TREASURE FOUND IN THE TEMPLE
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Hezekiah was one of the good ones. Although his father was evil, Hezekiah made everything right. He made God and His principles priority. He removed the idols, restored the temple, and destroyed the high places. All seemed to be finally going well for Judah until we meet his son, Manasseh.
All seemed to be finally going well for Judah until we meet his son, Manasseh.
Manasseh was 12 when he began to reign. There is some debate about whether he truly was a boy-king or whether he began a co-regency with Hezekiah. If the latter is true, Manasseh would have been about 22 when he became king upon his father’s death having been mentored for 10 years. So, we’re a bit surprised when Manasseh turns out to be beyond bad—he’s outright evil.
Parenting is a never-ending journey.
Parenting is a never-ending journey. We hold our newborn and wonder what they will become, but we never imagine they might become a mass-murderer. We deal with temper tantrums and selfish toddlers, but we never think that child will grow up to exclude or bully others. We experience typical rebellion from teenagers, but never think they will venture from everything we’ve taught them. But Manasseh did. And so do ours.
I have friends who are dealing with grown children who don’t believe in God even though they went to Sabbath School and sat in Adventist classrooms. There are those dealing with kids who have chosen to interpret marriage differently than what the Bible teaches. There are friends dealing with adult children struggling with mental illness. And there are those whose kids live more in the world than apart from it in their thinking and beliefs. We, as parents begin to question or doubt. What happened? What could we have done differently? More importantly, how do we relate to our child and bring them back to where God is their priority?
How do we relate to our child and bring them back to where God is their priority?
We don’t know why Manasseh rejected all his father stood for and believed. But we do know his story ends better. Second Chronicles offers more information on Manasseh’s life. He was eventually taken captive, dragged to Babylon with a hook through his nose, and thrown in prison. Not the best of experiences, but it turned him back toward God. He was fully converted, remembered his childhood faith, returned to Jerusalem, and immediately began to undo all the evil he had created. He became his father’s son again—turning not only himself, but the people toward heaven.
It’s hard to watch those we love make disappointing choices, but never give up.
It’s hard to watch those we love make disappointing choices, but never give up. Pray without ceasing. Place them before God. Maintain a relationship if you can. Be a witness. God sees what we do not—the heart that still has a place for Him. He will continually work on their behalf because while it doesn’t seem possible, He loves them way more than we do. If God can turn a Manasseh around, He can do the same today. Let us renew our faith in God and His ability to save.
A related lesson is one that has to do with influence. Each of us has influence whether it’s in our homes, workplaces, churches, or community. We may not realize we’re being watched, but we are.
It was unfortunate that what Manasseh observed in Hezekiah didn’t take hold initially. The next generation, Manasseh’s son, Amon, named after an Egyptian god, was as wicked as his father. For two years, Judah was again plunged into sinful living. Fortunately, Amon’s rule lasted only two years. He was assassinated leaving the kingdom to his son, Josiah.
Although only eight years old, Josiah is a breath of fresh air for Judah. How did that happen? His grandfather, Manesseh, is considered the wickedest king in Judah. His father, Amon, was also evil. Where did Josiah learn to follow God at such a tender age? While we don’t know for sure, here’s something to consider. I believe he may have learned from his grandfather.
Josiah would have only had a few short years with Manasseh, but it would have been at the end of his grandfather’s life. This was the changed Manasseh, the one with a story to tell about what not to do in life. I can imagine him telling the small boy what it was like being dragged on the long road to Babylon with a hook in his nose. I can hear him telling Josiah of his great-grandfather, Hezekiah, and the prophet Isaiah. It was enough. Five years with his grandfather made the difference for his entire life.
One of the first things Josiah did was repair the temple. Only a teenager, this project uncovered the book of the law (Deuteronomy). He had it read aloud to the people, and it became the guide for major revival and reformation.
Making it Real
Think this week about how you are a witness. If you are a parent, what do your children see in you? For a fun exercise at family worship, go around the room and ask each person (children, too) to say how they see Jesus in each individual. Then talk about new ways to make Jesus more visible.
Merle Poirier writes from Silver Spring, Maryland, where she works as the operation manager for Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines as well as the designer for KidsView, a magazine for 8-12-year-olds. She enjoys spending time with her family including being the grandmother of two active little boys, who greatly enjoy Starting With Jesus.