rebellion.
Through the discipline of God towards King Manasseh he was converted. The scriptures tell us he humbled himself before God. He prayed to God for forgiveness and was granted repentance. We can also then see the fruits of this repentance worked out in his life. After his conversion, God allowed the Assyrian king to restore him to his throne and immediate and through the rest of his life, Manasseh instituted political and religious reforms. He refortified the walls of Jerusalem and set troops at each of the militarized cities of Judah to provide protection for his people. These were some of his political reforms brought forth from a new compassion for people and awakened responsibility to his position. He also removed the idols and altars from the temple and cleared the land of idol worship. He then repaired the altar of the LORD and led his nation in worship of the one true God.
God can take any man of filth and place praises in his mouth. Let us remember this and bring a new fervor to our evangelistic prayers.The history of Manasseh reign can be found in 2 Chr 33:1-20 & 2 Kings 21:1-18