2 Kings 21:1-18 – Even When You Are Tired, You Get Up and You Go…

Posted: September 30, 2019 in 12-2 Kings

2 Kings 21:1-18

Manasseh Reigns in Judah

I think the thing that strikes me about this morning’s passage is that of missed opportunity. King Hezekiah was one of the few God-honoring kings in the history of the southern kingdom after its split with the northern kingdom. He was a good guy. He sought after God in much the same manner as David. However, it did not last long. The question that you have to raise after reading about his son, Manasseh, is “How could this happen?” If we can find fault with Hezekiah, it would have to be his apparent failure to raise his son in the ways of the Lord.

That got me to thinking about the youth ministry at our church and about us as Christian fathers in this day and age. We have about a dozen kids in our youth ministry since we have rebooted it this Fall. It is my first experience as a full-time pastor in leading and teaching to youth specifically. I feel like a big kid myself even though I am 57, but I wonder if they see my inner teenage boy or if they just see some old guy trying to talk to them. Yesterday, I got more engagement from them than I had in the first three weeks of ministering to them combined. So, I am hopeful that maybe they are beginning to accept me…maybe. I know when I was their age that I didn’t really want to sit around and talk about things beyond the surface. However, I do have one teenage girl, Sydney, who along with her boyfriend, Gage, a football player at the high school are heavily influential on the rest of the group. Sydney has a depth of soul to her that many of the others do not. She is usually the first one to respond to questions and seems eager to want to discuss spiritual things (but not in a teacher’s pet kind of way). Rather, she just seems natural in her discussion of spiritual matters. It seemed yesterday she was able to influence the others in the group, especially Gage and his friends to engage a little more. I pray that Sydney will be the key to the door of the rest of the group. Maybe, like with anything else in church, there is that key person that a preacher needs to fire up any ministry of a church. The experts say that you need that person of interest and influence that can bring people along with them. I hope that I have found that person in our youth group.

By Sunday evening, I am usually just really emotionally, physically and spiritually spent from the day’s church services, particularly preaching. My dad always told me that preaching will just wear you out. I thought he was kidding all these years but it is true. Preaching just completely drains you. By the time I get home from church on Sundays, I am just wore slap out. Then, I have to get my game face on again for our Sunday night youth time from 5:30-7:00pm. Right in the middle of that time, I have deliver a mini-message and lead a discussion with the kids. When I head over to the church, I wonder if they are going to even connect with what I have to say. I wonder if it is worth to try. I wonder whether that, even though I feel like a 15 year old on the inside, they will just see a 57-year old fart that they are just required to listen to. I wonder if it’s going to make any difference at all. I wonder if they will see that I am tired beyond belief by Sunday evening. I wonder does it matter.

However, there is something to be said here for doing the trying. There is something to be said for planting seeds. It is that potential for crating a bud in a seed that makes me gather my tired body, soul and heart on Sunday evenings because this is that important. This generation of kids are immersed in a culture that wants to pull them away from the things of God. The seeds must be planted and there must be that one person, that person of interest, that creates the bud in the whole group. So we keep watering, we keep trying because we need not just produce godly parents but we must produce godly teens so that there will be a next generation of our church. That’s what I thought of this morning as I read about Manasseh and how his father apparently failed in passing on his love of God to his son.

Chapter 21

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.[a] 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.

7 Manasseh even made a carved image of Asherah and set it up in the Temple, the very place where the Lord had told David and his son Solomon: “My name will be honored forever in this Temple and in Jerusalem—the city I have chosen from among all the tribes of Israel. 8 If the Israelites will be careful to obey my commands—all the laws my servant Moses gave them—I will not send them into exile from this land that I gave their ancestors.” 9 But the people refused to listen, and Manasseh led them to do even more evil than the pagan nations that the Lord had destroyed when the people of Israel entered the land.

10 Then the Lord said through his servants the prophets: 11 “King Manasseh of Judah has done many detestable things. He is even more wicked than the Amorites, who lived in this land before Israel. He has caused the people of Judah to sin with his idols.[b] 12 So this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I will bring such disaster on Jerusalem and Judah that the ears of those who hear about it will tingle with horror. 13 I will judge Jerusalem by the same standard I used for Samaria and the same measure[c] I used for the family of Ahab. I will wipe away the people of Jerusalem as one wipes a dish and turns it upside down. 14 Then I will reject even the remnant of my own people who are left, and I will hand them over as plunder for their enemies. 15 For they have done great evil in my sight and have angered me ever since their ancestors came out of Egypt.”

16 Manasseh also murdered many innocent people until Jerusalem was filled from one end to the other with innocent blood. This was in addition to the sin that he caused the people of Judah to commit, leading them to do evil in the Lord’s sight.

17 The rest of the events in Manasseh’s reign and everything he did, including the sins he committed, are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. 18 When Manasseh died, he was buried in the palace garden, the garden of Uzza. Then his son Amon became the next king.

In this passage, we see that Hezekiah’s son was completely the opposite of his father. Manasseh was an evil king who seemed to be seeking after evil rather than seeking after God, like his dad. This passage reminds us of the fact that we may have deep spiritual roots ourselves and maybe after God’s own heart ourselves but if we do not spend time investing in growing up our kids in the ways of the Lord, they will depart from it very easily. We cannot be afraid to share our faith with our kids. We cannot be afraid to have those real conversations about faith. We cannot say “Well we can do that later!” We must start when they are young and not let up when they are teenagers, especially when they are teenagers. They may seem disinterested. They may seem like they don’t care. They may seem like they would rather be anywhere else but listening to you. However, it’s about planting seeds. It’s about keeping hunting until there is that moment when things connect and doors and hearts are opened. We cannot give up the fight.

That’s the thing that I see on Sunday evenings when I am tired and wonder if it is all worth it or not when it comes to our youth. Yes, it’s worth it and Manasseh is all the reminder that I need that you keep planting. You keep watering. You keep going into the field and plowing. And maybe a bud will come up with one young person who is influential in the group that becomes the start of the plant growing. Pray for that. That this one young teen that seems so willing to speak of spiritual things can be the bud that we need to connect with the rest of the group and then we see a plant grew from it. The Bible says that we must lead them in the ways of the Lord and they will not depart from it when they are older. It’s that important. It is that critical. This is the next generation of our church. We get up from our Sunday afternoon nap and we go and we plant and we water.

Amen and Amen.

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