Monday, September 10, 2012

The Life We Leave Our Children

Today, we are going to reach way back into Judah's history and take a look at one of her kings, Hezekiah.
Hezekiah seemed to be one of the good kings. His father, Ahaz, was a truly evil king who allowed every kind of idolatry but who actually nailed the doors to the temple shut. (This one sentence probably begs a whole other post about religious "tolerance" and how Christians are treated in America). When Hezekiah came to power, he came as a reformer. He cleaned house politically, tore down the foreign altars, reopened and cleaned the temple, reinstated the Passover celebration. There was a revival in Judah.
Unfortunately, Hezekiah was a short sighted man who only dealt with problems in the short term and he also developed a little problem of pride. After being spared by God from what should have been a terminal illness, Hezekiah entertains visitors from Babylon. (Babylon at this time was an up and coming empire, but students of history will remember that future relationships with this nation would not bode well for the Jews.) Hezekiah was so prideful and confident, that he took the envoy from Babylon all over the palace and temple and even showed him the treasury. He showed him everything. He was cozying up to the enemy.
Upon learning of Hezekiah's actions, the prophet Isaiah basically went off on him and then prophesied that some day, the Babylonians would return and take away everything as well as taking the people captive. (Is 39) One hundred years later they did exactly that.
What was Hezekiah's response? "It's ok because it isn't going to happen in my lifetime." What? Excuse me? Makes you just want to take him and shake some sense into him doesn't it? Unfortunately, I am afraid this kind of apathetic attitude reflects the attitude that many Christians have had over the past 40 - 50 years. Either that, or a bit of a pollyanna outlook that thinks things aren't as bad as they sound.

Today, many of us are facing the future wondering what kind of country/world we are leaving for our children and grandchildren. The economic uncertainty is astounding. The future of Christianity as a major religion seems shaky at best.
As we face what is shaping up to be a contentious election, we must examine ourselves and ask what we can do to change the future. The problem is not with the people in the White House, or Congress, or any other elected office. The problem is with the people who put them there. The issues in America are not going to change if the hearts of the people don't change - no matter who sits in the Oval Office.
I'm not saying we shouldn't vote or that we don't need a change in leadership. I absolutely believe we should and we do. But I believe, as Christians, we can't just fight for a political change and then sit back with a sigh of relief and enjoy life. We need to be working diligently to plant the seeds of change that will affect this country for years to come. We must be evangelizing in the name of Jesus - taking the message of TRUE "hope and change" to a nation in desperate need of revival. We have to be discipling individuals in the faith so that their covictions go with them for a lifetime - not just for an election. We need to be as passionate about the Gospel as we are about our political candidate!!!! And we need to think about how our decisions will affect our descendants for years to come, if Jesus doesn't come to get us all first.
Do you know what happened to Judah? As soon as Hezekiah died and Manasseh came to power, up went the idols and they were right back where they started. Over in Babylon, the story was being told of the treasure in Judah - handed down from generation to generation. One hundred years later, they came and got it along with some of the finest young men in Jerusalem. See "Faithful in a Faithless Generation". 
Let's don't do this to our kids. Let's give them a future they can live with and we can be proud of. Let's give them Jesus. Then no matter where they live or who is in office, they will have the best hope of all.

2 Kings 16: 20 - 20:21; 2 Chronicles 28:27 - 32:33; Isaiah 36:1 - 39:8

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