Scripture: 2 Chronicles 33:1 Manasseh (son of King Hezekiah) was twelve years old when he began to reign; he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. 2 He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to the abominable practices of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel. 3 For he rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had pulled down, and erected altars to the Baals, made sacred poles, worshiped all the host of heaven, and served them. 4 He built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, “In Jerusalem shall my name be forever.” 5 He built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. 6 He made his son pass through fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom, practiced soothsaying and augury and sorcery, and dealt with mediums and with wizards. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger.
Observation: Hezekiah was revered as one of the greatest kings in the history of ancient Israel. He was exceptionally faithful to the Lord, which led to prosperity for the entire nation. One would assume Manasseh, the son who succeeded Hezekiah, would have learned much from his legendary father. Apparently not. Instead of following in his father’s faithful footsteps he renewed the “abominable practices” (v.1) his father had worked so hard to eradicate during his time. The question I’m asking this morning is, “Why?”.
Application: If there’s one thing I’ve learned by observing young people for many years, and raising three young adult children in the process, it’s that you never really know what they’re going to do. Or who they’re going to become. Some will work very hard to meet the expectations of the family. Others will find an identity by rebelling against those same expectations. You just never know.
I’m guessing Manasseh was one of the latter group. He wanted to put his own stamp on the monarchy by doing things very differently than his father had, despite the fact that his father’s reign had gone so well. And unfortunately, the entire nation suffered for it.
My own children are at the age (17-23) when they’re starting to make important life decisions mostly on their own. I get to offer counsel, but that’s about it. It can be hard to watch because the consequences of poor decisions can be severe. Some parents deal with this situation by trying to maintain control of their kids – even adult kids. I’ve done this from time to time. It doesn’t generally go well.
We parents must entrust our adult children to the Lord – or risk losing them.
If you’re an adult child with a parent who seems “controlling”, understand where that behavior comes from. It may drive you crazy, but it’s generally coming from a place of love and concern. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying it’s understandable.
If you’re the parent of adult children, like me, it’s important we resist the temptation to “save” our children from poor decisions. It’s hard. I know. But the Lord who conceived them will walk with them when we parents cannot.
Prayer: Lord, the bonds between parents and children are some of the strongest known to humanity. And yet it’s easy to mess things up, even if our hearts are in the right place. Give us grace to raise our children well, then let them go. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.