After some time in Isaiah, we are back in Kings, where we pick up the end of King Hezekiah’s story. If you remember, Hezekiah was the greatest king of Judah since David, tearing down the high places and turning the people back toward their God. But, like so many good kings before him, that goodness did not last once he died. His son Manasseh was so bad that God declared that he had “done things more evil than all that the Amorites did” (2 Kings 21:11). He was bad, one of the worst kings that Judah ever had.
But how could this be? How a good king such as Hezekiah be responsible for such an evil son? And the better question: how can we avoid his mistake?
If you know the story of Hezekiah, you know that in his later years, he became so ill that as he was nearing certain death, he and asked the Lord for longer life. Because of this request, God showed him favor, and gave him 15 more years. He probably should have kept his mouth shut and died a younger man, protected from the foolishness he commits in his later years.
During those 15 years, Hezekiah showed off all of his wealth to the Babylonian kings, and because of his arrogance, God promised that after king Hezekiah dies, the people of Judah would be captured and carried away by the Babylonians. Hezekiah’s reaction to this promise reveals the key to his son’s rebellion. Upon hearing the words of the Lord spoken through the prophet Isaiah, he says:
“The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?”
In other words, Hezekiah is saying, “why should I care what happens after I die?” He had no vision for the future. He had no interest in legacy. He was not concerned about passing on what he treasured most to the next generation. This is a great way to give your kids a head start in rebelling against God. Hezekiah shared the same individualistic mind-set that is common to so many of us. He just didn’t care what happened after he was gone, even though his people would suffer and his children would be captured. His son’s rebellion was due, in large part, to his lack of interest in the future of his kingdom.
But the Bible is not mono-generational. It proclaims over and over again the need for one generation to declare the kingdom of God to another. God is concerned about every generation. And we should be as well, especially those of us with children. It is our duty (DADS!!!) to train our children in the ways of Christ that they might not turn away. When we are faithful to do this, we are building a solid foundation for future godliness in our kids, rather than helping them rebel.