Yes, King Manasseh “repaired” some things he had previously ignored. Including the “altar” at Solomon’s Temple! “And he repaired the altar of the LORD, and sacrificed thereon peace offerings and thank offerings, and commanded Judah to serve the LORD God of Israel.” 2nd Chronicles 33:16, our text this morning.
The verb here translated “repaired” (in Hebrew “banah”) is only used that way twice in the Bible, just twice in its 376 Old Testament appearances! But 354 times it is expressed as “built” or “built up” … in the King James Bible anyway. Two times “banah” means “to set up” something.
This altar (likely the brass altar, the main altar of sacrifice, not the golden altar of incense) must have been so misused (or abused) that it had about become marginal!
Yes, Manasseh is trying to correct his many years of rebellion.
And such repentance always leads to worship!
Now look what the King did next. He “sacrifices” to Almighty God, both “peace offerings” and “thank offerings.” Get this. Most of the time the “peace offering” was voluntary, a free-will act on the part of the bringer. And the “thank offering” was always optional!
Maybe Manasseh has begun to develop a real love for the Lord!
And he wanted his people (the very Jews he had led astray, led into apostasy, for several decades) to now “follow” the Lord as well. In fact … “He commanded Judah” to do so, to serve the Lord. The verb used to express “commanded” is simply “amar,” meaning “to speak” the word!
He told the Israelites to “do right!”
But following God is not always something that can be mandated. Real eagerness to serve God comes, must come, from a willing heart!
Many, many times what the Law cannot do … Love can accomplish!
Yet today’s verse does show come good signs … about Manasseh’s “new” way of doing things.
“And he repaired the altar of the LORD, and sacrificed thereon peace offerings and thank offerings, and commanded Judah to serve the LORD God of Israel.”
These acts have the “savor” of Revival, don’t they?
And yet tomorrow (and days following) we learn that everyone did not adhere to Manasseh’s new rules. Not “from the heart” anyway. Including his Son, Amnon, the next King of Judah!
A Lesson I’m leaning: Moral “decay” does not occur overnight. Neither does moral “rectitude” return overnight! (The word is Latin, “rectus,” meaning “straight, right.”)
Oh, how our Nation needs genuine Revival!
— Dr. Mike Bagwell