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Bible Commentaries

Simeon's Horae Homileticae

2 Chronicles 33

Verses 10-13

DISCOURSE: 430
MANASSEH’S REPENTANCE

2 Chronicles 33:10-13. And the Lord spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken. Wherefore the Lord brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon. And when he was in affliction, he besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed unto him: and he was entreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord he was God.

IN histories written by men, our attention is continually directed to second causes; but in the inspired records we see every event traced up to the first Great Cause of all. The rise and fall of empires or of individuals are equally appointed of God for the accomplishment of his own gracious purposes, and for the manifestation of his own glory: and, however casual or contingent any circumstances may appear to be, they are as much under his control, and as certainly fulfil his will, as the stated courses of the heavenly bodies.
In confirmation of this, we need go no further than to the words before us; in which we see,

I.

The means by which Manasseh was brought to repentance—

[King Manasseh was perhaps the most wicked of the human race: he was piously educated; yet he totally eradicated from his own mind, and from the breasts of his people, all remembrance of the instructions which his father Hezekiah had given them. He consulted wizards, set up idols even in the house of God itself, made his children pass through fire to Moloch, and filled Jerusalem with the blood of innocents from one end to another. He acted himself, and caused all his people to act, worse than the heathen whom God had cast out for their impieties [Note: Compare 2 Kings 21:0 with the preceding part of this chapter.].

To reclaim him God had sent many holy men and prophets to warn and exhort him: but “neither he nor his people would hearken unto them.”
At last, determined to overcome him, and to make him an everlasting monument of grace and mercy. God stirred up the king of Assyria against him [Note: The king of Babylon, who on account of his having added Assyria to his dominions is called the king of Assyria, is said to have been “brought upon” Manasseh by God himself. And, however he might be actuated by ambition or avarice, he was certainly no more than an instrument by whom God himself acted. Compare Psa 17:13 and Isaiah 10:5-6; Isaiah 10:15. with 2 Kings 24:2-4.]; and caused Manasseh to be vanquished, to be dragged from the thicket where he had secreted himself [Note: 1 Samuel 13:6.], and to be carried a poor miserable captive in fetters to Babylon.

This prevailed, when all other means had been used in vain. And is it not by these means that God has often subdued, and yet subdues many stout-hearted sinners to himself [Note: 2 Samuel 24:10; 2 Samuel 24:17.]? How many perhaps amongst us must say, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; for before I was afflicted I went astray; but now have I kept thy word [Note: Psalms 119:67; Psalms 119:71.].”]

We are further informed concerning,

II.

The way in which his repentance shewed itself—

[Affliction does not necessarily produce repentance. Ahaz trespassed yet more in his distress [Note: 2 Chronicles 28:22.]; and the wicked in hell, so far from being softened by their pains, blaspheme their God while they gnaw their tongues for anguish [Note: Revelation 16:10.]. But in him it was effectual, through the grace of God, to bring him to repentance. In his prosperity he was hardened [Note: Jeremiah 22:21.], and would not hear [Note: Zechariah 7:11-12.Jeremiah 5:3; Jeremiah 5:3.]; but “in his affliction he besought the Lord.”

Two things more especially are noticed: “he humbled himself greatly;” and “he prayed unto God” earnestly. He called his ways to remembrance and confessed his guilt, and justified God in all that had come upon him, and in all that ever should come upon him, declaring it was far “less than his iniquities deserved.” Then he poured out his soul in fervent prayer, “offering his supplications with strong crying and tears,” and wrestling, as it were, with God, to obtain a blessing [Note: His prayer is repeatedly noticed, ver. 18, 19. doubtless on account of its fervour.].

Thus will repentance shew itself, wherever it is found: whether we be brought to it by afflictions, or not; yea, whether we have committed such wickedness as Manasseh, or not; these will be the leading features of our experience, if we be truly penitent. The first mark of Paul’s repentance was, “Behold, he prayeth!” and what his thoughts of himself were, we may judge from his calling himself “the chief of sinners.” Inquire then, beloved Brethren, whether you have ever been brought to humble yourselves before God; and that not a little, but “greatly?” Inquire, whether your cries to God are humble, fervent, constant, believing? Consider, “that without repentance you must all perish;” and that this alone will warrant you to conclude your repentance genuine and “saving.”]

Its efficacy will appear from,

III.

The blessed issue of it—

[Horrible as his iniquities had been, they did not prevent his prayers from coming up with acceptance before God.
Behold the issue of this repentance, first, in respect to his temporal comfort! God restored him again to the possession of his kingdom. And it is certain that innumerable judgments would be removed from men, provided the offenders were duly humbled by means of them. We say not indeed that God will always remove the afflictions he has sent, even though we should be ever so much humbled under them; because he may see that the continuance of them is as necessary for our welfare as the first sending of them was: but he will convert them into blessings, and make them subservient to our best interests.

Next, observe the issue of his repentance in respect to his spiritual advantage. He neither knew God, nor concerned himself about him in the day of his prosperity: but now he “knew that Jehovah was God.” He saw that he was a just and holy God, yea, a God of truth also, who sooner or later would punish sin. He felt that he was a powerful God, “able to abase those who walk in pride,” and able also to deliver those whose situation was most desperate. Above all, he knew experimentally that God was a God of infinite mercy and compassion, since he had attended to his prayer, and vouchsafed mercy to his guilty soul. Under this conviction he strove, to the latest hour of his life, to remedy all the evil he had ever done, and to glorify his God as much as he had before dishonoured him.

And did ever any one repent, and not find his repentance issue in clearer manifestations of God’s love to his soul, and in a richer experience of his power and grace? No: as long as the world stands, “God will comfort all that mourn in Zion, and give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.”]

We may learn then from hence,
1.

The importance of improving ordinances—

[The contempt poured on God’s messages was one principal mean of bringing down those judgments on Manasseh. And does not God speak to us by his ministers; and notice how we receive the word? And will not that “word be a savour of death unto us, if it be not a savour of life unto life?” Lay this to heart, all ye who have heard the word in vain: and know that if you slight the message which God sends you by his ministers, he will consider you as pouring contempt upon himself [Note: 1 Thessalonians 4:8.].]

2.

The use and benefit of afflictions—

[Afflictions, of whatever kind they be, proceed from God; and are intended for our good [Note: Hosea 5:15.Hebrews 12:10; Hebrews 12:10.]. They have a voice, no less than his ministers; and it is our duty to “hear the rod, and Him that appointed it [Note: Micah 6:9.].” Quarrel not then with any afflictions that may be sent you; but receive them as tokens of God’s love, and as messengers of his mercy. What reason had Manasseh to adore his God for the loss of an empire, yea, for cruel captivity, for galling fetters, and a loathsome dungeon! Without them he had been now in chains of darkness and the prison of hell. Thy trials probably are no less necessary for thine eternal welfare. Improve them then for the humbling of thy soul, and for the furtherance of thine everlasting salvation.]

3.

The wonderful mercy of our God—

[Who would have thought that such a sinner as Manasseh could ever have obtained mercy? Yet God has pardoned him, and set him forth as a pattern, in order to magnify the exceeding riches of his own grace. Let none then despair. If we were as vile as Manasseh himself, we should go to God with an assurance that he would not cast us out, provided we were truly contrite, and sought for mercy through the blood of Jesus. On the other hand, let us not presume upon this mercy, and go on in sin under the hope that we shall at last repent and be saved. To-day God calls us; to-morrow the door of mercy may be shut. The Lord grant that we may now repent like Manasseh, and henceforth like him devote ourselves entirely to the service of our God!]


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Bibliographical Information
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 33". Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/shh/2-chronicles-33.html. 1832.