He sacrificed his children in the fire…
practiced divination and witchcraft, sought omens,
and consulted mediums and spiritists.
He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD, arousing his anger.
2 Chronicles 33:6
King Manasseh would never be named Father of the Year. Not only did Manasseh sacrifice his own babies to idols, but because he was king, other dads followed his example. He led the nation of Judah into all kinds of wickedness, so God was angry with him. Manasseh had so hardened his heart against the Lord that even child sacrifice was acceptable. He assumed he had God’s favor because he was king of God’s people, so he might as well court the favor of idols too. Can’t have too many gods, right? Wrong. So how could a father justify sacrificing his own children? For the same reasons we do.
When the Lord ceases being our only God, we are prone to all kinds of twisted thinking. Many modern fathers have done as Manasseh did and sacrificed their children upon the altars of selfishness and pride. “You’re pregnant? Here’s $500. Get rid of it.” We sacrifice them in other ways as well: their values to the sports god, their self-worth to the money god, and their minds to the entertainment god. The good news is that by verse 20, Manasseh repented. He tried to reverse the damage he’d caused, but even then, his eldest son followed in his footsteps to become Judah’s next evil king. No sin is too great for God’s pardon, but often the damage is irreversible. When we repent, God forgives, but scars may remain. Don’t be a Manasseh.