Monday, May 8, 2017

HEPHZIBAH: The Mother with a Wayward Son

This coming Sunday is Mother’s Day, so let’s take a look at some of the lesser known mothers in the Bible.  The Proverbs 31 woman has left many women staggering under guilt.  If you have spent your adult life trying to live up to the mothering standard set in that passage, you may be ready to take up permanent residence in the I-can’t-quite-measure-up lane.  We are left with the impression that this sort of mother is the Approved Standard Version — family centered, good business woman, great cook, generous, prepared, discreet, praiseworthy, wise, and beautiful.  Quite a lady if you could find her.

But the Bible gives us pictures of other kinds of mothers — the ones who cause us to nod our head to affirm the phrase, “If you can’t be a good example then you’ll just have to be a horrible warning.”  Yet, God used them in remarkable ways.  And, yes, some He used as a warning.  Maybe their stories are not all that familiar to you or maybe you will take a look at them in a new light.  One thing is certain, there is a reason their life stories are entered.

Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem; and his mother's name was Hephzibah. He did evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD dispossessed before the sons of Israel.  2 Kings 21:1-2 

There is very little that we know about this mother. In fact, all that we do know is what we find in our text. We know a lot about her husband and we know a lot about her son. We know she was a queen (the wife of King Hezekiah) and the mother of Manasseh, who would one day become king.  What we know about her husband and son, allows us to get better acquainted with her.

When you think of a godly king like Hezekiah we assume that Hephzibah was of the same quality and character. There is nothing that would suggest otherwise. Her name eventually became a symbolic name for Zion.  We read in Isaiah 62:4 You [Judah] shall no more be termed Forsaken, nor shall your land be called Desolate any more. But you shall be called Hephzibah [My delight is in her], and your land be called Beulah [married]; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married [owned and protected by the Lord]. (Amplified Version)  Therefore, I think we are safe to assume that teaching her boy about their God was a priority in her life.  But, Manasseh was rebellious against God. 

It would appear that sometime during his teenage years Manasseh began to drift from God. As an adult he began to turn from all that he had been taught turned to idols and witchcraft.  The following verses in 2 Kings 21 speak of destruction he performed of the things his father had done to honor God.  It is certain he broke the heart of his mother.  

However, God broke Manasseh by allowing him to be captured and put in chains.  In his bondage, he cried out to God who delivered him.  The scripture says in 2 Chronicles 33:13 Then Manasseh knew that the Lord He was God.  Afterwards, Manasseh would restore what had been lost, removed the evil things he had implemented and implanted, and led others to worship God.  Behind it all was a God at work to bring Manasseh unto Himself.  I can't help but wonder?  Did God bring Manasseh back in response to a mother who cried herself to sleep night after night over a wayward son?  We can only imagine how grateful Hephzibah was when God brought her son back. 

The light of a godly mother has brought many a loved one home. Many a son/daughter has been hooked by God because of the prayers of a praying mother.  Mothers (Parents) don't give up hope. If God could save a Manasseh, he can save your child. Know this...God knows how to bring your son/daughter back. 

Scripture to Claim:

For if you return to the LORD, your brothers and your sons will find compassion before those who led them captive and will return to this land. For the LORD your God is gracious and compassionate, and will not turn His face away from you if you return to Him.
2 Chronicles 30:9

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