I was doing some...um...stuff...the other day and I came across a list of boy names that Mitch brought up to the hospital when we had Malachi. The name "Manasseh" was on the list and curiosity got the best of me. I decided to look him up. While there is more than one Manasseh in the Bible, the one that pulled me in is the king Manasseh, son of Hezekiah. I pulled up a sermon by Spurgeon. Wow, was it incredible! It took me two days of "quiet time" (when the kids interrupt me every 30 sec as an attack from Satan, I believe) to get through it all.
Manasseh was evil. He rebelled directly in the face of God. He was forgiven and redeemed. It is a really great story and I guess that now that I'm sitting here I won't attempt to retell it. What struck me most from the sermon is this part:
"for though Manasseh repented, we find that his son Amon followed in the steps of his father in his wickedness but not in his righteousness...Children will imitate their fathers in their vices, seldom in their repentance; if parents sin, their children will follow them, without much doubt; but when they repent and turn to God, it is not easy to lead a child back in the way which it has once forsaken."
Mitch and I were listening to Way of the Master radio a few days ago and there were playing clips from when Todd Friel had been on the beach talking to young adults who were there during spring break. There were two guys and two girls hanging out talking to him, admitting that they were going to do some partying, drinking, then "go back to the room" together (with all that entails). One of the girls professed to be a Christian. Todd questioned her about her sin, and she said, "It's ok, because I know that God will forgive me."
Whooooooaaaaaa. Hold on a minute! Just because God forgives doesn't mean there are not consequences to our sins! Manasseh's story carves a deep life lesson for me, and for America, which has lived under the umbrella of God's abundant blessings for a LONG time. Why do I wonder why I see struggles with sin in my own kids' lives? With the very same sins I continue to wrestle with (ie: short temper for one)? Why do we as a country wonder why there are no "good" presidential candidates to choose from?
It is not hopeless, though. Read the sermon to hear how Manasseh's conversion took place. :) Sometimes it takes a MAJOR loss to turn people around. Maybe that is where America is heading.