>It seems I have finally come to the end of my delightful journey through 2 Chronicles. In fact, as I type this post I am actually already to Nehemiah in my Bible reading, but I had one last thought from 2 Chronicles that I wanted to share before I move on from there in the blog world.
As I finished reading about the last few kings of Judah, I was struck greatly by the life of Hezekiah. I’ve already touched on his unique leadership in the reforms among the people, but I was also struck by the fact that he, unlike previous kings who started out following God, never turned away from God to worship the false gods of the surrounding nations. He did, however, succumb to his pride. He was insanely wealthy and prosperous, and that got the better of him. According to 2 Kings 20:1-11, Hezekiah became sick, should have died, but pleaded with the Lord to extend his life. The Lord agreed, and promised to give Hezekiah an additional fifteen years of life. It was during those fifteen years, though, that Hezekiah began to take more pride in his riches than his God, and it proved to be disastrous.
You see, it was during those fifteen years that he welcomed his son Manasseh into the world. Manasseh was twelve years old when his father died and he became the next king. At the tender age of twelve, Manasseh launched into a reign of horrific evil. The author of 2 Chronicles was careful to include any good of any king of Judah, even the most evil of the kings. But there is nothing positive even alluded to in the narrative of the reign of Manasseh.
How could the son of a man like Hezekiah have such evil in his heart at such a young age? I think we see a stern warning for Christian parents in this narrative. Now, I do know that there are times when parents do all they know to do to the best of their ability and their children still rebel, but I would like us to stop a moment and evaluate – are we really and truly raising them with the fullness of our faith? Are we truly doing all we can do to instill truth into them?
Before Manasseh’s birth, Hezekiah led Judah in a revival of the heart. Under his leadership, people were allowed to come before the Lord as they were, celebrating with the fullness of their hearts and allowing their actions and purification to follow. But after Hezekiah’s miraculous healing, and therefore during the formative years of Manasseh’s life, he drew back from a passionate heart following of the Lord. He was caught up in the glory of his kingdom and the realization that if Judah was going to fall, it would happen after his lifetime. He had led all of Judah to submit their hearts to the Lord, but he did not exemplify that to his own son.
How do we stand before the world? How do we stand before our children? Are the two consistent? If so, are they consistent in the right way? Do we go to great lengths to work for the Lord only to leave our children untrained? Do we surrender our children to be taught by others, simply hoping and trusting that they’ll be taught the right things?
It doesn’t matter if you are a homeschooling, private school, or public school family. It doesn’t matter if you drag your children to church every time the doors are open and sometimes when they are not. It doesn’t matter how many things you expose your children to in an effort to allow them to be taught. What matters is what you are doing with what is being taught to your children. Every subject in school can and should be used to point our children to our amazing God – math can show His provision and how sometimes it can never be calculated; history shows His amazing hand throughout the events of not only Biblical times, but the many centuries since; science is replete with His amazing handiwork; reading helps us learn from the wisdom and insight He gives to others; writing helps us communicate what we are learning and how we are growing with other people. Meanwhile, we as parents are ultimately responsible for everything our children learn at church as well. Their Sunday school and children’s church teachers aren’t responsible to make sure they know what the Bible says about our daily lives. That’s our job! Those teachers are there for reinforcement!
Hezekiah had no vision for the future, and consequently he neglected to invest in his own son. Consequently, his son was ranked as one of the most evil kings of Biblical history, leading Judah to do more evil than even the pagan nations that had been routed before Israel. It is our duty to teach our children. It is our responsibility to be aware of all teaching to which our children are exposed and then to take that teaching and use it to point them to the Lord. Let us not neglect the training of our children! Let us pour into them and ensure that they are fully equipped to face this life as solid believers in Christ. Then let us trust that they will inherit our passion for the Lord as they begin to raise their own children in an even more passionate manner.