March 8, 2014
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“I give You all the credit, God – You got me out of that mess, You didn’t let my foes gloat. God, my God, I yelled for help and You put me together…The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter.”
The Message Bible
“If at anytime this life of ours grows feeble, or low, or lonely, I know no other remedy than to return to its Eternal Source, to God Himself; and through Him all the means of grace become again living and true; and through Him all His creatures become again near and dear and accessible.”
Elizabeth Rundle Charles
Today’s Study Text:
“That the Lord may continue His word which He spake concerning me, saying, ‘If they children take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said He) a man on the throne of Israel.’”
1 Kings 2:4
“Words of Blessing – ”A Generational Blessing”
Definition of Generation: A group of individuals considered as sharing common cultural or social attributes. Offspring sharing a common parent or parents and forming a single stage of descent.
“A family is a place where principles are hammered and honed on the anvil of everyday living.”
Charles R. Swindall
How would I assess the generational qualities which have been passed down in my family?
If I had been David, would I have been pleased by some of the behavior my children and grandchildren would have witnessed in my own life?
“A home is not a building; it is a relational structure.”
“Each of us will have our own different ways of expressing love and care for the family. But unless that is a high priority, we may find that we may gain the whole world and lose our own children.”
As David shared with Solomon the blessings promised for obedience, listening to and following God’s way, we find that He reiterated the fact that is was very crucial for Solomon, as well as his children and further down through the generations, to “heed God’s way and to “walk” in God’s path. I find this interesting for while David’s message appears to be addressed specifically to Solomon, God’s message to David didn’t apply to just one of his offspring. This was a generational message which contained a generational blessing. This is why I titled the devotional the way I did.
In the case of David, as we have studied over the past many months, his was a flawed existence. David was by no means a perfect example of how you should live your life. As a parent, he failed many times. All we have to do is think back on David’s handling of his daughter Tamar and her lust-filled brother Amnon’s situation to find a father so weakened by his own less than stellar behavior, that in the eyes of his children, he had no moral high ground on which to stand. If ever you happen to feel that the mistakes you have made in your own family disqualify you from heaven’s blessings, please let me remind you that David’s immediate life and the lives of the relatives closest to him included infidelity, polygamy, suicide, murder, rape and incest. And David was not only called, a man after God’s own heart, he was given a promise from God that if his son Solomon and Solomon’s offspring heeded God’s voice and walked in His way, there would be one of their family members continuously on the throne of Israel. What a grace-filled and forgiving God we serve.
However, make no mistake, God made it plain to David that the essential elements for the blessings of heaven to fall upon his family were that they heed God’s Word, walk in His way, keep His commands and obey His Word. God was and is not a God who gives license to the “I’ll do my own thing” theory of living. There were consequences to David’s evil actions – huge consequences. Having multiple wives resulted in tragic in-fighting among David’s children which led to the wholesale slaughter of many of David’s sons. Add to this David’s affair with Bathsheba and the subsequent murder of Uriah and we find that this willful disobedience was key in fermenting the rebellion of Absalom, David’s son, as well as a subsequent uprising in the kingdom of Israel and the resulting suicide of Bathsheba’s grandfather, Ahithophel. If you want to be a spectator at the unraveling of a family, David’s life provides us with front row seats.
Yet, it was God, Himself, who with gracious kindness, forgave David, elevated his son Solomon to the throne of Israel, and then said, “If you will heed My voice and walk in My way, I will make a covenant with your family that will never end and your offspring will be on the throne.”
I want to remind you that God was true to this promise for when Jesus Christ came to earth, our eternal King came through the lineage of David, as imperfect as it was.
Why do I share this blemished view of David’s history with you? It is simply because you and I are imperfect, too! As individual humans and as parents or grandparents or family members who are trying desperately to not only live above our own mistakes, we also long to make certain that the mistakes and folly in our own lives do not have a negative impact on the lives of our children – from generation-to- generation.
While God told Moses in Exodus 34 that iniquity can be visited upon the “children’s children, to the third and to the fourth generation,” how thankful I am to read that while the consequences of evil can be passed on, our Father also promises, “My righteousness shall be for ever, and My salvation from generation to generation” (Isaiah 51:8, K.J.V.). This means that no matter what your family heritage, God’s salvation can remove the stain of past faults and His redeeming love can give every generation a clean slate if they will “heed,” “walk,” “keep,” and “obey” the commands of God.
What a beautiful picture David portrayed to Solomon of a gracious God who had forgiven the worst times in David’s life and had washed him until he was clean.
Not long ago I read a wonderful old story extracted from A Virtuous Woman by Oscar Lowry. This particular article was entitled, “I Carried A Picture With Me.” I want to share this story for I pray that this is the picture that you and I share from generation-to-generation as we heed God’s call and walk in His way, especially within our family-life.
“Several years ago, five young men left their homes in Western Pennsylvania and went out into the great Northwest. They found things quite different from what they were in the old home town, and the temptations were many. Some time later they all had returned to their former homes. Four of the five showed that they were much the worse because of their experiences. But the other young man came back seemingly all the stronger and better because of the experiences through which he had passed.
When asked why he, too, had not gone the way of the other four, he calmly replied, “Because I carried with me a picture.” “Oh, yes, the picture of some young maiden back home, I presume?” remarked a friend. “Oh, no! Not that kind of a picture,” said the young man. “It was a picture of quite a different kind. It was my last morning at home. We all sat down to breakfast as usual; Father at one end of the table and my precious mother at the other. Realizing that there was to be a breaking of home ties in a few hours, conversation was not very brisk that morning. After breakfast, as was my father’s custom, he took down the old Bible and started to read the morning lesson. But he didn’t get very far. A lump kept coming up in his throat and he was so blinded by tears that he could not read, and handed the Book over to my mother, motioning to her to finish the reading.
“After she had finished the chapter ‘we all knelt to pray. Father started his prayer as was his custom, but he didn’t get far until that same lump came up in his throat and choked back further expression. Then Mother reached over and put her hand on my shoulder and began to pray, saying, ‘O God, we thank Thee for our son. We thank Thee for our son. We thank Thee that Thou hast kept him true and faithful…may his feet never stray from the paths of virtue, purity and the truth in which we have tried to bring him up. Bring him back to us as he is going out from us.’
It was the vision of my last morning in the atmosphere of a Godly home and the remembrance of my precious mother’s prayer. I could not bear the thought of breaking the heart of my father and mother and dishonoring my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ whom they taught me to love.”
“Visit we beseech Thee most gracious Father, (our) family and household with Thy protection. Let Thy blessing descend and rest on all who belong to it. Guide us here, and hereafter bring us to Thy glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
John Charles Lyle
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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