Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your offspring.” So he built an altar there to the LORD who had appeared to him. Genesis 12:7 (HCSB)
For some reason while I was spending time in the Bible the other day, this passage struck me.
Of course we all know about the faith of Abraham from Genesis and particularly from Hebrews 11. And of course I remember that the promise that God gave Abram involved his children and clearly we remember that God withheld children from Abram and Sarai until they were very old. We know all this, but consider what kind of a man and dad Abram was – he followed Yahweh knowing full well that he would enjoy none of the earthly benefits. Perhaps he was motivated by an inner sense that serving Yahweh is the right thing to do, or perhaps by the promise of eternity, but I wonder to what degree he was actually motivated by his future children.
Now certainly offspring in the ancient world held a different kind of significance than today. (Just consider the social elite of the Middle Ages who couldn’t marry outside their class; we can hardly relate.) For Abram offspring were a continuation of himself and the promise that a nation would rise from his family was (and is) an amazing promise.
But Abram didn’t see it. He was literally living for the future of his children and their children and their children. Who does that? I should, but honestly I don’t. I occasionally think about how fun it will be to become a grandparent, but I don’t know if I have ever thought about my great-grandchildren. I actually don’t think I have ever considered how my living today will impact those future, future generations.
But this is the point of living a renewed life and passing those principles on to my children. In faith I live my life in obedience to God. I pursue the Lord by applying the Renewal Practices in my life, teaching and modelling them to my children. If they are going to increasingly embrace Jesus for themselves they will need to see that life with Christ works. So then renewal in my life, as a man, is wonderful and it enriches my walk with Jesus. Ah, but there’s so much more to it! God in our life has the potential to impact generations after us.
Do I have that level of faith, which leads to obedience as it did for Abram?
Ask the Lord to give you a heart for your future descendants. Ask Him to place an urgency in your heart to live a renewed life now, which will reach into the future!