Friday, August 2, 2013

Like Father NOT Like Son

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Friday, August 2, 2013:  II Chronicles 32:1-33:13

32 Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and his goodness, indeed they are written in the vision of Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, and in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. 33 So Hezekiah rested with his fathers, and they buried him in the upper tombs of the sons of David; and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem honored him at his death. Then Manasseh his son reigned in his place.  II Chronicles 32:32-33 (NKJV)

1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. 2 But he did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel.  II Chronicles 33:1-2 (NKJV)

After David and Solomon, the Kingdom of Judah had 20 kings during the next 341 years. It was like a roller coaster of bad king followed by good king followed by bad king.  Reform was followed by recession -- like the fluctuations of the stock market.  It was a slow decline that ended in Babylonian captivity.

Perhaps the most vivid example of this up-and-down succession of kings was Hezekiah and his son Manasseh.  Hezekiah was one of the best king Judah ever had.  Manasseh was perhaps the worst.

Under Hezekiah, Judah returned to the true worship of God.  The pagan temples and high places were torn down and the covenant feasts re-established.  Under Manasseh, paganism was reintroduced including child sacrifice and occult practices.

There are three lessons we can learn from these two kings.

First, the past does not determine the future.  A godly heritage is a wonderful thing, but a fresh relationship with God is necessary for every generation.  Family history is no guarantee of spiritual and moral integrity.  Hezekiah was a good man, but his son, Manasseh, did not follow in his steps.  Every generation must stand in its own convictions toward truth, morality, and godliness.

Second, God's favor always requires present relationship with Him.  No nation, including Israel, has a lock on God's blessing.  While history may record times of powerful visitation by God, another generation may arise that reverses the spiritual climate to the point that God's judgment falls.

Lastly, leadership is vital.  The history of Judah is really the history of the kings.  We always need to pray for our leaders because the health of the nation often flows from the top.  Politics and government IS essentially spiritual.

These two kings were father and son.  But, they were different as night and day.  May God grant us more Hezekiahs in our day.  And may we redouble our efforts to raise our sons such that they not bring God's judgment as Manasseh did.

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