Reading through the Bible together

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

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First and second Chronicles reads much like the book of Judges--a repeating pattern of people ignoring God, falling into trouble, paying attention to God followed by restoration. Teenagers have a name for this. Every year I ask my Bible classes to describe their relationship with God. Consistently a student says “Roller coaster,” meaning “up and down” and more than half the class agrees. How do we break this cycle?

 

Manasseh gives a textbook example of the “roller coaster” experience. He ignored God to the point of sacrificing his children and practicing witchcraft. He fell into real trouble when the Assyrians took him captive and brought him humiliated to Babylon. Then finally he paid attention and was restored. “And when he was in affliction, he besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed unto him: and He was entreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom” (verses 12-13).

 

How do we break the cycle of “ups and downs”? Manasseh didn’t, but his story may give us some clues. We’re told, “He took away the strange gods, and the idol out of the house of the Lord...” But later, “Amon (his son) sacrificed unto all the carved images which Manasseh his father had made...” v. 22. What if Manasseh had destroyed the idols? What if Manasseh had prioritized, without compromise, his example of fatherhood to Amon? The younger among us need the faithful to father them out of the inevitable falls of the “roller coaster” experience.

 

Jeffrey Marshall
Vice President of Evangelism
Generation. Youth. Christ.