“So couriers went throughout all Israel and Judah with letters from the king and his princes, as the king had commanded, saying, "O people of Israel, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, that he may turn again to the remnant of you who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria…Do not now be stiff-necked as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the Lord and come to His sanctuary… For if you return to the Lord, your brothers and your children will find compassion with their captors and return to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful and will not turn away His face from you, if you return to Him. "So the couriers went from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, and as far as Zebulun, but they laughed them to scorn and mocked them. However, some men of Asher, of Manasseh, and of Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem.” - 2 Chronicles 30:6, 8-11
When King Hezekiah of Judah came to the throne, the country was in chaos. The economy had been ruined. Enemies had carried away hundreds of thousands of the people - especially women and children - into slavery. The national territory was being lost to the surrounding nations, city by city.
These conditions were the direct result of the moral decay promoted by Hezekiah’s predecessor, his own father, Ahaz. Ahaz hated God so much that he literally chopped up the holy vessels used in the Temple worship and shut the doors of the Temple while he filled the city of Jerusalem with idolatry, immorality and child sacrifice. God removed His blessing and protection from Judah.
Hezekiah understood this and was determined to turn things around. He first ordered the Priests and Levites to clean up the Temple and get it ready, then he invited everyone, not only in Judah but even in what was left of Israel, to come, return to God and worship Him. It was too late for Israel. The people there just laughed at Hezekiah’s messengers, although there were a few exceptions who had a heart for God, even there. But there was a real turning to God among the people of Judah. For at least that generation, the spiritual lives of many were restored. We live one generation at a time. We are able reach those who are alive today. Each generation is called to be faithful, to stand on God’s Word and trust in Him, and teach our children to do the same. God has entrusted them to our care for this purpose. The battle we face today for the soul of our nation is not a new one that no other generation has had to fight. It’s the same one that each generation has to face. The question is, are we up to it? Satan would enslave our children and grandchildren if he can, both spiritually and in the natural realm as well. The enemy of our souls specializes in enslavement of any kind. Child sacrifice, whether to a pagan idol or in an abortion clinic, is His delight. If we fail to teach the next generation by word and example to follow Jesus, there are others always waiting in the wings, ready to seize the moment when we drop the ball. What they want to teach our children is not what we want them to learn. They are actively grooming our children for a life of slavery. Will you step up? Lord, have mercy on our children! We see the forces of evil at work to turn their hearts away from You and enslave them. We are surrounded by enemies more powerful than we, and we need You to empower us for this fight. Lord God, we consecrate ourselves to the task of reaching this generation with the light of Your Word. Forgive our slow response, and guide us now, in Jesus’ name. Amen. Pastor Dan Giles