My friend, Matt Elmore from Global Youth Ministry is in his seventh year as a youth ministry missionary in Kenya. He is part of raising a generation of leaders to invest in the next generation.
Lifegroup Discussion Questions after the jump!
Israel had a good king. Hezekiah was a Godly man, who made sure that his nation lived out Godly principles. Israel prospered as they were blessed by the presence and the power of God.
After Hezekiah, Manasseh, his son, became king. During his reign, he took the nation on a starkly different path.
[King Manasseh] did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, following the detestable practices of the pagan nations that the Lord had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites.
-2 Kings 21:2
Here are some of the things that Manasseh did:
- rebuilt pagan altars
- Altars for Baal
- Set up an Asherah pole. (a monument to the Caananite fertility goddess)
- He built pagan altars in the temple for various gods
- Practiced sorcery and divination
- Consulted with mediums and psychics
- Sacrificed his own son on the pagan altars
- Murdered many innocent people in Jerusalem
After Israel had been used to a Godly king pointing them in the right direction, how do you think they responded to this new king’s direction?
Manasseh even made a carved image of Asherah and set it up in the Temple, the very place where the Lord had told David and his son Solomon: “My name will be honored forever in this Temple and in Jerusalem—the city I have chosen from among all the tribes of Israel. 8 If the Israelites will be careful to obey my commands—all the laws my servant Moses gave them—I will not send them into exile from this land that I gave their ancestors.” 9 But the people refused to listen, and Manasseh led them to do even more evil than the pagan nations that the Lord had destroyed when the people of Israel entered the land.
-2 Kings 21:7-9
How do you think God responded?
Then the Lord said through his servants the prophets: 11 “King Manasseh of Judah has done many detestable things. He is even more wicked than the Amorites, who lived in this land before Israel. He has caused the people of Judah to sin with his idols. 12 So this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I will bring such disaster on Jerusalem and Judah that the ears of those who hear about it will tingle with horror. 13 I will judge Jerusalem by the same standard I used for Samaria and the same measure I used for the family of Ahab. I will wipe away the people of Jerusalem as one wipes a dish and turns it upside down. 14 Then I will reject even the remnant of my own people who are left, and I will hand them over as plunder for their enemies. 15 For they have done great evil in my sight and have angered me ever since their ancestors came out of Egypt.”
-2 Kings 21:10-15
One generation made all the difference. What parallels (if any) do you see between this story and ours?
If one generation can make the difference in a negative way… Can one generation make a difference in a positive way?
Josiah, Hezekiah’s great grandson, was obedient to God. He “did not turn away from doing what was right.” (2 Kings 22:2) He put a stop to the Baal worship that his grandfather had started, and he raised money to restore the temple to be used to worship God. It was during this time that the High Priest rediscovered the Word of God, long forgotten in the temple.
When the king heard what was written in the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes in despair.
-2 Kings 22:11
Josiah responded with an act indicating repentance. He sought Godly counsel with the prophet Huldah to see what must be done to get himself and his people right with God once again.
God, through the prophet, responded:
You were sorry and humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I said against this city and its people—that this land would be cursed and become desolate. You tore your clothing in despair and wept before me in repentance. And I have indeed heard you, says the Lord. 20 So I will not send the promised disaster until after you have died and been buried in peace. You will not see the disaster I am going to bring on this city.’ ”
-2 Kings 22:19-20
What parallels (if any) do you see between this story and ours?
What should we, as the Body of Christ do? What should we each as individuals do?
Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.
-2 Chronicles 7:14