II Kings 23:26, 27
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
After the kingdom of Israel split into north and south, the southern kingdom of Judah had 19 kings and one queen. Eight rulers were godly (six throughout their rule, two in their younger days), and twelve who were wicked. Manasseh, good king Hezekiah’s son, was the worst! He was the 14th ruler of Judah, and he ruled the longest, 55 years! He was so evil that he became the tipping point of the whole kingdom! Here is what is written in II Kings 23:26 and 27:
Nevertheless the Lord did not turn from the fierceness of His great wrath, with which His anger was aroused against Judah, because of all the provocations with which Manasseh had provoked Him. And the Lord said, “I will also remove Judah from My sight, as I have re- moved Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, ‘My name shall be there.’”
What do I mean by Manasseh becoming the tipping point of the kingdom of Judah? Consider how evil this king was (the most thorough record is in II Chronicles 33:
- verse 2 – “…he did evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all the abominations of the nations whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel.” God directed Joshua to totally wipe out the inhabitants of Canaan because they were so wicked.
- verse 3 – “…he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down; he raised up altars for the Baals [Canaanite false gods]…and he worshiped all host of heaven and served them.”
- verses 4 and 5 – “He also built altars…for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD.”
- verse 6 (Lexham English Bible) – “…he himself burned his sons in the fire in the Valley of Ben-Hinnom. And he practiced sorcery and divination, and he engaged in witch-craft and dealt with mediums and spiritists. And he did much evil in the eyes of [God] …to provoke Him to anger.” (see Deuteronomy 12:31; 18:9-12; Jeremiah 19:5).”
- verse 7 – “He even set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of God….”
- verse 9 – “…Manasseh seduced Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more evil than the nations whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel.”
- verse 10 – “And the LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they would not listen.”
Add to this II Kings 21:16 – “Moreover Manasseh shed very much blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another….”
I find it amazing and yet encouraging what is recorded in II Chronicles 33:11-16:
...the captains of the army of the king of Assyria... took Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze fet- ters, and carried him off to Babylon. Now when he was in affliction, he implored the Lord his God, and hum- bled himself greatly before...God...and prayed to Him; and He...heard his supplication, and brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God. After this he...took away the for- eign gods and the idol from the house of the LORD, and all the altars that he had built...in Jerusalem; and he cast them out of the city. He also repaired the altar of the Lord, sacrificed peace offerings and thank offerings on it, and commanded Judah to serve the Lord God of Israel.
Manasseh repented and became a dedicated follower of the God of Israel. And the LORD forgave his sins! My encouragement comes from this – If God can forgive and accept the likes of Manasseh, He will certainly forgive and accept me! Why? Because Jesus paid for all my sins – all our sins, of every one, even Manasseh!
But the damage had been done! Led by King Manasseh and his wicked ways for so long, the Judean populace never turned wholeheartedly back to God, even when the repentant king directed them to return. By Jeremiah’s time (his ministry began only 15 years after Manasseh died), they had forsaken the LORD and returned to their pagan ways! In Jeremiah 11:9, 10 God told His prophet,
A conspiracy has been found among the men of Judah and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They have turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers who refused to hear My words. And they have gone after other gods to serve them; the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken My covenant which I made with their fathers.
So Manasseh was the tipping point for Judah! In Jeremiah 15:3 and 4 God reveals to Jeremiah that judgment is about to arrive!
“And I will appoint over them [the kingdom of Judah] four forms of destruction,” says the Lord: “the sword to slay, the dogs to drag, the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the earth to devour and destroy. I will hand them over to trouble, to all kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, for what he did in Jerusalem.”
The tipping point occurred when God could no longer take the wickedness of the people who had been led into sin by their king!
What is the tipping point for America – for any nation who increasingly abandons God? Let us look at just one of the sins we have continued to commit. Why just one? Because, according to the Bible and before God, it is one of the major reasons God brought judgment on the kingdom of Judah:
Mentioned above is the pagan Canaanite practice of child sacrifice, which Israel and Judah imitated! When the inhabitants of Canaan were driven out by the advancing Israelites, they established settlements along the Mediterranean coast of North Africa. According to the website, biblereadingarcheology.com, (search Carthage, child sacrifice):
Most notable among these [settlements] was the colony of Carthage in modern-day Tunisia. That city-state became so powerful it at one time rivaled the Roman republic. Carthaginians spoke the Canaanite language and importantly, practiced Canaanite religion. They also seemed to have brought with them their cruel predilection for child sacrifice. In 1921, French archeologists excavated some of... ancient Carthage. One site appeared to be an ancient graveyard. The site had hundreds of grave markers. Underneath each one was a clay urn containing the cremated remains of human infants....The archeolo- gists dubbed this place a “Tophet”, which is the Hebrew word for the place of child sacrifice near Jerusalem in Jeremiah 7:31. In time, many more To- phet cemeteries were discovered. The largest con- tained the remains of approximately 20,000 infants in urns....
Twenty thousand in one cemetery! How many more were in the “many more Tophet cemeteries…”? No wonder God judged the Canaanite nations! No wonder He also judged Israel and Judah for imitating the Canaanites and participating in child sacrifice! As God told His prophet in Jeremiah 7:31 (God’s Word to the Nations), “They have built worship sites at Topheth in the valley of Ben Hinnom…to burn their sons and daughters as sacrifices. I did not ask for this. It never entered my mind .” (See also Jeremiah 19:5; 32:35).
How many infant lives have we sacrificed in the United States? It is estimated that almost 62 million babies’ lives have ended through legal abortion since Roe vs. Wade in 1973! Worldwide, the number is around 56 million…each year!
Where, before God, is the tipping point?
Even though King Manasseh’s grandson Josiah led a revival among his people, and did what else he could to return the nation of Judah back to God (see II Chronicles 34:1-35:19), the LORD in II Chronicles 34:27 and 28, still told him:
“...because your heart was tender, and you humbled your- self before God when you heard the words against this place and against its inhabitants...I also have heard you,” says the LORD. “Surely I will gather you to... your grave in peace; and your eyes shall not see all the calamity on this place and its inhabitants.”
The tipping point for Judah had been reached! Nothing in that nation, done by either king or people, could now turn away divine judgment from being poured out!
I pray that we have not reached the tipping point, even though we are experiencing a pandemic, economic and personal stress, riots, upheaval in politics, etc. I hope this is not the beginning of judgment poured out because we are past the tipping point! I still pray that we will turn to God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength! (See Mark 12:30). I pray that this will happen now, or very soon…
…before we reach God’s tipping point!