Wonder of God Meditations 25: Discipline Humbles
2 Chron 33:11b “the army commanders … took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackle and took him to Babylon.”
Nasty! Let loose, the world (as we noted yesterday) is often ‘not nice’! In the present instance it’s in respect of godless Manasseh who actually deserves the death penalty for what he is doing in Israel (Lev 24:16, Num 25:5, the whole of Deut 13). Oh yes, that was how serious it was, what Israel were doing before the Lord. As this is mass disobedience, for Manasseh had led the people astray and the nation had turned to idols, we might expect the Lord to bring utter destruction upon them. Well that, perhaps, is what they thought was happening but it was only very limited. The focus is on the king, it is Manasseh who is taken off to Babylon in chains, demoted from king to slave.
This is Manasseh utterly demeaned and humbled by painful and horrible actions and circumstances. His end had clearly come! This terrible pagan king (yes, that is how he appeared), the powerful head of his people, is now a nobody. He is utterly abased, belittled and humiliated, even with a horrible hook in his nose! When the Lord steps back and let’s sinful humanity do its thing in the manner we considered yesterday, humanity shows how low it can sink, causing hurt and pain to one another. Man’s inhumanity to man is one of the hardest facts to take when we realise the cost of giving us free will.
Now Manasseh is on the receiving end of that inhumanity and it is painful and degrading and it would not be surprising if he wished he were dead. But he’s still alive! And that, in many ways, is amazing, that this godless king over God’s people who has been leading them utterly astray, has not be destroyed. Why? We’ll see.
Sometimes sanity is only regained when we have been really brought low. So much of the time, sinful mankind suffers from the blight of pride whereby we totally lose perspective and tragically it needs a crisis to bring us to our senses. It you are watching a crisis you are watching an opportunity for change. We need to tease this out a bit more for it is fundamental to the Bible. God created mankind and gave us free will and we use that free will to sin (yes, and to do many good things as well, let’s not forget that). But those sinful acts have impact, yes on others, but also on us. I have used the words ‘self-destructive’ of such attitudes and actions for that is what they do; they demean us and make us less than what we were designed for, but when let to run amok the end product is destruction. The hope, along the way, is that as we become aware of what is happening we will repent, seeing the folly of what we are doing