The next generation - Hope 103.2

The next generation

By David ReayMonday 31 Mar 2014LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read 2 Kings 21:1-6

1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king,and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. His mother was Hephzibah. 2 He did what was evil in the LORD’s sight,following the detestable practices of the pagan nations that the LORD had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites. 3 He rebuilt the pagan shrines his father,Hezekiah,had destroyed. He constructed altars for Baal and set up an Asherah pole,just as King Ahab of Israel had done. He also bowed before all the powers of the heavens and worshiped them.

4 He built pagan altars in the Temple of the LORD,the place where the LORD had said,”My name will remain in Jerusalem forever.” 5 He built these altars for all the powers of the heavens in both courtyards of the LORD’s Temple. 6 Manasseh also sacrificed his own son in the fire. He practiced sorcery and divination,and he consulted with mediums and psychics. He did much that was evil in the LORD’s sight,arousing his anger. (NLT)

There is no doubt Manasseh was an evil character. Then again,such characters were common in the history of Israel and Judah. What is interesting is that Manasseh was the son of Hezekiah,who was a godly ruler. This pattern recurs in the Old Testament: a bad king is followed by a good king who is followed by a bad king. The point being that it seems the good kings didn’t seem to be able to guarantee a good successor.

All this reminds us that no one can dictate outcomes when it comes to children and grandchildren. We all know of devout and godly parents whose children reject their faith. And we know of parents who have nothing to do with Jesus raising children who give their lives to him. Parenting is far from a mechanical cause-and-effect arrangement.

Parents and grandparents can’t and need not aim at control. Their task is to love and point the way. Whether that love is reciprocated or whether that way is taken is quite another matter. And if we argue that this is very painful,then consider the pain of God who ceaselessly wants those he loves to turn to him and just as ceaselessly sees them turn away.

And one more thing: we dare not conclude a child or grandchild has ‘gone astray’ just because they happen to see life and faith differently to us. We pray that they become the people God wants them to be,not the people we insist they be.

David Reay