A Selfish Generation
Pastor Larry Bond
In II Kings 20 we see two very different attitudes demonstrated by Hezekiah. In verse 2 and 3 he is in grief stricken agony! "Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, saying, I beseech thee, O LORD, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore." Having a sickness unto death, we see his attitude when his own skin was at stake. This was also Satan's opinion of the attitude of man in Job 2:4. "Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life."
By contrast to this, notice in verse 19 Hezekiah's apathetic attitude a few years latter when judgement is pronounced upon his posterity by the prophet Isaiah because of his arrogance in showing all his treasures to the Babylonian emissary. "Then said Hezekiah unto Isaiah, Good is the word of the LORD which thou hast spoken. And he said, Is it not good, if peace and truth be in my days?" A few chapters later we see Isaiah's prophecy come to pass as Hezekiah's great, great grandchildren are slaughtered and enslaved by Babylon. Oh, that today we would cry out to God that godliness would be restored to America! Considering the terrible moral decay in the last 50 years, what will be the atmosphere in 3 or 4 generations from now? What horrendous temptations will our great grandchildren face? Will the animosity toward God's name that we see today evolve into brutal persecution? Will God's hand of judgement fall upon our country? Do we really care about what America will be like for our descendents? There have been many selfish generations throughout history that have had this same unconcerned attitude about future generations, though there are some bright spots in history where this was not the case. For example, in the early days of our country, the attitude was "give our lives that future generations might be blessed with freedom". The signers of the Declaration of Independence willingly gave their fortunes, their honor, and their very lives in order that people they would never know generations later could enjoy the blessings of freedom. And then, Abraham dwelt in tents in a strange land trusting in the promises of God that his seed would be blessed.
Hezekiah's attitude would fit into our modern society quite well. In fact, it would frequently fit into our churches and Christian homes as well. Let us not forget that Hezekiah was a very godly King bringing reform and revival to Judah. So also, many godly parents today care more for their careers, material things, and God's blessings in their lifetime than a virtuous, godly posterity whom they, in this life, will never see or know. "Is it not good, if peace and truth be in my days?" Perhaps we as Christian parents need to turn our face to the wall, pray fervently, and weep for our country and our grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great, great grandchildren! As a child, I remember hearing the effectual, fervent prayers of my godly grandfather. I recall hearing about how as a young man, he was mocked by a gang of peers for not drinking alcohol with them, and that only by holding him down and forcing his mouth open could they accomplish their devilish task. My other grandfather (mother's side) died one year before I was born, but my aunt told me about how every payday once a month ($100) he first took out the tithe and put it in a strong box until Sunday. Also, he daily had family devotions and prayed with the family. My children and grandchildren, whom my grandparents never saw or knew, are now basking in the Son light of that godly heritage. Though they have decided or must decide for Christ themselves, yet they have been bathed in the Word of God and godly examples. What a blessing!!! Thank you Lord! Thank you grandfathers! You may say, "but I'm a first generation Christian." What a wonderful opportunity you have to be a modern day patriarch! Your seed will rise up and call you blessed!
What is it that causes us to turn our faces to the wall, weep, and pray? Financial failures? Life-threatening health issues? Emotional stresses? Career catastrophes? Business bomb-outs? Broken toys? Shattered dreams? How about weeping and pleading with God for our great-grandchildren whom we will never know in this life? How about changing our priorities, attitudes, and direction in order to see by faith godly generations stemming from our loins? How about sacrificing selfish comforts for descendents whose faces we will not see and whose names we will not hear? The attitude in our hearts may be, "who cares, as long as it goes well with me and my children". "Is it not good, if peace and truth be in my days?" Or maybe we are so self-centered that the spiritual welfare of future generations never crossed our minds! Some may say, "it doesn't matter - Christ will return before then anyway". Jesus' return is imminent, which means He may come today or many generations from now! We are to be prepared for either case. We are to "…watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is." (Mark 13:33). But, we are also to "…occupy till I come," Jesus says. (Luke 19:13). We are to be busy about His work 'til He comes. Busy discipling, teaching, training, nurturing our children who will disciple, teach, train, and nurture their children, and so on beyond our lifetime. Oh, that our vision might not be near-sighted!
The reflection of a materialistic society is financial provision for the next generation via life insurance, estate wealth, etc, but as Christians we should focus on spiritual provisions handed down from generation to generation. - on eternal life assurance, eternal wealth, and the eternal Word making fertile the ground that our seed might take certain root and grow into a "tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." (Psalms 1:3). The "rivers of water" is the Word of God flowing from previous godly generations! Though it is essential that every individual personally accepts Christ for himself, yet the preparation by a godly heritage will make ready the ground, fertile and well watered, making salvation and spiritual growth far more probable.
Ask yourself, "what grieves me most?" The problems I'm having, or the possibility that my posterity may suffer the terrors of eternal hell fire without Christ!!!