Manasseh is an evil king. He rebuilds all the high places his dad tore down, he practices witchcraft, and he even places a carved image of Asherah in the house of the Lord. “So 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.”
The Lord’s anger is provoked and He delivers His people into the hands of the Assyrians “who took Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze fetters, and carried him off to Babylon.” There Manasseh humbles himself, cries out to the Lord, and repents. The Lord hears his cries and brings him back to Jerusalem. “Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.” So Manasseh obviously learns the hard way…but he does learn.
Manasseh goes on to clean house of all the foreign gods and he commands Judah to worship the Lord. When Manasseh dies, his evil son, Amon, becomes king but not for long. Amon’s servants kill him and then Amon’s son, Josiah, becomes the next king of Judah.
Josiah is only 8 at the time and he reigns 31 years. Josiah does what it right in the sight of the Lord. When Josiah is 16 he begins seeking the Lord and when he turns 20 he begins purging the land of all the false gods.
Next we meet Jeremiah, a young man called into ministry in the 13th year of Josiah’s reign. The Lord has a very specific calling on the life of Jeremiah. The Lord is going to use him to send a message to Judah. Like Moses in the Exodus Era and Gideon in the Judges Era, Jeremiah questions if he is up to the calling. As with Moses and Gideon, God tells him that He, the Lord God Almighty, will be the One doing the work. Jeremiah, like the others, will simply be an instrument in the Lord’s hand.
So the Lord sends Jeremiah to Jerusalem to bring a case against His people. “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns – broken cisterns that can hold no water.” The people have left the life giving Lord for useless false gods. As a result the people will experience judgment but one day in this amazing Story Jesus will cry out to the people: “‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:37-39). After Jesus ascends to the right hand of the Father, He will send the Holy Spirit upon those who believe to seal their salvation (Ephesians 1:3) and to equip them for the work of the ministry; to be a light in a dark world.
More from Jeremiah tomorrow so keep reading.
(2 Kings 21:1-9, 2 Chronicles 33:1-9, 2 Kings 21:10-17, 2 Chronicles 33:10-19, 2 Kings 21:18, 2 Chronicles 33:20, 2 Kings 21:19-26, 2 Chronicles 33:21-25, 2 Kings 22:1-2, 2 Chronicles 34:1-7, Jeremiah 1:1-2:22)