Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part column.
Recorded in II Kings chapter twenty is the account of King Hezekiah receiving visitors from Babylon. The king had been very sick, and the visitors came from Babylon to give gifts to the king and to check on his wellbeing.
While they were there, Hezekiah’s pride got the best of him. He was so enamored by having the king of Babylon send servants to check on him, that he gave them the grand tour of his kingdom. “And Hezekiah hearkened unto them and showed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah showed them not” (II Kings 20:13).
After the visitors left, the prophet Isaiah came to the Hezekiah with some startling news. The day was coming when the Babylonians would come after all those treasures and take them away to Babylon. Hezekiah had made a mistake in showing all that was in his kingdom to those men. The king’s pride had gotten the best of him. He seemed to be trying to show the Babylonian that he was someone they could count on when only a few days before he had promised to trust in God and that God would deliver his nation from the Assyrian Army.
When Isaiah came to King Hezekiah, he asked a question that needs asking today, concerning our children. Isaiah asked, “…What have they seen in thine house?” (II Kings 20:14) What do our children see in our homes? The things that children see their parents do greatly affects what they will do now and in the future. Perhaps one of the best examples of this was an advertisement put out by the American Cancer Society in the late 60’s or early 70’s. The commercial showed a young boy and his dad working together. Everything the man did the boy copied, as best he could. Any father who has spent some time with his son knows this to be true, and knowing this should encourage parents to always try and set the best example possible before their children.
Children see many things in the home, some good and some not so good. Young minds need proper guidance so when they become teens and then adults they can make right decisions. It should make all parents more careful about their actions, knowing they are as the potter molding the “clay” of a young mind. While the clay is wet it can be molded into any number of forms, but after it has hardened it cannot be changed. The clay needs attention; the potter must be there to add water, or to vary the speed at which the clay is turned. If children do not get the proper guidance at home from where will it come? Children need to know their parents are interested and involved in their lives.
Children need to be taught to believe in and obey God. Notice what God said of Abraham, “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; … (Genesis 118:19). In the New Testament we are told, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). If following God is not considered important by parents, it is doubtful if the children will ever understand their own need for God.