Parents play a key role in the lives of their children. The impact is generational and profound. What will you leave your child/children? Although my parents were fairly committed to church-going it was my SS teachers that impacted me the most. You may be the same. I was also in Pioneer Girls who challenged me to learn verses. I don’t remember where or when I memorized Psalm 119:105 but it was the first verse I memorized and has held true all of my life even as I am now in my “senior” years. You too may have learned a verse that has held true all your life as I did. Psalm 78 reminds us that we are to pass on to the next generation God’s Word and the principles of godly living.
2Chron 17-19 “A Historical Record.” Asa may have not been the perfect king but it seems he did one thing right; he raised a godly son who took his place. While each of us is responsible for our own spiritual path and our choice to follow God or not but our parents have much to do with our path. Jehoshaphat seems to have chosen this path directly or indirectly because his father at some point lived a righteous life, for the most part. The scriptures don’t tell us about Jehoshaphat’s heart so we have to look at his fruit. “a tree is known by its fruit.”[Matt 12]
Jehoshaphat was known for: fortifying his kingdom, cleansing the land of idolatry, and sending out priests and Levites to teach the people throughout his kingdom. Because of this the land was free of war and was blessed by God.
We are again reminded of these verses: “Train a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”[Prov 22:6] and “We will tell the next generation about the Lord’s praiseworthy acts, about his strength and the amazing things he has done… so that the next generation, children yet to be born, might know about them.” [Ps 78]
Jacob has not always been faithful to God throughout his life. He has schemed and lived a life that was less than honorable but in the end, he realizes this truth: even “If we are unfaithful, he (God) remains faithful, since he cannot deny himself.” And so Jacob rehearses before Joseph, and perhaps his other sons, the faithfulness of God. In essence, he has taken the time to reveal his life to them and show them how the hand of God has been upon him. He now wants to share that with those he leaves behind. Jacob is a man who wants to finish well and that should be our goal as well.
What do you do when you realize you are about to die? You get right with God, you spend time with loved ones and you share your faith with others. The parable of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16 reveals this in spades. Lazarus apparently lived a righteous life and dying he was found to be in paradise with Abraham. In contrast, the rich man did not and found himself in torments. He called to Abraham to send him help and barring that to send someone back to tell his brothers what he wished he had told them when he was alive. May we learn from him to not waste the moments we have today.
Keith Krell notes “Begin to pass on your faith to those you love most.”
This past Sunday, being Father’s Day, there were scores of FB posts with pictures of many who have “gone on before us.” It was notable that few if any noted the words we hear in Hebrews 11 “his faith he still speaks, though he is dead.” Many remarked how sweet the father had been, how he spent time with them etc. But, where was the affirmation of their faith? Note that Abel had no descendants and no one to recall his works and deeds but it was his faith alone that spoke for him and speaks for him now because vs 6 ‘God rewards those who seek him.” This was Abel’s legacy as he sought the favor and blessing from God recognizing that he was a sinner in need of cleansing.
Moving on we read that Enoch pleased God; Abraham was obedient and submitted to God. Even in her barrenness Sarah is commended for her trust in God. The Hebrews author did not mention her use of Hagar but only her trust in God. This one trait of trusting God alone is echoed in the life of Moses’ parents. Again it is Rahab’s faith in a God whom she had not seen but yet believed as Peter said centuries later.
Stop and ponder what people will say about you after you are gone and your image has faded from their memories. Will it be your works or your faith?