Friday, May 31, 2019
What will be the legacy of your life? With no intention of sounding morbid, when all your friends and family gather around your casket someday to say goodbye, what will they say to commemorate how you lived? What will the next three to four generations of your family be like because of how you lived your life?
Now wait a minute, preacher – we are not to blame for the personal choices of our children and grandchildren, are we? Maybe we are not to blame, but we certainly are responsible for the influence we have on them.
Deuteronomy 4:36-40 From heaven he made you hear his voice to discipline you. On earth he showed you his great fire, and you heard his words from out of the fire. Because he loved your forefathers and chose their descendants after them, he brought you out of Egypt by his Presence and his great strength, to drive out before you nations greater and stronger than you and to bring you into their land to give it to you for your inheritance, as it is today. Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the LORD your God gives you for all time.
God makes it very clear to the Israelites that the heritage of faith they were to cherish as they entered the Promised Land would be responsible for the long-term fulfillment and faithfulness of the next generations. He also made it clear that the loss of faith and turning to self-sufficiency and self-satisfaction would result in the punishment of the next generations. Look at what God says in Exodus 20:5-6, right in the middle of the giving of the Ten Commandments. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
As a parent, and now a grandparent, I have come to realize my incredible privilege and responsibility to be the originator of a Godly heritage for the coming generations of little Gorks. I am blessed to already be the fourth generation of faithful followers of God in my family, and I am blessed to see that the promise of God is extending beyond me to the future.
Maybe you are the first in your family to break the chains of the bondage to sin and begin a heritage of faith to the future generations. Your life is vitally significant in creating either a Godly or a godless legacy for your descendants.
In today’s Scripture reading Moses says there are several things that will be true of parents and grandparents who are passing on a Godly heritage:
- They allow God’s voice from heaven to discipline them. They are humble and understand that without the teaching and training and testing of God they are destined to live lives of futility and failure according to the standards of a world’s system that is doomed to failure because of sin.
- They have a healthy fear and respect for the holiness and power of God. They have seen His fire of purity and judgment and it is a vital part of every decision they make and action they take.
- They recognize their own weakness and the liberating power of God over sin. They understand that they are incapable of conquering the bondages that result from sinful choices. They have surrendered to the power of God to drive out the enemy and to give them the promised inheritance of peace.
- They acknowledge that the LORD alone is God and have determined to be obedient to all of God’s commands.
Knowing that there would be human failures of disobedience, Moses challenges the people to “take to heart” the acknowledgement of God. The phrase “take to heart” is the Hebrew word for “turn back”, or repentance. A Godly heritage begins with turning away from sin and self and turning towards God. It’s never too late for that turn. Maybe today is the day you will make that turn, and this will be the beginning of your Godly legacy of faith.