Noah’s biography isn’t about Noah. It’s about a gracious God who secures our salvation. The story of the Hebrew’s exit from Egypt isn’t about the slave’s revolt, but rather, reveals our Redeemer and His extraordinary mercy. The story of Jonah isn’t about a fish, it’s about a Sovereign God. The focus of the entire Bible, New Testament and Old Testament, is always Jesus. The ancestral line from David to Jesus is checkered with failures and faith, with rebellion and restoration, with wickedness and righteousness. The main character isn’t David, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, or Josiah. They all point to the Messiah, whose righteous rule would be established eternally (2 Samuel 7:12-16; 1 Chronicles 17:11-14).
“Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, imitating the detestable practices of the nations that the Lord had dispossessed before the Israelites. He rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had torn down and reestablished the altars for the Baals. He made Asherah poles, and he bowed in worship to all the stars in the sky and served them. He built altars in the Lord’s temple... He passed his sons through the fire in Ben Hinnom Valley. He practiced witchcraft, divination, and sorcery, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did a huge amount of evil in the Lord’s sight, angering him... Manasseh caused Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to stray so that they did worse evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites” (2 Chronicles 33:1–9).
Some probably thought that it couldn’t get any worse, that the next king would be better. They were wrong. Manasseh’s son, “Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight... Amon increased his guilt. So his servants conspired against him and put him to death in his own house. The common people killed all who had conspired against King Amon, and they made his son Josiah king in his place” (2 Chronicles 33:21–25).
Josiah was different! He didn’t follow the pattern set by his father and grandfather. “Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. He did what was right in the Lord’s sight and walked in the ways of his ancestor David; he did not turn aside to the right or the left. In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still a youth, Josiah began to seek the God of his ancestor David, and in the twelfth year he began to cleanse Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherah poles, the carved images, and the cast images” (2 Chronicles 34:1-3).
As the king’s workmen carried the garbage out of the temple, they “found the book of the law” (2 Kings 22:8). “So the king sent messengers, and they gathered all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem to him. Then the king went to the Lord’s temple with all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, as well as the priests and the prophets—all the people from the youngest to the oldest. He read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant that had been found in the Lord’s temple. Next, the king ... made a covenant in the Lord’s presence to follow the Lord and to keep his commands, his decrees, and his statutes with all his heart and with all his soul in order to carry out the words of this covenant that were written in this book; all the people agreed to the covenant” (2 Kings 23:1–3).
If you’re like me, you have eleventy-seven copies of the Bible. Maybe you wouldn’t have to carry out the trash just to find it, but what would happen if we read it... really read it, knowing that the words on the pages are really God’s words directed personally and intimately to us?
“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14, NKJV).
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.