Manasseh, Bad Apple
Hezekiah had exercised a righteous influence over Judah. He had removed idolatrous worship. He had boldly resisted the threats of the mighty King of Assyria, Sennacherib, outside his walls. He had sought the input of the prophet Isaiah on many important issues. He had prayed his way through a life-threatening illness. One of the mighty prayers of the Old Testament is his. (Isaiah 37:15-29)
But his son was another matter. Doubtless he had seen Manasseh rolling his eyes at traditional worship and looking with interest at the idols and lasciviousness of the neighbouring nations. Doubtless Hezekiah had taken his son's tendencies before the Lord in ernest prayer. But the old King died without concrete evidence that his prayers were being answered.
The new king in time totally reversed the measures of his father. Bringing in an abominable variety of idols, temple prostitution, spiritualism, child sacrifice, desecration of the house of God (installing a monument to the Queen of Heaven). But God would not allow this to continue. Read the account in 2 Chronicles 33:
10And the LORD spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken.
11Wherefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon.
12And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers,
13And prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God.
14Now after this he built a wall without the city of David, on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, even to the entering in at the fish gate, and compassed about Ophel, and raised it up a very great height, and put captains of war in all the fenced cities of Judah.
15And he took away the strange gods, and the idol out of the house of the LORD, and all the altars that he had built in the mount of the house of the LORD, and in Jerusalem, and cast them out of the city.
16And 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.
Are you praying for the reform of a child, a spouse, a neighbour, a friend, a civic leader? Remember the effectual fervent prayers of Hezekiah and the wicked son brought back home. The reversal of heart in this story almost defies belief!