Willing To Break the Norm

DATE POSTED Monday, 2022-12-24

SCRIPTURE FROM: 2 Kings 21:1-3
TRANSLATION: New Living Translation (NLT)

BIBLE TEXT: Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. His mother was Hephzibah. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, following the detestable practices of the pagan nations that the Lord had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites. He rebuilt the pagan shrines his father, Hezekiah, had destroyed. He constructed altars for Baal and set up an Asherah pole, just as King Ahab of Israel had done. He also bowed before all the powers of the heavens and worshiped them.

APPLICATION: Surely one of the hardest jobs of parents (myself included), is to raise up a child in the way that helped us to be successful in our own lives. For as soon as we open the door and allow them into the community, whether at church, or school, or with friends, they are exposed to other principles, and they must then decide whether they will adopt their friends’ principles, or to continue following what they are taught at home. This is the challenge that I believe many of David’s generation were faced with, and it may have been the deciding factor in helping them chose the course of their reign. To please our parents, we tend to lift them up and earn their love and respect. To please our friends, we tend to not only earn their respect and admiration, but we gain a sense of being accepted, and possibly being popular among our friends. However, when we learn what pleases God, and we commit to following His commands, we will learn such commands as obeying our parents in the Lord. This was so important to God, that He followed the command with the promise of a reward – that our days may be long on earth. But for those parents who are meditating on this devotional, and perhaps nodding your head in agreement, thank you! However, let me also remind you that children thrive on understanding why we make certain requirements of them, and they do better in obeying when they understand why they are being asked to do something. Are you, yourself, in the Word every day and making every effort to obey the commands of God? Are you sharing your learning from the Word with your children? Do they know that honoring their parents is actually a command of God, and not just something you feel compelled to demand of them out of respect to you? It is so important for us to not only practice what says the Word the God, but to also teach our children from a very early age what God commands of them. The Bible reassures us that if we do this, and even if they stray from the Truth in their later years, yet the Word will be implanted in them and prompting them to listen to God’s correction, and His will for their lives. In the case of Manessah’s father, king Hezikiah, he received word from God that he was about to die (2 Kings 20:1), but in spite of his sin, he remembered that God was still on the throne in heaven, and he pleaded for an extension of his life from God. Although Manessah still chose to do what was evil in the eyes of God, can’t you imagine that somewhere in the back of his mind, he must have known that you can’t declare evil in the face of a holy God and get away with it? I believe that’s how our kids are. They may stray from the Truth, but deep inside they know that they are dishonoring God, and they will personally pay for their sin. How then do we help them become stronger, bolder in their commitment, and different from the rest – if that’s what it takes to stay in the center of God’s will? Of course, this might cause them to be different to what they see as the norm; what they have seen practiced by others in similar position to themselves, and in spite of all the recommendations pushed at them by the world. But remember, the God you know is much bigger, stronger, caring and more loving than any of the forces working on your children. To honor God, and to be a child following His example, will look much different to the ‘norm’, but it will be the right way if we are pleasing Almighty God. Those of us connected to God and have a personal relationship with His Son, have a direct connection to the throne of grace. In prayer, let us seek the face of God on behalf of those we love who need redirection and/or correction. Let us pray, dear friends!

BLESSING(S) NOTED: God still answers the heart cry of those who seek Him, like He did for Hezehiah. I believe that God also watches as rebels do their own thing instead of following the example and teachings of our heavenly Lord. Oh, that we would strive to help those who choose to disobey God.

PRAYER: Lord, when we accepted Jesus as our Savior, we showed the world that we were willing to ‘break the norm’, stop following in the ways of the world and instead follow You and obey Your commands. This becomes easier said than done, at times, and while we must first and foremost ask that You please help us achieve a consistent walk with You, even more so, we need Your help in offering support and prayer for our children and for those we come into contact with who struggle in their walk with You. It’s easy for us to look down on folk, as in the case of king Manessah that we read about today. But just as many prayed, and no doubt are continuing to pray, for us today, please give us the desire to also pray for others instead of seeking out their faults and failures. Help us Lord to love others enough to want to lift them up in prayer. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. You may also visit me on Spotify and listen to Nuggets while you’re out and about. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

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