Friday, May 14, 2010

Those Who've Gone Before Me and Those Who Will Come After...

I love the rich lessons in the Old Testament as we watch the children of Israel make their way to the Promised Land. I love how the lessons are stated and restated chapter after chapter. Obviously, the Lord recognized that there would be ones like me that need repeated reminders. One of the themes that He has been bringing forward for me is that my actions do not just effect myself.

Deuteronomy 30:19 says, "This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you; that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses - now choose life that you and your children may live."

Deuteronomy 4:37 & 40 says, "The LORD loved your ancestors and decided that you would be His people. So the LORD used His great power to bring you out of Egypt... Today I am explaining His laws and teachings. And if you always obey them, you and your descendants will live long and be successful in the land the LORD is giving you." And in Deuteronomy 5:9-10 "... If you reject me and worship idols, I will punish your families for three or four generations. But if you love me and obey my laws, I will be kind to your families for thousands of generations." Now before we get all puffed up and say that's not fair, take note of the fact that though our idolatry can effect 3 or 4 generations, our obedience passes blessings for thousands!

Deuteronomy 5:28 says, "The LORD heard you and said: Moses, I heard what the people said to you, and I approve. I wish they would always worship me with fear and trembling and be this willing to obey me! Then they and their children would always enjoy a successful life."

So, I guess I see 3 main challenges for me. The first question I need to ask is what am I TEACHING my children? Am I teaching them what it means to love the LORD? Am I teaching them how crucial it is that we have no other gods before Him? Am I teaching them what idolatry looks like in our culture and how to spot it in their own lives? Am I teaching them how to truly worship? Am I teaching them Who God is?

Next, what am I MODELING for my children? Do my actions show that I love the LORD will all my heart, soul, mind and strength? (Mark 12:30) Is it obvious to my children? Is my love for Christ so evident that my children know how precious and vital He is to me or is He my "Sunday" friend? Is God's Word so important to me and the way I live my life that it bears memorizing? Is the LORD so much a part of my moment by moment existence that I talk about Him whether I'm at home or walking along the road or going to bed at night, or getting up in the morning? (Deuteronomy 6:5-7)

Then, the question becomes not only what am I teaching my children but what are my life choices CHOOSING for my children? Hebrews 11:8 remembers Abraham this way. "By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going." Deuteronomy 6:10-11 says, "The LORD promised your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that He would give you this land. Now He will take you there and give you large towns, with good buildings that you didn't build, and houses full of good things that you didn't put there. The LORD will give you wells that you didn't have to dig, and vineyards and olive orchards that you didn't have to plant..." Am I living a life of faith that God is going to bless? Abraham dwelt in the land but the LORD set his descendants free from slavery and brought them out of Egypt to inherit buildings that they didn't have to build and orchards that they didn't have to plant! Oh, LORD, I desire inheritances of freedom and blessing for my children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and beyond - and You just invite me to exercise a little faith!

The LORD my God will help me take the land where the enemy of my soul has erected strongholds! Pride, gluttony, insecurity, unbelief... He just asks that I cooperate with Him and don't settle for the heavy yoke of these things to be lifted when He desires for me to be completely free. He doesn't want me to make peace treaties with these enemies and He doesn't want me to stand by idle and allow my children to embrace them! (see Deuteronomy 7:1-3) Does the LORD ask me for perfection? No. Psalm 103:13-14 says, "As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust." The LORD just asks us to trust Him. I am so grateful for those in my family, who have gone before me, that have walked not perfectly but faithfully with the LORD. I am reaping harvests that I didn't plant.

So what about you? What kind of choices lay before you today? Will you endeavor to trust the LORD and exercise a little faith? Will you sow seeds of blessing for a future generation to harvest? With God's wisdom and in His power, you CAN! I leave you to listen to the LORD Himself and allow Him to remind you...

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