Thursday, August 25, 2011
Today’s Topic: Heritage
Today’s Text: Isaiah 51:1 “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn;
Several weeks ago the local newspaper in Eau Claire did a feature story about four generations of pastors, three of whom happen to be at the same church right now. That story was about my grandfather – Dr. J.A. van Gorkom, my father – Rev. P.H. van Gorkom, me – Rev. John D. van Gorkom, and my son, Pastor Joshua J. van Gorkom.
The only reason I mention this is because it makes me appreciate my heritage – a heritage of faith in Jesus Christ passed on from generation to generation. I am so blessed to be able to look back over every year of my life that I can remember and know that every aspect of our family’s life was centered on Christ.
Some people don’t have those memories. Some are the first generation of believers in their family, but their desire is to be the start of a spiritual heritage that will be passed on to their children and their children’s children.
Whether or not you have a spiritual lineage in your family, there is a spiritual heritage that is yours. God reminded the nation of Israel of their heritage when He told those who were seeking Him to look back at the rock from which they were cut. God was referring to Abraham and Sarah, and He was asking them to reflect on all the ways He had fulfilled His covenant promises to them and their descendants. Based on that heritage, God renews His commitment to them to fulfill every word He ever spoke.
You and I are a part of that same spiritual heritage. We have been cut from the Rock, Jesus Christ. Whether you are a first generation believer or have a multi-generational heritage, we can look back to the same place of origin – the cross of Calvary where Jesus died to redeem us. We have the privilege of looking back at all the heroes of the faith that prepared the way for Jesus and then proclaimed the truth of His grace and power since He rose from the dead.
When God tells Israel to look back, He is reminding us to do the same. Look back at the spiritual heroes of the Bible. Look back at the spiritual heroes of your family. Look back at the life of Jesus, the greatest Hero of all. If you need help doing that, read the eleventh chapter of Hebrews. Then, digest the wonderful truths and challenge of what comes next from the heart of God –
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)
There’s the rock from which we were cut, and the quarry from which we were hewn. There’s the pursuit of righteousness and the seeking of the Lord. Our spiritual heritage motivates us. It moves us to action.
So look back and see the rock. Then look up and see the Rock. Then look ahead and see the rock you are becoming as you prepare for the return of the Rock. You are a part of the heritage.