2 Kings 21:19-26 – We Fight the Fights that Need Fighting!

Posted: October 1, 2019 in 12-2 Kings

2 Kings 21:19-26

Amon Rules in Judah

Proverbs 22:6 reads like this, ““Train up a child in the way he should go, and [or even] when he is old he will not depart from it.” At first glance this sounds like a wonderful promise to parents—exactly what every God-fearing parent would love to have as a promise from the Creator of marriage and family. Naturally, Christian parents possess an unquenchable hope that their children will remain with the faith in which they are reared. Or, if their child departs for a while, the parents cling to the belief that the child will return. But is Proverbs 22:6 a guarantee from God to parents that their children will stay in the church? Unfortunately, it isn’t. But don’t many modern commentators, counselors and public speakers explain this verse as a guarantee? Yes, they do. But, regrettably, this is a misunderstanding.

Promises of God include numerous benefits for obeying His way of life. But they do not include a guarantee to parents that children reared faithfully will keep the faith as adults. Fundamental to Christian understanding is the knowledge that God has given every person the freedom to choose whether he will submit himself to God’s way of life. “Submit” is the correct word, for this choice includes recognizing God as one’s sovereign and looking to Him as the authority to define right from wrong. Although we are innately wired by God, whether we are believers or not, to know the difference between right and wrong, it is our free will choice as to whether we will choose to follow God’s way, the right way.

As parents, we cannot ask God for a guarantee of the godly life of our children or that their salvation is guaranteed if we raise them in a godly home because of each person’s God-given free will. However, does this mean as parents that we are off the hook about trying to raise our kids in the ways of the Lord? It doesn’t matter any way, right? They are going to end up making their own choices, anyway, right?

That’s the conundrum that I thought of this morning. We see how Manasseh, though he was raised in a godly home by his dad, Hezekiah, turned out to be one of the most evil kings of Judah’s history. Then, we see that the evil continues in Manasseh’s son, Amon. On the one hand, if you raise ‘em right, they can still turn out evil. If you don’t raise ‘em right they will turn out evil for sure. Seems like a losing battle. That thought plagued me this morning. Let’s read this passage, 2 Kings 21:19-26, with that depressing thought in mind:

19 Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem two years. His mother was Meshullemeth, the daughter of Haruz from Jotbah. 20 He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as his father, Manasseh, had done. 21 He followed the example of his father, worshiping the same idols his father had worshiped. 22 He abandoned the Lord, the God of his ancestors, and he refused to follow the Lord’s ways.

23 Then Amon’s own officials conspired against him and assassinated him in his palace. 24 But the people of the land killed all those who had conspired against King Amon, and they made his son Josiah the next king.

25 The rest of the events in Amon’s reign and what he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. 26 He was buried in his tomb in the garden of Uzza. Then his son Josiah became the next king.

In this passage, we see that there is no guarantee that raising a child in the ways of the Lord will ensure that they follow the Lord as we saw in the previous passage. Manasseh was raised by a righteous father, but he fell into idolatry and evil just like the culture in which he lived. However, it is a guarantee that if you raise your child not in the ways of the Lord, they will most certainly follow the evil ways in which they are immersed in their family and cultural setting.

What is the point of raising our kids in the ways of the Lord if there is like this 50/50 chance that they are going to follow the Lord. Isn’t Proverbs 22:6 a guarantee? Why then did Manasseh revert to the normal evil ways of kings as well as his son Amon? Notice that the verse is not saying if you train a child in the Christian faith or even the Old Testament faith, that he will not depart from it when he is older.

 It says that as you train a child how he is to behave and what he is to do, that is what he will stick with later in life.  This proverb is a general statement about the importance of raising our children properly because that is what they will retain later in life. The admonition of Proverbs is that early training of the child helps to set his path as an adult. Of course, this is all the more reason for us to train our children in the truths of the Christian faith and pray that the Lord works in their lives so that they will be dedicated to Christ.

The word “train” is חָנַךְ

[chanak /khaw·nak/]

The “AV translates as “dedicate” four times, and “train up” once. 1 to train, dedicate, inaugurate. 1A (Qal). 1A1 to train, train up. 1A2 to dedicate.”1  So, we can see that we are to dedicate our children to truth and to train them, not force them, in the ways of the Lord. However, there is no guarantee that our children will “remain” Christians in their adulthood. They are their own individuals with different personality traits, life experiences, and influences from others (Proverbs 1:8-19). We cannot control them. We cannot force them to be Christians. But, we can influence them greatly. As Christians, we should raise our children in a godly way, not exasperating them, but instead live the Christian life with them, teaching them the truths of who Jesus is. But as I already said, there is no guarantee that our actions will automatically result in our children maintaining their Christian faith throughout their lives.

That is the best that we can do. That is the best that we MUST do. The alternative is an absolute guarantee if we give up the fight and compartmentalize our Christian faith away from our house. If we leave our homes out of our faith because nobody sees us there and live fully secularly there, that’s what our kids will grow up in and will adopt as their own lifestyle. We must make Jesus Christ the king of our homes. We must make Jesus the king of every aspect of our lives. If our kids see us living a Christ-filled life, they will be more apt to adopt the Christ-like lifestyle themselves and will more readily accept Christ as their Savior and Lord at an earlier age. The alternative is that if they are not exposed to the ways of the Lord in their home, there is a 100% guarantee that they will depart from the faith in their youth and will struggle to find him in adulthood, if ever.

Even if there is a possibility that they will turn away from the Lord even if you raise them right, in the ways of the Lord, we must take that bet. Because the alternative is a guarantee of a life of far from God and all the pain and heartache that this causes is what you are up against. Are you ready for the fight? It is a fight we must fight. We don’t just fight the fights that we can win. We fight the fights that need fighting!

Amen and Amen.

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