I adapted this story from an adult Sunday School lesson given to me by my preacher and used it in my Sunday School class made up of girls, ages 8-12. If you can use this, you are welcome to do so.
A Wicked King of Judah
Back in the Bible days when the Jews were ruled by kings, there was once a godly king named Hezekiah. The Bible says in II Kings 18:4 that Hezekiah "did that which was right in the sight of the Lord. . . .He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; so that after him there was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him. For he clave to the Lord, and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments......And the Lord was with him; and he prospered withersoever he went forth..." One of the greatest things that Hezekiah did was that he destroyed the altars and false idols that the people of Israel worshipped. Also, when he rebelled against the king of Assyria, he chose not to serve this king, but instead trusted God to deliver him. He was a very godly man for much of his life and he obeyed and trusted God.
But later in life, King Hezekiah became very sick and the Lord told him that he was going to die. Hezekiah wept and prayed to God, saying, "I beseech thee, O Lord, remember now how I have
walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight." God heard his prayer and told the great prophet Isaiah to tell King Hezekiah that he would let him live for 15 more years.
Then, three years later, King Hezekiah had a son named Manasseh. This was a very special birth because if God had not let King Hezekiah live 15 more years, Manasseh would not have been born. You would think that because God let him live longer and also gave him a son that King Hezekiah would have been very thankful and would have loved God. But, no, King Hezekiah instead became backslidden and didn't care. He did a very wicked thing by showing his armory and treasury to the enemy and when he was told that his people would one day suffer for it, he had an uncaring and selfish attitude. He said, "Is it not good, if peace and truth be in MY days." He didn't care, so long as God's judgment didn't affect HIM. This is very sad because he lived the first part of his life as a man who wanted to please God and then in the last part of his life he didn't care about pleasing God.
After King Hezekiah died, his son Manasseh became the King of Judah at the young age of 12. Do you think that King Hezekiah's attitude affected his son Manasseh and how he reigned? The Bible indicates that it did. The Bible says in II Kings 20:2 that Manasseh "did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out before the children of Israel." Manasseh was not a good, godly king as his father was for most of his life; instead, he was a wicked king. This is very sad because Manasseh had a chance to be pleasing to God, but he chose to live a sinful life by disobeying God. Let's look at some of the wicked things that Manasseh did.
One of the things that Manasseh did was that he sinned against the House of the Lord. The Bible says in II Kings 21:3 "For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal, and made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them." Remember how Manasseh's father, King Hezekiah, had gotten rid of the wicked idols that the people of Israel worshipped? Manasseh brought those idols back and chose to serve them instead of the true and living God. His father had been victorious in getting rid of the idols, but Manasseh sinned and brought them back. In verses 4-5, the Bible says, "And he built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord said, in Jerusalem will I put my name. And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord." This was very, very wicked. Not only did Manasseh bring back the idols, but he put them in God's house and built altars for them in God's house!! This would be like someone getting a statue of Buddha or some other false god and putting it in our church and worshipping him! Manasseh must have hated God and he surely didn't fear God or he would not have done these terribly wicked things.
Another thing that Manasseh did was that he sinned against God's Word. The Bible says in verse 6 "And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger." In the book of Leviticus, God commanded His people not to put their children through the fire to a false god named Molech. (Lev. 18:21) Manasseh did that -- he killed his son by putting him through the fire in worship of the false god Molech. Isn't that sad and wicked? Even though it was a sin for Manasseh to kill his son, the biggest sin was that he went against the Bible on purpose!
Manasseh disobeyed the Bible in another way. The Bible also says to "Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God." (Lev. 19:31) This means that God's people (both the Jews of the Old Testament and Christians of today) are commanded to not have anything to do with witchcraft or fortune tellers or anything like that, but the Bible says that Manasseh did that. This is a sin. This is why the Harry Potter books are so wicked, because they have to do with witchcraft. Christians should not ever go against God's Word, even if the world thinks there's nothing wrong with it.
Manasseh also sinned greatly in that he sinned against the people of God. The Bible says in II Kings 21:9, "...and Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the children of Israel." Not only did Manasseh do wicked things himself, but he tried to get God's people to follow him -- and they did!
Manasseh also sinned against his own children. The Bible says that his son Amon "did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as did Manasseh his father." Not only did Manasseh live a life that was not pleasing to God, but he also taught his son to live a life like that. This is very wrong because the Bible says that parents are to train their children up for the Lord. It is very sad when parents who know better choose to do what they want to instead of obey God.
Another evil thing that Manasseh did was that he was responsible for arresting the great prophet Isaiah and having him placed inside a hollow log and then having him sawn in half. Isaiah was a great man of God who wrote a very important book in the Bible. His words foretell the birth of Jesus and also how Jesus would be the sacrifice for our sins. Manasseh must have hated God something awful and he must have had a very wicked heart to kill such a great Man of God.
But you know what? His life ended on a much more positive note than the majority of his life because while he was imprisoned, he got saved! Even though God forgave him of his sins and saved him, He did not forget the sins of Manasseh. God instead chose to allow His wrath to come upon Judah and later had the people of Israel taken into captivity by their enemies the Babylonians! I'm sure Manasseh was very sad after he got saved and realized the problems that all of his sins caused. Because of the way he lived his life, his children lived wicked lives and probably went to Hell when they died. Also, the people of Israel turned away from God and worshipped wicked false idols. They probably went to Hell when they died, too.
What can we learn from the life of Manasseh?
Probably the most important thing we can learn from the life of Manasseh it is very important for us to live a life that is pleasing to God. We should obey God's Word and we should also try to be a good example to others.