The reign of King Amon was short lived; two brief years.
Following in the footsteps of his father Manasseh, we can trace certain similarities.
“But he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, as did Manasseh his father: for Amon sacrificed unto all the carved images which Manasseh his father had made, and served them;”2 Chronicles 33:22
While Manasseh repented and put away many of the idols and false altars that he had introduced, his sin was so entrenched in the spirit of the nation that he was unable to make the wholesale reforms that were required. Therefore with there being an appetite in the nation for the worship of the heathen, the field was open for young man with the inclinations of Amon.. Just as Manasseh unpicked the work of his father, so Amon undid the good work accomplished by Manasseh at the end of his reign. The sight of a son emulating the worst of his father while ignoring the good is a sobering and challenging picture for every father. Our children are more apt to act out our sinful behaviours than our righteous behaviours. Let us be warned lest we leave a path where our children learn to do wickedly!
Amon’s short but evil reign highlights the depravity of the man. Manasseh reigned for 55 years, beginning when he as only 12 years old. In his case his lapse into sin was more gradual, and being so young was at the mercy of advisors, some of whom must have given him poor guidance. Amon’s was a brief but intense burst of rebellion against God. He ignored the change he had witnessed in his father, he deliberately forgot the military defeat at the hands of the Assyrians which brought Manasseh to his senses. Amon had his privileges yet he squandered them in the most wicked manner possible.
There are certainly similarities between Amon and Manasseh, but what interests me especially are the distinctions because one despite his sin was saved while the other who committed the same sin lost his precious soul.
THE DISTINCTIONS BETWEEN AMON & MANASSEH
The primary distinction between Manasseh and Amon was that while one enjoyed the grace of God the other was bereft of that same grace. How else can we explain Manasseh’s conversion. He was the most unlikely figure imaginable to repent and turn to the Lord God of his fathers. The change in this idolator who became intoxicated by the ungodliness of the neighbouring nations was astonishing.
The change that came over Manasseh, however, was as a consequence of the intervention of God. The path by which God brought him to repentance was humiliating and painful yet the effect brought healing and forgiveness. There was no such intervention in the life of Amon. God did not, he did not speak, there was no grace.
Ultimately the distinction between the godly and ungodly world is one of grace. God intervenes in the lives of some while there are others who are simply passed by. The Apostle Paul mediated upon this truth as he contemplated the distinction between Jacob and Esau:
And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.Romans 9:10-18
God is righteous in all things that He accomplishes. Through the salvation and damnation of souls His purposes will stand and His name is glorified. It is no wonder that God hated Esau; he was after all the man who despised his birthright. But it is an amazing, an incredible thing – that God could ever love Jacob; after all he such a treacherous, lying, selfish man. Likewise it is not strange that Amon should be bypassed by God’s grace. He deserved no favours. But it is astounding that Manasseh could ever be converted. The wonder of it all is that God should love any sinners in a saving sense.
This was what caused the Apostle Paul to constantly marvel. That Jesus loved Him.
But by the grace of God I am what I am1st Corinthians 15:10
The one fact we are certain of is that no soul can be converted without an intervention of grace. This should be upon our hearts constantly, crying unto Him that He would come down and strive in the hearts of poor lost hearts – mercy is God’s gift to give.
Unlike his father, Amon refused to acknowledge his sin and exercise repentance. He is characterised by stubborn and foolish rebellion:
And humbled not himself before the LORD, as Manasseh his father had humbled himself; but Amon trespassed more and more.2nd Chronicles 33:23
While the sinner cannot be converted without an intervention by grace, judgement will be administered on account of man’s failure to repent. Man is a moral agent who will stand before God being held to account for his personal sinfulness.
The opportunity to repent is in itself a gracious favour. There are people in this world who refuse to forgive and forget. They are unforgiving and bitter holding grudges and vendettas until their dying day. God is not like man – He holds out the olive branch of repentance to His most ardent foes. He does not consign the sinner to an irretrievable eternity of misery.
Amon had witnessed his father’s repentance after experiencing the tragic consequences of sin. He was raised in the nation favoured with truth. Still he persisted in his mad folly. He had privilege and opportunity yet he squandered it all for a short two catastrophic years of pleasure.
No good could ever come of Amon’s actions. It seems he not only objected to God and His truth with belligerence, but he was also young man who engendered anger in the nation, even among his own household. As a consequence death came suddenly, and warning warning. His servants assassinated him in the palace itself.
Even Manasseh did but experience such a terrible end. His passing was natural after a long reign. Amon after only two had done enough to stir such strife that some were exercised to rid the nation of this menace.
The methods of these conspirators were wrong, they themselves were executed for their part in this murder.
Manasseh’s sad legacy, despite his repentance was a nation plunged into turmoil by Amon, whom he had taught to sin.
Just as God raised up Hezekiah to bring about reformation after the disastrous reign of Ahaz, so He was set to raise up another even greater reformer from the house of Manasseh and Amon. There is no time so dark that God cannot move in revival power.
And so Josiah the son of Amon was made King.