Submission and Obedience


Josiah was a righteous man, as outlined in another article, "What a Difference You Can Make!" He rose to the throne of Judah following the death of his father, Manasseh, who was the most wicked king Judah ever had. The books of II Chronicles and II Kings relate the acts of Manasseh that stirred God's wrath and prompted Him to declare judgment on Judah for her awful sins:

  1. Manasseh rebuilt altars dedicated to idols and false gods that his own father, King Hezekiah, had torn down in order to restore the worship of God in Judah.

  2. Manasseh also built altars to the Baals. Base sex worship was foundational, and religious prostitution was even commanded as part of Baal worship. Human sacrifice was common. In an effort to placate their gods--and it was a frequent practice--parents killed their young children and buried them in the foundations of a house or public building at the time of construction. Manasseh even sacrificed his own son! Baal worship was pagan and defiled.

  3. Manasseh made Asherim. The symbol of Asherah was the stem of a tree deprived of its boughs, rudely shaped into an image and planted in the ground. The rituals associated with the goddess Asherah included idolatrous worship, implying, as in Judges 6, that the worship of Asherah was an apostate behavior, improper and forbidden for followers of Jehovah.

  4. Manasseh worshipped the host of heaven and served them. The Bible plainly forbade the worship of the host of heaven (Deuteronomy 4:19; 17:3). When Josiah instituted his reforms, he took away from the Temple the horses "dedicated to the sun" (II Kings 23:11). Ezekiel cites men worshiping the sun as an abomination. All forms of worshiping the host of heaven was an abomination to God.

  5. Manasseh desecrated God's House by building altars to the hosts of heaven in the outer courts of the Temple. Manasseh intentionally shook his fist in God's face with his defiant occult practices.

  6. Manasseh practiced witchcraft. Witchcraft is from the devil and anyone who practices it will not enter into Heaven. It is an abomination to God! Satan is very powerful, and draws people to practice all evilness and things of the occult. Leviticus states that those who practice witchcraft were to be put to death for that sin: "You must be holy because I, the LORD, am holy. I have set you apart from all other people to be my very own. Men and women among you who act as mediums or who consult the spirits of the dead must be put to death by stoning. They are guilty of a capital offense." The prophet Samuel defined witchcraft to Saul when he said, "Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination (witchcraft) and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry."

  7. Manasseh used divination in other forms such as fortune tellers. Divination is any communication with a deity for the purpose of determining the deity's knowledge about a decision or discernment of the future.

  8. Manasseh practiced sorcery. The Bible clearly condemns any form of sorcery including spells, divination, involvement with spirits, and other dark spiritual activity. II Chronicles lists the reasons for the condemnation of King Manasseh. Included with burning his son as an offering are fortune-telling, omens, sorcery, and consulting mediums and necromancers (those who say they communicate with the dead). The Greek word for sorcery is pharmakeia--where we get the English word for 'pharmacy.' In New Testament times, sorcerers often used drugs as they practiced their dark arts. The current drug culture opens its users to demons and all forms of communication or influence by the devil and his henchmen. Revelation says that in the end times, nearly the whole world will be deceived by sorcery. The end result for the sorcerers themselves is a lake of fire and the second death.

  9. Manasseh dealt with mediums and spiritists. Leviticus 19:31 warns: "Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God." Spiritists and mediums were common among the pagan peoples of the Bible. Just before their entry into the Promised Land of Canaan, God warned the children of Israel not to become involved in these practices. "When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD" (Deuteronomy 18:9-12). A channeler is a mystic who becomes a channel or receptive agent for intelligent communications coming from the spirit world. What does God say about mediumship? Leviticus 20:6 declares, "As for the person who turns to mediums and to spiritists, to play the harlot after them, I will also set My face against that person and will cut him off from among his people."

  10. Manasseh took the carved image of an idol he had made and set it up inside the Temple of God, the very temple where God said He put His name forever! Manasseh foreshadowed what the antichrist is going to do in the Third Temple yet to be built in Jerusalem: he will seat himself on the throne in the temple and demand that the world worship him as god.

  11. Manasseh sacrificed his own children by fire in the valley of Ben-hinnom. Child sacrifice was practiced in the name of Molech (also spelled Moloch or Molek), a god of the Ammonites. The Ammonites and Canaanites revered Molech as a protecting father figure. An image of Molech was made of bronze, and the outstretched arms were heated red-hot by a blazing fire in his belly. Living children were then placed into the idol's hands and died there or were rolled into the fire pit below. Leviticus 20:2-5 states, "Say to the Israelites: 'Any Israelite or any foreigner residing in Israel who sacrifices any of his children to Molek is to be put to death. The members of the community are to stone him. I myself will set my face against him and will cut him off from his people; for by sacrificing his children to Molek, he has defiled my sanctuary and profaned by holy name. If the members of the community close their eyes when that man sacrifices one of his children to Molek and if they fail to put him to death, I myself will set my face against him and his family and will cut them off from their people together with all who follow him in prostituting themselves to Molek.'" The peple of Judah participated in this crime against their own sons--a sin so 'detestable' that God said it had never even crossed His mind (Jeremiah 32:35). Child sacrifice was one reason for the Babylonian captivity (verse 36). There is also a correlation with child sacrifice at the hands of abortionists for the sake of convenience, immorality, or pride. Hundreds of thousands of babies have been murdered so that their parents can maintain a certain lifestyle. God hates "hands that shed innocent blood" (Proverbs 6:17), and we can be sure that God will judge this horrendous sin.

Dabbling in or practicing activities that step into the spiritual domain other than the guidance of the Holy Spirit and a relationship with God through Jesus Christ is condemned and dangerous. James writes that an earthly wisdom which is unspiritual is from the enemy of our souls. It is occultic. Instead, Christians should seek wisdom from God, which is pure and is something He gives generously when we ask.

By his actions and examples, Manasseh led Judah into sins more evil than those practiced by nations God had driven out of the Promised Land many years before. America is seeing the same sort of foul pollution of her culture with the worst sins imaginable being introduced through the acceptance of transgenderism, sex education of a pornographic nature beginning in kindergarten, and persecution of Christians for holding true to Biblical values and commandments. Manassseh was the epitome of wickedness because he defied God and led Judah into serving idols and occult practices forbidden by Him. We are seeing the same scenario play out in America, and, as a result, she is bringing down the judgment of God on the nation.

What made it even worse is that Manasseh was a Jew, the recipient of God's blessings throughout their history as a people. He had access to the truths of God even from Hezekiah, his father, but also from the nation's collective memory. He chose to utterly reject all of it, and intentionally adopted God-less forms of worshiping false gods and devils. Cannot we say the same about America today?

In defiance, Manasseh introduced idolatry and communicating with the occult to Israel, including burning their children in the fire of Molech to appease the gods they worshipped. God had absolutely forbidden child sacrifice, but Manasseh blatantly adopted it throughout the domain and caused the people to sin by doing it, as well. For that, in particular, God declared impending judgment on Judah.

It wasn't until the thirteenth year of Josiah's reign that God put the message of coming judgment into the mouth of Jeremiah to deliver to Josiah and Judah. Because Josiah humbled himself and sought God personally, got rid of the idols and evil practices of his father and grandfather, restored the Temple and worship to its rightful and holy God, and obeyed His word, the Torah, that Judah was spared judgment during Josiah's lifetime. God said it was so.

America is on a course parallel to that of Judah's. She was founded on Christian principles with a covenant called the Mayflower Compact that promised adherence to God's word and obedience to Him. In recent decades moral decadence has seeped into our culture. Free love and the drug scene opened doors to satanic worship and the occult. In 1963 Madeline Murray O'Hare fought for the removal of prayer and Bible reading from public schools and won. Legalized abortion began in New York in 1970 and, in 1973, Roe v Wade legalized it nationwide, leading to the murder of well over 60 million babies at this writing. Abolishment of the definition of marriage as being between one woman and one man was struck down by SCOTUS in 2015. Moral breakdown in all our fundamental institutions caught fire with the adoption of the LGBTQ agenda in every part of our culture.

...and these are but the tip of the iceberg! God has every reason to judge America for her own sins and for polluting countries of the globe by her faithless examples of ungodliness! America has blood on her hands: abortion, sex trafficking, drug addictions and peddling pornography, co-habitation without marriage and all her sexual perversions and practices.

All this evil has taken America by storm because of her rejection of God as her Lord! And God has given her over to believe a lie! Judgment is certain! and when it comes, it will be a thousand times worse than a COVID-19 pandemic. The nation will topple, her economy will crumble and blood will flow in the streets! Yet, if we look at Josiah's example, there is still time for America to repent and stall the coming of that judgment. Will those called by His name be sincere enough in their repentance and turning from sin back to God to stay judgment? Only God knows.

The Bible says we are to break up the fallow ground of our heart. We are to stir ourselves. We are to humble ourselves before Him. We cannot and must not expect God to do in us what He says we must do in ourselves. Are we so asleep that we're not willing to rise from our slumber and get down to brass tacks before God? Time is short and the next weeks will be telling. Our nation either repents and finds God's favor for a period of time, or we snore our way to judgment! When it's too late to turn back--what an awakening that will be!

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Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®
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