He Was Humbled
James Smith, 1861
Man is naturally proud, and pride sets him against God, and against his fellow men. Proud men are never devout men — and they are very seldom kind men. We are about to write a few lines, respecting one of the proudest of men. But those who walk in pride, God is able to abase, and He did so, for "he was humbled." 2 Chronicles 33:19.
WHO was humbled?Manasseh, the king of Judah. Manasseh, who was . . .
In him, seem to find a home — all that is wicked, unfeeling, and opposed to God. His murders were wholesale, his idolatry was unparalleled, and his pride knew no bounds. The son of good Hezekiah, the anointed king of Judah — yet he broke through all bounds, setting God and man at defiance, and persevered until his head was hoary, and his heart was harder than the nether millstone, and his life was one long catalogue of crimes. He appears to have been the greatest sinner under the old testament dispensation — and yet "he was humbled."
Who humbled him?There was but one who could, and he took the work in hand, proving that his hand was not shortened, that he could not save; neither was his ear heavy, that he could not hear. God alone had the power . . .
God alone had sufficient mercy, for so far had Manasseh gone in cruelty and crime, that the public voice would have execrated him, and voted for his destruction. But God who is rich in mercy, in the exercise of his wondrous love — saved him by his grace. God alone could command the means, and put efficacy into them, that they may accomplish the marvelous design. Because the power of God is omnipotent — because the mercy of God is infinite — because God has all means at his command, and can make any means efficient, "he was humbled."
HOW did God humble him?
By bringing his enemies upon him, and delivering him into
by stripping him of his royalty, wealth, and power;
by isolating him from all his relatives, friends, and courtiers;
and by casting him into the prison of a foreign king.
There alone, he could reflect upon his wicked conduct,
his long life of transgression, his early religious education, the ancient
services of the sanctuary, and the word of his God. These reflections were
attended with invincible grace, and he . . .
was convinced of sin,
trembled at God's justice,
wondered at God's forbearance,
remembered God's mercy
— until his heart melted,
tears of contrition flowed,
cries for pardon ascended,
and throwing his guilty soul at the feet of a forgiving God, "he was humbled."
If Manasseh was humbled, God was glorified.
Every sigh that heaved his bosom,
every groan that escaped from his heart,
every tear that fell from his eye, and
every cry for mercy that ascended from his lips
— glorified God.
The enemy was subdued,
the rebel sought forgiveness,
the idolater cast away his idols,
Hezekiah's prayers were answered,
the dethroned monarch was restored to his dignity,
the guilty soul was saved,
and in all, God was glorified.
If Manasseh was humbled — SATAN was disappointed. Having led him captive so long, having hardened him to such an extent, having plunged him into such depths of sin, having degraded him so far — he must have made sure of him as his prey. But the prey was taken from the mighty, and the lawful captive was delivered!
Though petrified by sin,
though at the very gate of Hell,
though apparently beyond the reach of mercy
— yet he was humbled, and Satan was disappointed.
If Manasseh was humbled — GRACE was triumphant.
In sovereignty, it sought him,
using means it arrested him,
by its vital breath it melted him,
and as a poor, subdued penitent, it brought him to God's mercy seat.
Grace proved itself invincible — for if Manasseh is subdued, who can successfully resist? Grace proved itself free — for if Manasseh finds grace, how can it depend on any worthiness, or goodness, or excellency in the creature?
If Manasseh was humbled — then surely anyone may be. Can anyone be more hardened? Can anyone show more enmity to God? Can anyone more determinately break through all the restraints of a religious education? Can anyone sink lower, act worse, or run farther from God? If any case had been hopeless — would it not have been Manasseh's, who persevered in sin until he had grown grey in the service of the devil, and had done as many evil things as he could — yet "he was humbled," surely then any one may be.
If Manasseh was humbled — and humbled when he was an old man, dyed to the very bone in sin, and hardened beyond degree — then we should never give any one up. We should pray on, while life lasts; hope on, while we have breath to pray; and use all the means in our power, to bring the very worst sinners to repentance.
My Reader, have you been humbled? You must be — or perish. Before the honor of being saved in the Lord; adopted into God's family, and placed among his princes — is the humbling of the soul to accept of sovereign mercy, to submit to God's righteousness; and the coming of the soul to Jesus as wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. Take heed of resisting the humbling thoughts suggested to your minds, and the softening influences felt in your souls; yield yourself unto God. Do as Manasseh did, of whom it is written, "But while in deep distress, Manasseh sought the Lord his God and sincerely humbled himself before the God of his ancestors. And when he prayed, the Lord listened to him and was moved by his request."
Hail, mighty Jesus! how divine
Is your victorious sword!
The stoutest rebel must resign
At your commanding word.
The strongest holds of Satan yield
To your all-conquering hand!
When once your glorious arm's revealed,
No creature can withstand!
Still gird your sword upon your thigh,
Ride with majestic sway;
Go forth, sweet prince, triumphantly,
And make your foes obey!