Youth and Leadership
Scripture reading for May 3rd: 2nd Chronicles 33-36
The Chronicles are filled with records of the kings of Israel and Judah. Each record usually begins with a note about the age of the king when he took office and a general comment about whether he did good or evil. Manasseh was only 12 years old when he began his reign and Josiah was only 8 years old. Manasseh did evil and Josiah did what was right and good.
Manasseh was the son of a good king, Hezekiah. Manasseh was born to king Hezekiah later in his life after God miraculously spared his life and gave him 15 more years. Hezekiah had torn down the idol temples and humbly tried to walk with the Lord but Manasseh undid much of his father’s reform and took the nation away from God. He worshiped the starry host of heaven and even offered his children to these worthless idols. (2nd Chronicles 33:3-6)
God tried to speak to Manasseh but because he refused to listen, he was taken in captivity to Babylon. Manasseh did cry out to the Lord there and God had mercy on him. He was restored to Jerusalem where he removed some of the idols he had erected and tried to restore the Lord’s altar. He failed to teach his own sons. One of them, Amnon, succeeded his father and did evil without repentance.
Josiah was one of the youngest kings and one of the best. He sought the Lord early in his reign and purged Jerusalem of idols and images. (2nd Chronicles 34:3-7) He set out to repair the temple, collecting funds to pay the workers and do the repairs. While repairing the temple, the priest Hilkiah, found the Book of the Law that had been lost and neglected. When Josiah heard the word of God, he humbled himself and sought prophetic help. Huldah, the prophetess, told the king of the anger of God aroused because of the unfaithfulness of his people and their disobedience to His commands. Josiah led the people to renew their covenant with the Lord.
These two kings took opposite paths. Their youth was not the main factor in their walk with God. Their heart to follow God and obey His word determined God’s verdict concerning their lives. What will He write about us?