Hephzibah

14 May 2017 AM – 2Kings 21:1-16 – Mother’s Day – Scott Childs

Introduction: In the Bible, God has recorded for us good examples as well as bad examples that we might learn to do right. This morning we are going to look at the influence of a mother that most of you do not know. Her name is Hephzibah. Though you may not know Hephzibah, you may know her husband Hezekiah and her infamous son Manasseh.

The only thing God tells us about Hephzibah is that she was Hezekiah’s wife and the mother of Manasseh. However, as we examine the life her son, we learn much from her failure as a mother. Though I believe that his father Hezekiah was primarily to blame for failing to rear Manasseh in a godly way, without question every mother including Hephzibah has a daily intimate influence on their children’s training.

Read 2 Kings 21:1-16 comment as I read

Transition: This morning rather than focussing on Hephzibah’s failure I want to spend the rest of our time focusing on the positive duties of motherhood that she should have done to prevent such failure.

God wants every mother to …

1.        Build Character in Her Children

Manasseh had evil character in the sight of the Lord (v.2).

a.         Character is critical
1)         What is character?
a)         WebWord Dictionary defines it as, “The inherent complex of attributes that determine a person’s moral and ethical actions and reactions”
b)         D.L. Moody said, “Character is what you are in the dark.”
c)         We then could say that godly character is the constant habit of always doing the right thing even though no one may ever know.
2)         Without good character your children will be lazy, selfish, disobedient, ungrateful and unforgiving. They may obey in your presence, but they will disobey when you are not looking. That is sinful character. Do not ignore your children’s vital need for good character.
3)         By the age of 12, Manasseh had evil character. In contrast, by the age of 12 Jesus had exceptional character (Lu 2:41-52). Yes, He was God in human flesh, but the Bible says that He was subject to His parents.
b.         Mum, you must build that godly character
1)         Developing godly character is never an accident.
2)         First, develop godly character in your own life. If you do not obey God, obey the laws of the land, live morally, and strive to do right, you cannot build godly character in your children. Your example will always speak louder than your words.
3)         Daily developing your child’s godly character should begin when the child is an infant. Character building includes:
a)         Train your children obey immediately and enforce it.
b)         Give them work to do and teach them to do it properly.
c)         Clearly teach them what is right and wrong.
d)         Teach them to discernment in choices.
e)         Develop the godly leadership in your children. Hephzibah failed to develop godly leadership in Manasseh and he led others into evil (v.9).
f)       Make a list of character qualities to teach and work on them one by one. You can find lists on the web. Here are a few to begin with: Attentiveness; Obedience; Truthfulness; Gratefulness; Generosity; Orderliness; Forgiveness; Responsibility; Frugality; Patience; Self-Control; Punctuality.
God wants every mother to …

2.        Lead Her Children to Fear God

Manasseh did not fear God. Instead he worshipped false gods, prayed to the sun, moon, planets and stars, and even gave his son as a burnt sacrifice to false gods (v.3-6).

a.         Fearing God is vital
1)         Fearing God requires good character. Your children will struggle to fear God if they have never developed godly character.
2)         Fearing God is recognizing His sovereignty over us and respectfully desiring to please Him in all things so as not to offend Him in any way. – SKC
3)         Without a proper fear of God, we will ignore God’s commands and please ourselves. Christians who do not obey God in areas of morality, honesty, tithing, anger, forgiveness, or swearing do not really fear God.
b.         Fearing God is first caught then taught
1)         That is the reason I said mothers must “lead” their children to fear God. Your example is vital in the process.
2)         The best way to teach the fear of God is to let your children see that you fear God yourself. Children are quick to detect if we sincerely fear God or not. If our children see us dishonour God by our words and actions during the week, they will not believe that we truly fear God on Sunday either.
3)         Talk much with your children about the character of God so that they learn of God’s holiness, His presence, His power, His knowledge and His love.
4)         Make God’s plan of salvation clear to your children.
5)         Teach your children how and why to worship God by instructing them how to respect God during church, during family Bible reading and during prayer.
6)         Study the Bible and pray with your children regularly.
7)         Dress them up when you attend church to honour the Lord whom we worship. What are we teaching our children when we dress them up for a concert but let them come to church to worship God in play clothes?
God wants every mother to …

3.        Teach Her Children to Hate the Evil God Hates

Manasseh provoked God to anger with his witchcraft (v.6)

a.         Manasseh’s sins provoked God to anger (v.6).
1)         What were those sins?
a)         He sacrificed his son to a false god.
b)         He was involved in all sorts of witchcraft.
c)         He set up an idol in God’s temple (v.7).
2)         Evil is anything that challenges God’s authority.
b.         God is holy, hates evil and is angered by evil.
1)         Note what God told Israel in (Leviticus 11:45), “For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”
2)         God hates all sin, but here are seven sins that he particularly hates. (Proverbs 6:16-19) “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”
3)         God’s holiness demands that we separate from evil. (1 Peter 1:14-16) “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”
c.          Children need to learn to hate evil.
1)         Just as fearing God requires good character, so hating evil as God hates evil requires fearing God. These qualities work together. (Proverbs 8:13) “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.”
2)         Teach your children to love God. If they love God they will hate evil. (Psalms 97:10) “Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.”
3)         Teach your children to serve the Lord from their hearts and put Him first. Anything that we put before God is an idol. Jesus said in (Matthew 6:24) “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
Conclusion: Mothers, will learn from the failures of Hephzibah. Build character in your children, lead them to fear God, and teach them to hate evil as God hates evil. If, with God’s help, you do this faithfully, your children will turn out to love God and serve Him. You have God’s word on it. (Proverbs 22:6) If you are not saved, trust Christ today.

Song: Have Thine Own Way – 388