2 Kings 21:1-2
“Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Hephzibah. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.”
Though every person is responsible for their own actions, Manasseh’s life and how he ruled are a result of the wasted years that his father lived at the end of his life. Manasseh’s father was Hezekiah, who was a good king for the majority of his life. You may recall how Hezekiah fell sick and was going to die, but his prayer to God gave him fifteen more years to live.
It was those extra fifteen years in Hezekiah’s life that became detrimental to the future of Judah. In those last fifteen years of Hezekiah’s life, he compromised his associations and allowed heathen kings to come into his palace to see everything that he owned. God’s prophecy against Hezekiah was that his sons would face the punishment for his actions, to which Hezekiah responded that he didn’t care as long as he had peace in his days.
It was this attitude that led to a young Manasseh not caring about God. Manasseh was only twelve years old when he began to reign, and the only model he had to follow was the wasted years that Hezekiah lived. Sadly, those wasted years of Hezekiah’s life influenced Judah for decades. Manasseh’s life could have been different had his father not wasted the latter years of his life in sin. Three vital lessons can be learned from Manasseh and Hezekiah.
First, any time in sin is wasted time. It doesn’t matter if you waste a day in sin or if you waste years in sin, you can never take back the impact that that time has on your life and future generations. You may not think it is a big deal to waste just a “little” time in sin, but God cares about the time you waste in sin, and He will judge accordingly. My friend, every “little” time in sin adversely makes a big impact on the generations that follow you. The best time in sin is no time at all. You must guard against any time in sin if you don’t want it to negatively impact your life and the lives of your children.
Second, you always influence the next generation to do wrong when you waste time in sin. The next generation often follows the lowest standard you set for them, and when you waste time in sin, you lowered the standard for them to live. It was a short time in sin that influenced Lot to pitch his tent towards Sodom. It was only a few years of Hezekiah’s life that influenced Manasseh to do evil in the sight of the LORD. You may come back to God after wasting a few years in sin, but its impact on the next generation can never be taken back. If you don’t want to influence the next generation for wrong, you had better not waste any time in sin.
Third, your age and accomplishments never give you a right to waste time in sin or apathy. I have watched men who spent decades in the ministry change how they live after they retired only to cause their message of decades to be voided. It doesn’t matter how old you are or what you have done for the LORD, all the years of godly training will be wasted if you waste the latter years of your life in sin and apathy. Just because you are older doesn’t give you a right to do wrong. The best influence you can have on future generations is to do right your entire life. You should make it your goal to serve God until the day that you die.