Think of one way that the previous generation has blessed your generation, and one way in which it has failed you.
Now answer this: What would the next generation say about you? That is, would the next generation say that you were a blessing to them, or would they say that you have failed them?
Our parents and grandparents lived in an era where survival was the name of the game. They made many sacrifices so that their children could have the best education and the best job and career possible. It was “to each his own”.
Today, not much has changed. We are still looking out for ourselves mostly. Few are thinking about the common good. This is a path that will NOT lead to a stronger and better Singapore. In fact, it is a path fraught with danger.
King Hezekiah of Israel began well. But towards the end of his extended reign, he committed many abominable acts (2 Kings 20). When warned by the prophet Isaiah that his actions would have a disastrous consequence on the successive generation – “everything in your palace, and all that your predecessors have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left … and some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon” – he brushed it aside with indifference. All that mattered to him was that there would be “peace and security in my lifetime”.
Do not underestimate the power of ONE. One man or one generation has the power to change a nation, even the world, for better or for worse. Martin Luther changed the face of Christianity. Martin Luther King added ‘color’ to the social (racial) fabric of America. Hitler convinced an entire nation that they were a superior race and thereby justified the killing of millions. A few were there to stop him; but a few was not enough.
King Manasseh took over the throne after Hezekiah died. By the end of his fifty-five year reign, Manasseh managed to undo all the good that his father had done.
“He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had destroyed; he also erected altars to Baal and made an Asherah pole, as Ahab king of Israel had done. He bowed down to all the starry hosts and worshiped them. He built altars in the temple of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, “In Jerusalem I will put my Name.”In the two courts of the temple of the Lord, he built altars to all the starry hosts. He sacrificed his own son in the fire, practiced divination, sought omens, and consulted mediums and spiritists.” (2 Kings 21:3-6)
Like King Manasseh, this generation is concerned with establishing their own names. They want to be rich; famous and powerful, if possible. Truth be told: The success and prosperity of a nation is not the sum total of the success and prosperity of its citizens. We are exhorted, instead, to “seek the peace and prosperity of the city … because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (Jer 29:7).
How did Manasseh turn out the way he did? Simply, he was not taught well by his father. This begs the question: What are we teaching our children so that they would not become the “Manasseh Generation”?
Amon, Manasseh’s son, followed fully in his father’s footsteps, and led Israel further away from God. Two years later, he was succeeded by his son, Josiah. Thankfully, Josiah was a different kind of king. “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord” (2 Kings 22:2). What made him different? He “followed completely the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left”.
When the Book of the Law was found by Hilkiah the priest and read to Josiah, he immediately “tore his robes” and wept in the presence of God. He then gathered together all the inhabitants of Jerusalem and read the Book of the Law to them. Josiah laid a new foundation, the right foundation of the Word of God. At the same time, he tore down all the altars that were built to false gods.
This, my friends, is what you and I and also Singapore needs: a new foundation of the Word of God. I urge you, therefore, to mediate on God’s Word constantly so that you would do all that is written in it. Then, as you prospser through the Word of God, ask God for wisdom to develop workable solutions that are based on biblical principles to our societal problems. The Word of God cannot continue to remain within the four walls of the church. It has to go out.
“The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Isa 2:3).
Each generation is not only responsible for their own, but also for the next. The preceding generation is a steward of the succeeding one. The next generation will reap what we sow today.
“The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children” (Psa 103:17).