by Charles R. Swindoll
2 Kings 18-21
A curious phenomenon has plagued families for as long as there have been families. It’s that age-old problem of second-generation fallout that breaks the hearts of godly moms and dads.
The scenario goes something like this. A man and woman fall in love and get married. They also love Christ and desire to serve Him with all their hearts. As their children come along, they teach and train and pray that God will get hold of their little lives and use them for His glory.
But what about the now-grown kids? Ah, there’s the rub. Somewhere along the way God got pushed way down on their list of priorities. Disciplines like prayer, church attendance, tithing, serving, and serious Bible study got lost in the shuffle.
I recently stumbled upon one of those father-son stories that still speaks volumes. The dad was Hezekiah, a king who took the throne when he was twenty-five and reigned until he was fifty-four. All the while, his heart remained warm toward his God, and God prospered him. What a man! When Hezekiah was forty-two, he and his wife, Hephzibah, had a son, Manasseh. But you’d never know he came from Hezekiah stock. According to the inspired historian’s account, he seduced the people of Judah “to do evil more than the nations whom the LORD destroyed” (2 Kings 21:9). What went wrong? Why didn’t Hezekiah’s righteousness and passion pass to his son? I believe there are at least three reasons:
First, Manasseh had a will of his own as we all do and with that will he stubbornly and deliberately refused to respond to the Lord (2 Chron. 33:10). Second, he was weak-willed and overly influenced by ungodly and wicked associations (2 Kings 21:3, 6). And third, he was neglected by his preoccupied, busy father. The king was at the zenith of his reign when Manasseh was born, and there is every indication that the prince saw little of his father during the formative years of his life. Hezekiah simply never took the time.
Sound familiar at all? While you still have your children under your roof, take time to talk together, to play together, to relax together . . . just to be together.
It is amazing how powerful first-generation presence can be when it comes to curing the second-generation plague.