(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
In the last Gem we saw that the wicked King Manasseh of Judah was pronounced righteous before God, and is in heaven – even though disobedience and flagrant sin marked most of his 55 year reign. Why? Because through God’s punishment Manasseh realized his wicked ways, turned from them, and put his faith in the LORD GOD of Israel!
Even the most flagrant sinner can be forgiven!
- Saint Paul said of himself in I Timothy 1:15 (Contemporary English Version), “I was the worst sinner of all! ” Yet God saved him and he became the greatest of saints, greatly used by the Lord!
- The thief on the cross was most likely also a murderer. Yet he put his faith in the coming King Jesus and was told, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
However, there are Consequences of Disobedience!
- The thief on the cross still died for his sins!
- For a long time it seems Paul struggled with his pre-Christian nature! (Read Romans chapter 7).
- Pregnancy and the resultant change of the future does not go away for the teenager acting upon loose morals!
- Prison time is not erased from being given to a fit of violent anger resulting in injury to another, or even murder!
What were the consequences of Manasseh’s disobedience? Some of them are listed in II Kings 24:2 through 4:
...the LORD sent against [Manasseh]...raiding bands of Chaldeans, bands of Syrians, bands of Moabites, and bands of the people of Ammon; He sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the LORD which He had spoken by His servants the prophets. Sure- ly at the commandment of the LORD this came upon Judah, to remove them from His sight because of the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he had done, and also because of the innocent blood that he had shed; for he had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, which the LORD would not pardon.
✡ “...the LORD sent...raiding bands of Chaldeans... Syrians...Moabites, and...Ammon...against Judah to destroy it...” In the May 12, 2020 Gem, War No More!, the featured Scripture is Proverbs 16:7: ▸ “When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” As I said in that Gem, “This proverb is given as applied to an indi- vidual. But it can also be applicable to a national setting!” And so... ▸ “When a nation’s ways please the LORD, He makes even that nation’s enemies to be at peace with it!” Manasseh, being a very wicked king who rebelled against the LORD GOD and His ways, had no peace in his reign! Since he led the people of Judah into great sin also, God allowed the kingdom to experience war from the surrounding nations! ✡ “Surely at the commandment of the LORD this came upon Judah, to remove them from His sight because of the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he had done, and also because of the innocent blood that he had shed; for he had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood....” ▸ Yes, the king and nation experienced the hardship of war’s defeat in their homeland – economic and social collapse, famine, disease, death, and destruction! ▸ But also the LORD removed them from His sight! He sent them as captives to Baby- lon, a thousand miles away by caravan, in exile for 70 years! ✡ “...the sins...which the LORD would not pardon.” The Gem posted this past Saturday concerned Ma- nasseh’s sincere repentance and the fact that God forgave him! ▸ So this last phrase of our featured Scripture does not apply to Manasseh’s personal acquittal before the Father! It is as Jesus said centuries later in John 6:37, “...the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” ▸ But it does apply to Judah’s population! These Jews willingly followed the wick- edness modeled by their king. It was King Manasseh who set the standard...and the people readily followed! And the five decades of blatant royal and nation- al disobedience had disastrous results for the whole kingdom!
So remember, while God in His mercy can heal and restore (see Joel 2:25), there are Consequences Of Disobedience that remain! I know! In my teenage years especially I was rebellious against those who set the rules. While not going into detail, I have physical, mental, and emotional scars from my opposition to authority! They will not be totally healed this side of eternity! I am forgiven and set free from bearing my sins, but some of those Consequences Of Disobedience do not totally go away!
Be careful to follow hard after the LORD, taking good care of the life He has given you!