2 Kings 21:1-3 “Manasseh was 12 years old when he became king; he reigned 55 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, imitating the abominations of the nations that the Lord had dispossessed before the Israelites. He rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had destroyed and reestablished the altars for Baal…”
2 Kings 23:31-32 “Jehoahaz was 23 years old when he became king; he reigned three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah; [she was] from Libnah. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight…”
It is not a shock that Kings of Israel or Judah are described as doing evil in the Lord’s sight…that happened on a number of occasions. What was so disturbing to me as I read these scriptures is not that it happened, but who it happened to. Mannasseh and Jehoahaz didn’t have evil men as fathers. In fact their fathers, Hezekiah, and Josiah, were two of the greatest kings Judah had. Here is how Josiah was described: “Before him there was no king like him who turned to the Lord with all his mind and with all his heart and with all his strength according to all the law of Moses, and no one like him arose after him.” Josiah was described as a man who pursued God and the things of God with all his heart. He and Hezekiah were spiritual giants and did amazing jobs as Kings.
Yet their children, their ultimate legacy, were horrid. In Hezekiah’s case – Mannasseh was the most evil king to rule in Judah or Israel. The good that Hezekiah and Josiah did was torn down and erased by their children, and God’s people suffered greatly for it.
I can’t speculate as to what went wrong in the realm of parenting for Hezekiah and Josiah – the Bible doesn’t say, but something went wrong. I’ve seen modern cases of this play out so many times. I’ve seen great men and women who have a passion for God, who have done amazing things for God in this world. I’ve also seen many of those same people’s children grow up and to far from God. I’ve seen the anguish in the hearts of leaders with great business empires, but broken families.
These stories are a stern reminder that our ultimate legacy, our primary ministry must be to our families. So cheat the overtime, cheat the golf course, cheat the ‘good’ stuff you do, and in turn do the BEST things. I can’t guarantee Rylee will grow up and “do right in the eyes of the Lord”, but I can do my best to invest in her so that she does. I don’t want to regret 20 years from now that I spent too much time doing good things, when I was needed at home doing the best things.