Dumb Prayers (8/2/13)

Read: 2 Chronicles 32:1-33:13, Romans 15:23-16:9, Psalm 25:16-22, Proverbs 20:16-18

Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. (2 Chronicles 33:1)

Epic Facepalm

Relate: David was the greatest king Israel > Judah had. No question, hands down. After David if you were looking from a purely political point of view, Solomon was probably second but Hezekiah would definitely be in the top five. He faced the greatest test the nation faced from its founding right up to the exile. If you are ranking them based on their godliness, I’d put him second. Maybe third behind Josiah. With that in mind, 2 Kings 22:1 is one of the saddest verses in the Bible.

Earlier in today’s reading, Isaiah came to Hezekiah and told him, “Put your house in order, you’re going to die.” Like the pleading baby we all can be Hezekiah cries out, “I DON’T WANNA DIE!!!” God hears this cry and grants him another fifteen years of life. When those fifteen years are up, Hezekiah goes the way of his ancestors and his son Manasseh takes the throne. Manasseh is twelve years old when he becomes king. Without question he is the most ungodly king Judah has ever had. It is because of the sins Manasseh led the people in for fifty-five years that God sends the Babylonians and Judah is a sovereign nation no more.

When God first told Hezekiah to put his house in order, the king should have listened. If he manned up and listened instead of pleading for more life, Manasseh would never have been born. He didn’t know it, but he was asking for the worst possible thing he could have. God granted his request but as a result, everything turned to ash.

React: Be careful what you pray for… God just might answer it.

Respond: 

No matter what I’m asking for, God give me more of You. If I am asking for riches, give me an abundance of grace. If I’m asking for security, shelter me under Your wing. If I’m asking for companionship, be near me. God, most of my prayers are dumb. I don’t mean them to be, I just don’t have Your greater knowledge. Please don’t answer them unless it is in a way that will draw me, and others, closer to You.

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48 thoughts on “Dumb Prayers (8/2/13)

  1. I’ve always thought there was something kind of sketchy about that prayer of Hezekiah’s, but it never occurred to me that if he hadn’t prayed it and it hadn’t been granted, Manasseh would never have been born. Mind blown again, my friend. (You have no idea how often you keep doing that.) Thanks for these thoughts.

  2. I have heard that saying: “Be careful for what you wish [pray] for” most of my life. But you are the first one I have ever read that put a biblical context to this social wisdom. Thanks.

  3. Thanks for sharing about Hezekiah. Actually, our church is now holding its 44th annual convention, and the theme of the convention is “Set Thine House in Order,” (Isaiah 38:1). I had to write my message regarding this theme as the Pastor, and it’s really a great story and lesson to learn. God bless you dearly, as you continue to establish your walk with Him.

  4. We really should be careful for what we pray for…but things like that happens when we don’t pray God’s Will. The bible is very clear when it says in James 4:3 You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it upon your lusts.

    Our motives are wrong and when they are wrong we don’t get…this is why we must be int une with the Father’s heart so that we will know the heart of God and what is His Will and not ours.

    Thanks for sharing this story…I pray that every one who has read it and those who will come by later to read it take something from it and allow the Spirit of Truth to rest in their hearts. In Jesus name I pray ..AMEN

  5. Yes, BJ, when God speaks, we’d do well to listen. Hezekiah foolishly showed all the wealth of the kingdom to Babylonian emissaries, setting the stage for their return.
    Manasseh did have a relatively brief positive turn to good at the end of his life. Once he did, I would think he would’ve worn sackcloth and ashes the rest of his days–so awful were those terrible decades of evil.
    You speak of Josiah. He came close, oh, so close, to being a great king. But rather than follow God’s direction, he went out against Pharaoh Neco, I believe it was, and was killed in battle. Sometimes we get so used to winning, we don’t know when to stop.
    Thank you for your continued devotion to speaking truth.

  6. At the time, he may have thought it was a good prayer.
    God does have a sense of humor when answering prayers. We had a bakery move in across the street from our house. I thought having a bakery would be great – the smell of fresh bread and discounts. Instead the whole neighborhood got an infestation of cockroaches because they threw their scraps out back. Absolutely nothing I tried to get rid of them worked. Finally, I prayed that God would get rid of them. I expected to wake up in the morning to a house free of cockroaches. Instead, I had field mice all over the place! I wondered how much worse it could get and fussed at God. Within the next few days the cockroaches were gone. I learned that field mice love cockroach eggs. It was easier to set out a few mouse traps to keep them under control. As an added bonus, every house I have lived in since then has field mice and no cockroaches. The Lord and I often laugh about his “little joke”. Now, I thank Him for the field mice.
    Often we get answers to our prayers, just not the way we expected; because of that, we sometimes don’t realize our prayer was answered.
    Romans 8:26

  7. I think I needed to hear this because I have long been praying for something that is most likely pointless and selfish. I really shouldn’t worry that God isn’t answering it, because it may not be what He wants for me, but I stress out anyway! How silly humans are

  8. I can not think of the times I have read about Hezakiah and never put it together that his son was born after he should have died. God did not make the son bad, so what did the son see to turn out the way he did? Maybe Hezakiah spoiled his son, giving him everything he ever wanted? It is obvious that Hezakiah did not teach his son about following God. A lesson to all who read this story. Yes, even children raised by godly parents can go bad. Maybe it was lack of meaningful prayer that Hezakiah did not learn to use? It causes your mind to go through all the thoughts once you learn that Hezakiah’s son was born after he should have been dead. What we have to remember is, while God will allow people to go bad, He does not make them bad.
    Great Post and I loved it as I did learn something new, something I had never put together.
    Love of a sister in Christ,
    Margaret

  9. I don’t see where the text warrants that interpretation, BUT I appreciate your post because we must be careful as to how we read most of the Historical narratives in the Old Testament (and even in the NT). Most of those stories simply tell us how screwed up the people were (if I hear a sermon on Jephthrah and how it teaches us the importance of vows I will throw up). Many of those stories are not morality plays, but God plays – Turn to God, Turn to God, Turn to God. On that, I definitely agree w/ your post. We need more God centered reading of Scripture and this definitely qualifies.

  10. I don’t know… surely the events are recorded represent an historical progression. But blame Hezekiah in this one for Manasseh’s rejection of the Law of Moses? Who tutored Mannasseh from his youth? Who was his ‘protector’ for the first years of his reign? Did he even know of the Mosaic Law?

    Hezekiah staved off a siege, was wise enough to have a tunnel dug to bring water into the city to do so… that the upbringing of his son and heir to manhood feel on someone else’s shoulders should not reflect poorly on Hezekiah.

  11. I’ve often wondered if in a couple of hundred years people find the Doc Savage book series or The Shadow, or The Avenger, will they look upon them as true exploits and people will consider Doc, The Shadow, or The Avenger some sort of god, like we’re doing now with Jesus? People are so brainwashed over this character that they now often say they are one and the same. That means you are following a schizophrenic, then. Is that really good?

  12. Pingback: Dumb Prayers (8/2/13) | FitzGerald Press

  13. Stop to consider that Josiah was named in a prophecy many years before. He would be born and deal with the idol worship…no doubt about it…Manasseh…a repentant Manasseh, would have been an excellent mentor for his little grandson.

  14. Wow! I had read this passage before, but never really internalized it the way you present it here. I would love to “like” this post, but my screen-reading technology is being fickle today, so I’ll have to do things the beautiful, old-fashioned way–leaving a personal comment to say that I loved, and agree with, what you have to say about prayer!

  15. It almost fits in with the old adage “be careful what you wish for because you might just get it.” We often don’t think of the consequences of what we ask for because all we are thinking about is instant gratification but not the lasting results. I’ll have to more carefully consider my prayers.

  16. I believe that as we pray we ought to incorporate, “in thy will Lord” to crown it off, so if He knows it will make us to be some royal cutie face after He grants our wishes, He knows what to do. But Hezekiah’s sin wasn’t that he got the extended life, it was his bragging and displaying the things God blessed him with to the enemy that got God mad at him to pronounce the judgment, but God indicated that the punishment would come in his seed (Manasseh), Hezekiah said he could live with that, which was pretty selfish. Instead of covering his heritage as David did, he agreed on the curse, much like Eli.

    Great post and study material.

  17. Yes, Manasseh was a tragic result. However, God turns things to good. Manasseh prayed at the end of his life and repented for all his sins in contrast to other who just died in their evil. His son was not affected by Manasseh’s repentance, but continued the evil trend. However, Amon’s son must have seen something or learned something from the whole situation. His name was Josiah. In spite of the situation that ended his life, he began one of the greatest revivals Israel had ever experienced. His life may have ended badly, but up to that point he influenced thousands of his people to turn back to God.

  18. Pingback: 2 Kings 21:1 (It Doesn’t Add Up) | The River Walk

  19. Reblogged this on Coral & Caramel Drapings's Blog and commented:
    My thoughts have never been more succintly captured.

    No matter what I’m asking for, God give me more of You. If I am asking for riches, give me an abundance of grace. If I’m asking for security, shelter me under Your wing. If I’m asking for companionship, be near me. God, most of my prayers are dumb. I don’t mean them to be, I just don’t have Your greater knowledge. Please don’t answer them unless it is in a way that will draw me, and others, closer to You.

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