Like Father, Like Son?

It is not uncommon to hear someone say, “like father, like son.” And by that, they are saying that they aren’t surprised in the behavior of the son because it is assumed he will behave like his father. Usually, this is meant in a negative sense, though it is possible to intend something positive.

Another way of saying the same thing is, “fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Sometimes an additional caveat is offered: “…unless it’s planted on a hill.” But that caveat is generally intended as dry humor or a very rare exception.

Clearly every colloquial saying can’t be measured for its accuracy in all situations – after all, they are simply intended as general truths – but this particular one gives me concern because it dismisses the sovereign work of God in any of our lives.

Here’s a biblical example:

I’ve prepared a chart comparing/contrasting the lives of Ahaz and Hezekiah, both kings of Judah. While there are many more points that could be compared, I have limited this to 10 points.

1. Ahaz became king at 20 years of age and reigned 16 years in Jerusalem (2 Kgs 16:2, 2 Chr 28:1).
Hezekiah became king at 25 years of age and reigned 29 years in Jerusalem (2 Kgs 18:2, 2 Chr 29:1).

2. Ahaz: “Unlike David, he did not do what was right in the eyes of the LORD his God ( 2Kgs 16:2, 2 Chr 28:1).
Hezekiah: Like David, “He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD (2 Kgs 18:3, 2 Chr 29:2).

3. Ahaz’s wickedness is compared to the Kings of Israel (2 Kgs 16:3, 2 Chr 28:2).
Hezekiah’s righteousness is contrasted with the Kings of Judah (2 Kgs 18:5).

4. Ahaz’s Wicked Actions Described:
A. Sacrificed his sons in the fire [to Molech] (2 Kgs 16:3, 2 Chr 28:3);
B. Spread idolatry throughout Judah (2 Kgs 16:4, 2 Chr 28:4, 24-25);
C. Pilfered and rearranged the Temple furnishings (2 Chr 28:10-18).
Hezekiah’s Righteous Actions Described:
A. Removed the high places (2 Kgs 18:4);
B. Broke the pillars (2 Kgs 18:4);
C. Cut down the Asherah (2 Kgs 18:4);
D. Broke in pieces the bronze serpent (2 Kgs 18:4).

5. Ahaz’s Enemies:
A. Rezin, King of Aram [Damascus] (2 Kgs 16:5, 2 Chr 28:5-8);
B. Pekah, King of Israel (2 Kgs 16:5, 2 Chr 28:5-8);
C. Philistines (2 Chr 28:18).
Hezekiah’s Enemies:
A. Assyria ( 2 Kgs 18:7, 2 Chr 32:1);
B. Philistines (2 Kgs 18:8).

6. Prophet in the Story of Ahaz: Oded (2 Chr 28:9).
Prophet in the Story of Hezekiah: Isaiah (2 Kgs 19:5-7, 20-34; 2 Chr 32:20-21).

7. Assyrian Leader During Ahaz’s Life: Tiglath-Pileser (2 Kgs 16:7, 2 Chr 28:20).
Assyrian Leader During Hezekiah’s Life: Sennacherib (2 Kgs 18:13, 2 Chr 32:1).

8. Ahaz’s View Toward Assyria: “I am your vassal, come and save me… (2 Kgs 16:7)”.
Hezekiah’s View Toward Assyria: “He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him (2 Kgs 18:7).”

9. Ahaz was buried in the City of David (2 Kgs 16:20), but not in the tombs of the kings of Israel (2 Chr 28:27).
Hezekiah “was buried on the hill where the tombs of David’s descendants are (2 Chr 32:33).”

10. Summary of Ahaz’s Life: “In his time of trouble, King Ahaz became even more unfaithful to the LORD (2 Chr 28:22).”
Summary of Hezekiah’s Life: “In everything that he undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly (2 Chr 31:21).”

A father and son could not have been more different than Ahaz and Hezekiah. Perhaps Ahaz was planted on a hill, or better, let’s recognize God’s sovereign work in Hezekiah’s life and pray for the same in our own lives.

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: