For this week’s post, I really wanted to dive into one of my favorite subjects , regarding God, Christianity and the Bible……one word….descendants. One word, indeed, but a very deep subject that spans the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation (maybe even from before the earth was formed and after our time here is done, as well). Yes…I feel totally confident in saying, “The Lord God Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth….is all about descendants.”
First, let me lay a little ground work. The Apostle John wrote, in 1 John Chapter 4:8, three words that have become very well-known and often-quoted. “GOD IS LOVE”…not has love, shows love or exemplifies love in a way humans are incapable of. All of those may be true, as well. But, beyond that, He is love. It is who He is. It is what He is made of. As you and I are but flesh and bone, He is but love…..nothing more and nothing less.
And because He is love, He desires to be in relationship with others because, as Reba McEntire once sang, “Love isn’t love until you give it away.” How about you? Are you married or in a special relationship with someone? When you came to the realization that it might be special, maybe even…ummm…..l-l-l-l-love, did it make you feel different inside, maybe even a little more alive? I’m guessing, “Yes.” Not surprising to me, God made us that we. We are made in His image. He craves being in loving relationships. So, naturally, so do we.
How about those of you who are parents? When you held your first child in you arms, did something kick in, emotionally? Something hard to explain and something that you felt before, sort of, but not to that level. A parent’s love is very different, right? I believe that God intentionally made the love we feel for our children, our descendants, very, very special because that is how He loves us, His descendants.
Ok, so this post is going to be a little different than my other ones. I am using a ton of Bible verses, this time, because I think they tell the story of God’s love of descendants far better than I can. And I am going to start with one of my favorite verses in the whole Bible. Those of you who know me have heard me quote this one many times. It’s a big one for me:
And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” [Acts 16:31]
This whole chapter is incredible. In the town of Phillipi, Paul and Silas encountered a woman named Lydia. In my Bible, the heading refers to her as “the first convert in Europe.” She responds to Paul’s message and her and “her household” were all baptized. Then, Paul and Silas are jailed and an earthquake hits, which causes the cell door to open. Coincidence? I think not. The jailor wakes up and thinks they have escaped, but is thankful to learn they did not. He asks them, “What must I do to be saved?” They respond as we read in the verse above. One might ask, “I understand the jailor being saved, he responded in faith, but why would his family be saved? They were not there. What did they do to be included by Paul and Silas? As far as I can see, not much. Same with Lydia, she showed faith, but then her family is saved and baptized, as well. What is going on here? These people were family members, loved ones….descendants. Was Paul and Silas teaching some new twist here? Not really. The idea of loved ones being spared because of the faith of a family member was not new at all. Let’s take a look at Noah:
Noah did according to all that the Lord had commanded him. Now Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of water came upon the earth. Then Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him entered the ark because of the water of the flood. [Genesis 7:5-7]
Noah obeyed God, acted in faith, and because he did…his wife, three sons and their wives (eight people in all) survived the flood. Did they, as individuals, act in faith and obedience towards God, as Noah did? Not that we know of, but they were spared because they were his family. Are we starting to see a pattern, here?
“….for all the land which you see (God speaking to Abraham),I will give it to you and to your descendants forever. [Genesis 13:15]
Abraham believed, he displayed faith, and it was accredited to him as righteousness. But, his descendants also received the promised. How so? Were they faithful to God? Well, if you know anything about Israel, back in those days, you would like say, “Not hardly.” So what gives, here?
“May He also give you (Jacob) the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your descendants with you, that you may possess the land of your sojournings, which God gave to Abraham.” [Genesis 28:4]
Then, the blessing gets passed on to Jacob and his descendants, again not that they deserved it. Some might say that Jacob didn’t even deserve God’s favor, let alone his descendants. He was a bit of a coniver. But hey, Jacob was Abraham’s grandson. He inherited the promise.
“When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.”’” [2 Samuel 7:12, 16]
King David was a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob…and chosen of God to be King of Israel. He was said to be “a man after God’s own heart.” You got it. His son, Solomon, got to be the one to build the Temple that David so wanted to build for God and the promise was extended to their descendants, as well. And one of David’s descendants was pretty important in the big picture of all of this stuff. You probably know Him as Jesus Christ. BTW, did you know that both Mary and Joseph were direct descendants of David. It’s true and hugely important, since Joseph was not the actual father of Jesus, God was. So, the Lord covered both bases, there, for those who get all caught up in the bloodlines and genetics of it all. God’s ways are indeed higher than ours, and a couple thousand steps ahead. No doubt.
I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants… [Deuteronomy 30:19]
So historically, I think we have laid a pretty solid foundation for saying that because of the faith of a father, who served, obeyed and trusted in God (and not their own works) to save them, they were “choosing life” (as it says above), not just for themselves but for their descendants, as well. Are you with me so far? Hope so….hang in there …it gets better!!
“…I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” [Exodus 20:5-6]
This passage has caused plenty of consternation for readers of the Bible, over the years, I’m sure. It just doesn’t seem fair, does it? Just because a father sins, should the children for the next three or four generations bear the burden of judgement? It’s just like the concept of “original sin.” Adam and Eve sin, and all of us who came after are deemed to be sinners in the eyes of God? Seems a little harsh, no? But, that is what the Bible teaches…and thanks be to Christ for negating that problem for those who believe.
So, let me ask a question, if I may. If God saw fit to punish the descendants of fathers who did evil in His sight, would it not make sense that this same God, one who the Bible says “IS LOVE,” would be willing to extend His promises and blessings to the descendants of those who love, honor and obey Him…and walk by faith and not by sight? Just because they are descendants? I would say, “Yes, absolutely, sounds like God to me.”
And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to the promise. [Galatians 3:29]
So, what about you and me? Is that deal still on the table for us and, more importantly, our descendants? I would say, again, “Why not?” Would there be any greater reason or motivator to spur us on to live godly lives and love others as Christ loves us, then to see our prayers answered that our children and grandchildren would get to spend eternity in Heaven, with us and, more importantly, with the Lord? I honestly cannot think of one.
Let me just say, before I go any further, that I am not trying to start some new doctrine or stir up controversy. Woe to me, or anyone, who tries to twist God’s Word to make it say something that it is not saying. That is why I used a lot of Scripture in this post. Let God’s Word be true (not Bob’s opinions…Ok?). I am not saying as with a blanket statement, that if I am saved, then all my children and grandchildren are automatically saved. Not even close.
What I am saying is this, that God loves descendants far more than any of us could ever love our own (and I love mine A LOT). He loves them so much that He sent His own Son, Jesus, to become the ransom payment for every one of us (it says so in John 3:16). He left no one out. The same forgiveness is available for the good, the bad and the ugly (that was a great movie, was it not?)
The Bible teaches us to walk by faith, to trust in Him and lean on His word. And I believe, if we do that, we can’t go wrong. So, for years, I have been standing on the Word and praying in accordance with Acts 16:31. I believe that if I have faith in Christ and trust in Him and not myself, then I will be saved and so will my household, my descendants. And I believe God will answer those prayers.
God’s Word says it….I believe it….and I have no intentions of wavering. We are taught that “We have not, because we ask not….or we ask with wrong motives.” Well, I am asking and I believe I am asking in accordance with God’s Holy Word.
God does not want any of His children to perish…..and neither do I. We are in full agreement on that. May His will be done.
This should be our takeaway today, I hope (especially for those of us who are parents or grandparents). God wants to spend eternity with all of his children, just like we do , and He has promised all through human history to include our descendants in the promises He makes to us, the ones who believe, who trust Him and call on His Holy Name.
So, we should make it a priority to pray diligently, frequently and believingly (is that a word?) for the salvation of our children and our grandchildren. God tells us to ask…to believe and receive, by faith, the things He has promised in His Word. That’s good enough for me.
Lastly, I will leave you with the words of one of the guys whose descendants did find favor with God….King David:
Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. [Psalm 37:4-5]
Sounds like a plan…..thank you, Lord!!!