Seeing all the evil King Manasseh did -- turning away from the ways of his godly father Hezekiah and following the ways of King Ahab of Israel -- made me wonder about his mother, Hephzibah. Was she perhaps descended from Ahab and Jezebel? Did she introduce pagan worship to her son?
But a quick google search reveals she was none other than the daughter of Isaiah. Yes, that Isaiah.
So how did such a healthy tree produce such rotten fruit?
The Bible doesn’t present a clear picture of how the son of such a godly pair turned to such evil, although it does indicate that in later years, Manasseh repented.
It’s a little discouraging as a parent to read this. If Hezekiah and Isaiah’s daughter couldn’t lead their child to follow God as they had, what hope do the rest of us have?
Of course, we have the same hope we’ve always had, because just as our own salvation isn’t dependent on our goodness and righteousness, neither is the salvation of our children. Praise the Lord that it is not dependent on me!
Our best, and really our only hope as parents, lies in our prayers for our children. Friends share their parenting struggles, and we say, “There’s nothing I can do to help, but I’ll pray for you.” We should be saying, “I will do the very most important, the most powerful thing that I could ever do for anyone—I will call on the Lord, who spoke the universe into existence, and ask Him to change the course they are on, just as He can change the course of a river or part a sea.”
All our best efforts of teaching our children, bringing them to church, sending them to Christian schools—none of these things will change their heart. Only the Spirit of God can move them to recognize their need for the Savior. Only the Holy Spirit can bring conviction for their sin (and ours). Only this same Spirit can draw them into relationship with God.