What does it say?
These two chapters in 2Kings 20-21 take us back to the story of Hezekiah receiving the ambassadors from Babylon that we recently read also in Isaiah 38-39. This carelessness on Hezekiah’s part follows God healing him and adding 15 years to his life, confirmed by having the sundial go 10 degrees backwards.
2Kings 21 is the story of Manasseh, one of the most evil of Judah’s kings. He delved into the darkest aspects of idolatry and demon worship. After 55 years on the throne, Manasseh dies and his son Amon follows his evil example. Amon’s servants conspire to kill him and put his son Josiah on the throne.
What does it mean?
A good king dies and two very evil kings follow. Reading the history of Israel’s monarchy is a study in contrasts. Good kings, bad kings, victory, defeat, spiritual coldness and revival – whatever you can imagine is somewhere in this history.
Several points should be noted. First, the Bible is a realistic book. Unlike other religious books, the Bible records the good, the bad and the ugly. This gives the Bible a ring of authenticity unlike any other book. Second, people who are faithful to their faith are just as subject to trials and problems as those who are not. The difference is how they deal with trials, what they learn from them and how God uses them to accomplish his purposes. Another item of interest is to observe the legacy that people leave behind. Hezekiah has been dead for centuries, but we still examine his great accomplishment as well as his lapses of faith. Manasseh is still today a classic example of evil government.
The way we live our lives is also realistic, whether we admit it or not. Some believers labor under a false expectation of being flawless or problem-free. Anything less is viewed as weakness or failure. If you don’t think this, someone at church will surely reinforce this false expectation. As a believer, we will have the same problems as anyone else. Most important is to learn from our challenges, grow through them and be a positive model for others. We also leave a legacy that, while not recorded in the Bible, is recorded in the mind of God and also in the minds of those who know us.
How will I respond?
What’s the biggest challenge in my life that I can remember over the past several months? What, if anything, did I learn from this experience? Was I a positive or negative model for those who know me? What present challenges do I face and what will I do today to profit from past learning experiences?