To You And To Your Children

Tonight at sunset the commanded assembly of Pentecost, or the Feast of Weeks, begins. Today I would like to discuss the way in which blessings and curses travel through families. It has long been an interest of mine the way that both trials and blessings seem to pass through families. The Sons of Korah, for example, have a biblical record of faithful service in God’s tabernacle and temple for almost a thousand years, all because they refused to join in the rebellion of their father. At other times, we see the weaknesses of parents live on in their children, who have to struggle against the same problems their parents and even grandparents had to deal with. I would like today to examine the scriptures to see why this is so, why blessings and curses follow through the generations and to explain what this has to do with Pentecost.

The Example of a Godly Man

Let us turn first to the book of Genesis. In Genesis 50:22-26, the last few verses of Genesis, we have some fascinating hints of how the example of Joseph lived on after he died to his descendents in Ephraim and Manasseh. Genesis 50:22-26 reads as follows: “So Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he and his father’s household. And Joseph lived one hundred and ten years. Joseph saw Ephraim’s children to the third generation. The children of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were also brought up on Joseph’s knees. And Joseph said to his brethren, “I am dying; but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this lan to the land of which he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” Then Joseph took an oath from the children of Israel, saying “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry my bones from here.” So Joseph died, being one hundred and ten years old; and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.”

Let us examine what this passage has to say about the example of a godly man on future generations. First, let us notice that Joseph took a serious interest in his family’s upbringing. He helped raise and teach his grandkids and great-grandkids, taking advantage of his long life to set a godly example to the third and fourth generation. His children, grandchildren, and great-grand children who witnessed how he lived his life could then have an example to follow when it came time for them to live godly lives as adults as well. He performed the duty of a godly parent in setting the right way to live. Certainly he was not perfect, but he was a godly and obedient man, an example all of us should follow ourselves in setting the right example for those who follow us.

Let us also note another way in which Joseph served as a godly model. His very coffin, unburied and in the land of Goshen, where his brethren settled, was itself a sign that the children of Israel would not remain forever in Egypt. His very coffin and embalmed body, and the oath he made his brethren swear to take his bones and bury them in the promised land, which Joshua 24:32 tells us were buried in the city of Shechem, served as a sign to remind Israel that God was not finished working with them. No matter the harsh slavery they suffered in Egypt, God was still working with them because of the faithfulness of their fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who lived hundreds of years before. Let us remember that in our own lives as well, for the same promise exists for us today.

Blessings And Curses

The first of the gifts of God on or around Pentecost was the Ten Commandments of God (along with, probably, the laws and testimonies that follow the Ten Commandments in Exodus 21-23). We should therefore expect, if God is concerned with the families of the faithful, that God will have a comment about blessings and curses to future generations. And that is precisely what we do find. Let us therefore turn to the Second Commandment, which we find in Exodus 20:4-6. Exodus 20:4-6 reads as follows, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep my commandments.”

God is a jealous husband to the Church of God, His future bride, just as He was a jealous husband to the people of Israel, who were betrothed to Him as a covenant people. To worship other Gods is to commit adultery against God, to be disloyal and treacherous, to deserve the death penalty as adulterers and adultereses for playing the whore against God. What is it that God condemned? It is the worship of idols. Now, here in this land, we see many idols—idols of nagas, water demons, or idols of Buddha. The ancient Israelites worshiped astral deities in the stars, or golden calves, or other abominations. Joshua 24:2 tells us that Abraham and his own family were idolaters, with their heathen ancestral idols, which Rachel stole from her father Laban in Genesis 31:34-35. We may not only worship false images, but also place our pleasure, our wealth, and our convenience as more important than the worship of the God who made us in the womb and who created the heavens and the earth, before whom we must all stand accountable in judgment. For he is indeed a very jealous God, the most jealous of husbands.

Let us also reflect on the fact that Exodus 20:5-6 tells us that God both blesses and curses future generations for the actions of their fathers. We might not think this is fair, but the example of sinners tends to be copied by their children who learn such hypocrisy and evil from their parents and pass it down to others. Though some may reject the evil deeds of their wicked fathers, even they must pay a heavy price for the sins of past generations, even if they do not follow those evil ways themselves. However, though God curses the third and fourth generation of those who hate Him, he shows mercy to thousands of generations to those who obey Him. God’s mercy triumphs over His judgment. Though his judgment is harsh, lasting perhaps a hundred or two hundred years, his mercy endures forever. Therefore, seeing as the good far outweighs the bad, let us not feel embittered if we should have to suffer for a little while because of the sins of our own families. After all, the blessings of eternity far outweigh those sorrows of a moment.

To You And to Your Children

Let us now turn to Acts 2, the sermon that the Apostle Peter gave upon God’s giving the second of the Pentecost gifts, that of His Holy Spirit. Acts 2:36-39 gives both the judgment on the wicked along with the offer of reconciliation to God for the repentant sinner. Acts 2:36-39 reads as follows: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the Apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

Let us stop for a moment and examine this message, which along with the visible miracle of God’s Holy spirit being given led three thousand people to repent of their sins and be baptized. First, let us note what is required of anyone who wishes to follow God. First, we must repent of our sins, realizing that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ died because of our sins. Second, we must be baptized, just as Israel was baptized in the Red Sea with Moses and the generation of promise afterwards was baptized in the Jordan River under Joshua before entering the rest of the Promised Land. Third, we must have the laying on of hands, and the giving of the Holy Spirit to those whom God has called. These three steps are necessary for conversion, if God has called us, circumsizing our hearts so that we may be sensitive to the cost of our sins and so that we may be part of the Israel of God.

Let us also point out that this gift of salvation, of God working with us, is not only for us but to our children and to our descendents afar off, to the thousands of generations, to those whom God chooses to work with. The obedience of a godly man or woman provides and opportunity for their descendents to enter into a relationship with God as part of a godly family of faith. The physical family is a type of God’s spiritual family, because as human beings we learn through physical symbols and patterns that reflect deeper spiritual truths. Many of us here, no doubt, are here in large part because of godly ancestors. My father an mother and my mother’s father and mother, were all followers of God’s ways, and so I was taught these ways from my own childhood. And following their example, I hope, in a godly way, I would like to be an example to any children and grandchildren I have if God so chooses to bless me. And the same is true for you all—you all have the chance to learn from godly people who have come before you, and to set a godly example to your own future generations, if you receive and accept the calling of God, which will then be open to your descendents after you, if they choose to accept it as well.

Conclusion

Since God is in the business of creating a family for himself of sons and daughters who are to live for all time, it is little wonder that He is deeply concerned with the passing on of godly examples in our physical families. Just as Joseph served as a physical godly example for his own grandchildren and great-grandchildren, let us too serve as a godly example for those who come after us. Let us remember that while the curses of the disobedient only last to the third and fourth generation that the mercy of God lasts forever, to all of those who follow us, no matter how far off, if they will only turn and repent to their Father in heaven for having been rebellious and disobedient to His ways. We are, after all, the firstfruits of God, and therefore let us set an example for those who come after us. For the promise of salvation is not only to us, but to our children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Biblical History, Christianity, Church of God, History, Sermonettes and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to To You And To Your Children

  1. Pingback: We Are His Offspring | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: Bajo El Ciel Un Angel Triste Es Cerca De Mi | Edge Induced Cohesion

  3. Pingback: Numbers 6:22-27: The Lord Bless You And Keep You | Edge Induced Cohesion

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