For Your Own Well Being and Your Descendants
Deut. 4:39 So acknowledge today and take to heart that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.
Deut. 4:40 Keep his statutes and his commandments, which I am commanding you today for your own well-being and that of your descendants after you, so that you may long remain in the land that the LORD your God is giving you for all time.
The Israelites were being instructed by God and the instruction came with a promise. If they would acknowledge him as God — and God alone, then they would experience his well-being as well as their descendants. But this was the area in which they struggled. They were constantly enticed by the gods of the other nations and would easily turn their backs on the one - true God.
Far too often I don’t think that we realize the consequences of our own actions on the generations who will follow us. We believe that our choices are our choices and we can do whatever we want. However, if, for example, we choose not to serve God, have we also made that choice for subsequent generations? Do we realize our responsibility that reaches out beyond ourselves?
I think back in my mother’s family. There were six children in her family but by the time the family began attending church regularly the two older boys were already married and away from home. The four younger children all gave their lives to the Lord and have been serving him. I know all my cousins from the four younger siblings but I’m not sure that I would know the older cousins if I met them on the street. Their lives went a very different direction, and it was one that did not include serving the Lord or being a part of a church community. And now, my cousins are grandparents and we are looking at four generations who have not been walking with Christ. On the other hand the majority of the cousins whose parents gave their lives to the Lord, along with their children and grandchildren are followers of Christ. The decisions made so long ago have had an impact on generations of people. Simple decisions that we think only have to do with us!
One of the saddest things I see today is the situation of divorce, where one parent is serving the Lord and the other is not. One parent wants to raise the children to know Christ, and the other parent actively works against this — trying to make their children as secular as possible. Do we realize the consequences of this action? Why would anyone want to intentionally lead a child away from the Lord? And yet we do and the long-term effects can be felt for generations.
God’s commandments for his people came out of his genuine love and concern for them and for the future generations. Our relationship to God will effect us, but also our children and our children’s children. Whom will we serve? How will we live our lives?
Lord, please, help me to be faithful in serving you. Amen.