Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king. He ruled for fifty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Hephzibah. In God's judgment he was a bad king—an evil king. He reintroduced all the moral rot and spiritual corruption that had been scoured from the country when God dispossessed the pagan nations in favor of the children of Israel. 2 Kings 21:1-2 (MSG)
Last night my wife and I had a friend, a professor from Central College, over for dinner. It was a wonderful evening. I thought of my grandfather, who graduated from Central in 1929. In 1927, he became a charter member of a fraternal theatrical organization which still operates within the college's theater department. I was not aware of this when I moved here six years ago.I happened upon his signature on the group's charter hanging on a wall. How ironic that eighty years later I would move to the same area and be involved with the theatrical community he helped get started.
I look back at the generations before me, and I feel fortunate. While no one is perfect, I can look back through my father's family and my mother's family and recognize grandparents and great-grandparents who sought to live right and parent well. There are key individuals who desired to leave a legacy of faith and life which I recognize in my own life and, I pray, will continue to be lived out in my children and the generations to come.
This resonates as I think about Manasseh in today's chapter. His father, Hezekiah, was listed among the "good" kings but his legacy, realized in his son, was unparalleled evil. When confronted by Isaiah with the prophecy that his descendents would be submitted to a terrible captivity, Hezekiah's response was completely self-centered: "Well, I'll be gone by then." The first ten years of Manasseh's reign, he was co-regent with his father Hezekiah. They shared the throne as Hezekiah battled his illness. Hezekiah had every opportunity to teach and mentor his son, but he left little or no imprint of faith and righteousness.