Summary: We all have the same choice to travel life’s road with God or without Him.
Decisions Determine Our Destiny
In the area of the Maramures you have the "Merry Cemetery". To mark the graves someone has done a picturesque detailed carving along with a poem illustrating the life of that person. By looking at these markers and reading the poems we can know the character of that person and the focal point of their life.
That’s what the Bible does for us. It shows us the character of a person and what they focused on in life.
It goes further and shows us the consequences of their focus. We get to see the outcome of their decisions.
And then...we have a choice. To follow in the same way...or not to follow.
The past plays an important part in today’s actions and tomorrow’s plans. It gives us lessons to learn and errors to avoid repeating.
To justify our actions we will use the excuse--
I am young--life is short
My father was like that
I’ve always been like that
It’s too hard...to be different
They won’t like me
Everyone around me is doing that
Let’s take a look at 4 Kings in the Bible and see how very much alike their surroundings were and the choices they made.
Being Kings--they all lived in a kings house
anything they wanted--they got
everything looked good...smelled good
First King: Hezekiah
Read: II Kings 18:2-7
He did right in God’s sight. He was a good
Vs.4 1. he boldly cleaned house--removed the high places (worshiped false gods), broke down idol images, opened the Temple back up, re instituted Passover as national holiday
Vs.5 2. he trusted God
Vs. 6 3. he clung to God...did not depart from following Him
Vs. 7 4. the LORD was with him and he prospered wherever he went
He refused to serve Assyria’s King whom his father submitted to. He placed his faith in God’s strength rather than his own and obeyed God’s commands in spite of obstacles and dangers that from mans view looked overwhelming!
He chose to do what was right in God’s sight and God blessed him greatly.
We learn from Hezekiah that complete dependence on God yields amazing results.
Proposition: Our decisions determine our destiny
When he died, his son Manasseh took his place.
Read: II Kings 21:1,2
He did evil in God’s sight. 12 years old...easily persuaded, but, still has a choice
Vs.3 1. he rebuilt the high places, worshiped stars, built idol altars in God’s Temple, worshiped pagan gods and even sacrificed his children to them!
Vs.6b 2. he did much evil--provoking God to anger; He showed justice to Manasseh in warning & punishing him.
3. II Chron. (33:9) tells us Manasseh did more evil than nations the LORD had destroyed before the Israel!
4. consequence--army of Assyria captured him with hooks and chains and took him to Babylon.
He sought the LORD and greatly humbled himself--the LORD received his prayer and brought him back to Jerusalem to his kingdom. "Then Manasseh knew the LORD was God." He was given a new start.
No one is outside the reach of God’s saving grace.
5. he built the outer wall to the city of David, removed the foreign gods and altars from the Temple and set up the altar of LORD and gave peace & thank offerings.
He was a bad King that turned good.
We learn from the life of Manasseh, God goes to great lengths to get our attention and that through repentance He always forgives.
After Manasseh his son Amon was appointed King.
Read: II Kings 21:19,20
He did evil in God’s sight
1. II Chron. tells us he did not humble himself before the LORD as his father did. He chose to be a bad King.
2. he reigned only two years. He was murdered by his servants.
We see from Amon’s life God was not with him. When God is with you, His favor (blessings) are bestowed upon you.
After Amon his son Josiah reigned as King.
Read: II Kings 22:1,2
He was a good King. He was a lot like his great-grandfather Hezekiah--a close relationship with God.
8 years old--He didn’t know his father much. Some of us say it’s been too hard because we didn’t have a Dad around to teach us, to show us the way. God was his Father. God is our Father. We can never say we don’t have a Father.
There’s nothing you can’t accomplish with God as your Father.
1. Josiah did right in God’s sight
2. he cleaned out the Temple and revived in the people obedience to God’s law
3. he was steadfast--stayed straight on path with God
We learn from Josiah that God consistently responds to those with a repentant and humble heart. Josiah went after God when he was quite young. No one is ever too young to take God seriously and obey Him.