PASTOR T.O. BANSO
“After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the Lord or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel” (Judges 2:10, NLT).
The tragedy of the scripture you have just read is that after Joshua, the servant of God, died at 110 years, the worship of the true God ceased in Israel with the passing away of the generation Joshua served. The generation after that generation “did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel” (Judges 2:10, NKJV). It was either they were not taught or they rejected teaching. Whichever way, it was, and is still a sad commentary.
God is concerned about generations after yours. He is interested in you, your children, your children’s children, etc. A family, a nation, a society should also be concerned about the next generation and generations yet unborn.
That is why God talks severally in the Bible about descendants, seeds, generations, etc. For instance, the covenant God cut with Abraham was not for Abraham alone but also for his descendants (Gen 17:7-9). Verses 14 and 17 of Deut 12 speak of Israelites celebrating Festival of Unleavened Bread from generation to generation. There are several other scriptures that speak of permanent laws that must be observed by Israelites from generation to generation. These include Exo 27:21, Exo 30:21, Lev 3:17, 6:18, 7:36, 10:9, 17:7, 23:14, 21, 31, 41, Deut 7:9.
David, in his songs of praise, in 1Chro 16 also underscores this truth: “Remember his covenant forever – the commitment he made to a thousand generations. This is the covenant he made with Abraham and the oath he swore to Isaac. He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, and to the people of Israel as a never-ending covenant: ‘I will give you the land of Canaan as your special possession’” (1Chro 16:15-18, NLT). The covenant wasn’t for one generation.
Seek your children’s salvation; teach them godly values
That is why God wants us to teach our children using every opportunity we have especially being a godly model for them. Godly values must not end with you; they must be transferred to your children and perpetuated in the lives of your children and generations after theirs. Deut 6:6-9 says, “And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (NLT).
Deut 4:40 states the benefit of parents and children obeying God’s decree and command: “If you obey all the decrees and commands I am giving you today, all will be well with you and your children. I am giving you these instructions so you will enjoy a long life in the land the Lord your God is giving you for all time” (NLT).
Deut 12:25 warns the Israelites and their children against eating the blood, which displeases the Lord, so that all might go well with them. Verse 28 of the same chapter says, “Be careful to obey all my commands, so that all will go well with you and your children after you, because you will be doing what is good and pleasing to the Lord your God” (NLT).
All the scriptures I have referred to were addressed not only to the generation of mature Israelites living at that time but also their children and children yet to be born. God is always interested in both ancestors and descendants. The commandments to Israel were for both the ancestors and their descendants; the blessing was also for both the ancestors and their descendants (Deut 30:2-5).
This is what God told David concerning his house and the throne of Israel: “If your descendants obey the terms of my covenant and the laws that I teach them, then your royal line will continue forever and ever” (Ps 132:12, NLT). Did you see again that God’s plan is not that the blessing upon the father should be terminated upon his demise? “He always stands by his covenant – the commitment he made to a thousand generations” (Ps 105:8, NLT). Psalm 100:5 says, “For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation” (NLT),
God wants the children to carry on the blessing of God upon their parents but they will need to obey the God of their fathers. Jacob talked about the God of his father being with him (Gen31:5, 42). Moses named one of his two sons Eliezer, for he said, “The God of my father was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh” (Ex 18:4, ASV). If you’re born again, your God should become the God of your children and the God of your descendants.
It is godly family values that will direct the paths of the children in the righteous direction that their fathers’ followed. And parents have a great role to play in both the cultivation of godly family values and transmission of same to their children. In Psalm 71:18, the psalmist says, “Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me” (NLT). Share with your childen personal testimonies of God’s faithfulness, mercy, power, etc. Build their trust in the Living God.
It is good that you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and your Saviour (I hope you have), but what are you doing to share your faith with your children and train your children in the way of the Lord? Prov 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, And even when he is old he will not depart from it” (ASV).
Providing your children with the basic things of life isn’t enough
It is not enough that you provide them with the basic things of life, send them to good schools in your country and abroad, and secure top flight jobs for them. You will be denying them the most precious thing a parent can give to his child if you fail to help them have a life-long relationship with Jesus. Like that song writer said, “Life without Jesus is like a doughnut with a hole in the middle of its heart!”
Not only must you introduce your children to Jesus, you must teach them those godly values in the Word of God that you have imbibed so that these will guide their lives. Godly values like what we have in 2 Peter 1:5-9: “So make every effort to apply the benefits of these promises to your life. Then your faith will produce a life of moral excellence. A life of moral excellence leads to knowing God better. Knowing God leads to self-control. Self-control leads to patient endurance, and patient endurance leads to godliness. Godliness leads to love for other Christians, and finally you will grow to have genuine love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more you will become productive and useful in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop these virtues are blind or, at least, very shortsighted. They have already forgotten that God has cleansed them from their old life of sin” (NLT). These godly values can become your family values that every generation after you hold on to dearly.
Don’t mortgage your children’s future
Avoid wrong decisions, acts or activities that can create problem for children or offspring in future. Some parents engage in some ungodly spiritual activities that expose their entire family including those unborn to demonic traffic and operations or entirely sell them to the devil.
Don’t eat a sour grape that will set your children’s teeth on edge (Jer 31:29). Don’t be concerned about your own success or welfare alone and mortgage the future of your children or generations after you. A case in point is the story of Hezekiah written in Gen 39 when out lack of discretion he went on a vanity show and showed the envoys that the king of Babylon sent to convey his best wishes to him and give him gifts after his miraculous recovery from his illness. Instead of using the opportunity to testify to the power of God, he showed the envoys everything in the house of his treasures or including the silver and gold, the spices and precious ointment, and all his armory, all that was in his house or in all his dominion (Isa 39:2). Referring to this incident, 2 Chron 32:31 says God withdrew from Hezekiah, in order to test him so that He might know all that was in his heart. Unfortunately, he failed the test of God.
But what is more relevant to this topic was how Hezekiah reacted to the prophecy on what would happen because of the access he had given to the Babylonian ambassadors to see everything in all his dominion. “Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, ‘Hear the word of the LORD of hosts: ‘Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house, and what your fathers have accumulated until this day, shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left,’ says the LORD. ‘And they shall take away some of your sons who will descend from you, whom you will beget; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon’” (Isa 39:5-7, NKJV). But what was the reaction of Hezekiah? “So Hezekiah said to Isaiah, ‘The word of the LORD which you have spoken is good!’ For he said, ‘At least there will be peace and truth in my days.’” (Verse 8, NKJV). Some may view his response as appreciating that the judgment for his error would not take immediate effect but it seems to me that he was myopic and selfish in his reaction – he was only concerned about peace during his reign, not what would happen to the generations after him.
Unfortunately, exactly what Prophet Isaiah said later came to pass long after Hezekiah’s death. “In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god” (Dan 1:1-2, NKJV). 2 Kings 25, 2 Chron 36:15-21 and Jer 52:4-30 also record this fall and captivity of Judah.
Be careful of what you do today that may impact negatively on the generations after you. Don’t bequeath to them a bad legacy. Jeremiah said, “It was our ancestors who sinned, but they died before the hand of judgment fell. We have suffered the punishment they deserved!” (Lam 5:10, NLT).
Pray for your children
In addition, as a parent, you should not fail to continue to pray for your children – for their establishment in the faith, their spiritual growth and development and fulfillment of the plan and purpose of God for their lives. “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way,” said Samuel to the Israelites (1 Sam 12:23, NKJV). May God find you faithful.
If you’re not born again, you need to make yourself ready for eternity. I urge you to take the following steps:*Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible -teaching, soul-winning church. There you will be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: “0 Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent and confess my sins. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you Jesus for saving me and making me a child of God.”
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing, Bible teaching, soul-winning church in your area where you will be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I’ll be glad to hear from you. May the Lord be with you.
T.O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523