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2 Kings 14:3-4 - Homiletics

A father's evil example no justification for a son's misconduct.

Amaziah "did according to all things as Joash his father did." Like his father, he was half-hearted. In his earlier years he kept to the worship of Jehovah, and "did that which was right in the sight of the Lord," yet not with any zeal or energy. Afterwards he fell away, introduced idolatry ( 2 Chronicles 25:14 ), and when a prophet rebuked him for his evil courses , answered him with scoffs and threatenings ( 2 Chronicles 25:15 , 2 Chronicles 25:16 ). His father Joash had done even worse after the death of Jehoiada. He had not only sanctioned idolatries ( 2 Chronicles 24:17 , 2 Chronicles 24:18 ), but had had the servant of God who rebuked them put to death ( 2 Chronicles 24:21 ). This, however, is not held by the sacred writer to be any justification or excuse for Amaziah. The reasons are manifest.

I. NO MAN IS TO BE CALLED MASTER , NOT EVEN A FATHER . God gives men in his Law and in their conscience a standard of right, which they are to follow. He nowhere bids them take any man but the "God-Man" for pattern. He warns them that men are, all of them, more or less imperfect. He requires that parents shall be "honored," not imitated.

II. THE EVIL EXAMPLE OF A FATHER IS A WARNING TO SONS , WHICH SHOULD LEAD TO AVOIDANCE , NOT IMITATION . The sight of a drunken father should disgust sons with drunkenness. Blasphemous and violent words should so shock them as to suggest an exactly opposite behavior. Looseness of morals should breed in them a determination never to offend in a way so absolutely revolting. Given that simplicity which is natural to youth, and every fault of a father should so keenly wound and vex their souls as to bend them in the exactly contrary direction. Sin is so ugly, so offensive, so coarse, that in another it naturally disgusts us; and the more plainly it is revealed, the closer it is brought to us, the more are we naturally provoked and angered by it.

III. THE PUNISHMENT WHICH SIN DRAWS AFTER IT SHOULD COME ESPECIALLY HOME TO THOSE WHOSE HOMES ARE CURSED WITH IT , AND ACT AS A DETERRENT . Disease, decay, the loss of others' respect, the severing of friendships, general dislike and aversion, in some cases contempt, dog the footsteps of sin, and mark it as a thing to be avoided. Sons are naturally sensitive with regard to their fathers' honor, and keen to mark whether they are held in respect or no. There can be no natural deterrent from evil courses stronger than the perception that one with whom we are bound up is deteriorating from day to day, not merely in character, but in reputation, falling in men's esteem, becoming a mark for their scorn. The father's fall should thus not produce the son's, but rather stimulate the son to rise to greater and greater heights of virtue.

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