In our Western world, we tend to think about the here and now—the immediate. It’s so much about job, career, taking the next step.
There was a time, however, when people used to think beyond themselves. They had to think about generations—the people that would come behind them. Farmers would clear a field with the consideration that their children would farm it.
Modern Americans tend to think of our own life and—if marriage and kids are part of the picture—our children and perhaps grandchildren.
But God thinks in terms of generations, a much longer view. Here are 14 verses to encourage us to think about family in terms of generations, generations of influence.
- Genesis 9.12: And God said: “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations.
- Genesis 17.7: And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.
- Genesis 50.23: Joseph saw Ephraim’s children to the third generation. The children of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were also brought up on Joseph’s knees.
- Exodus 3.15: Moreover God said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.’
- Exodus 12.14: This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast.
- Leviticus 23.43: …that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
- Joshua 22.28: Therefore we said that it will be, when they say this to us or to our generations in time to come, that we may say, ‘Here is the replica of the altar of the Lord which our fathers made, though not for burnt offerings nor for sacrifices; but it is a witness between you and us.’
- 2 Kings 10.30: And the Lord said to Jehu, “Because you have done well in doing what is right in My sight, and have done to the house of Ahab all that was in My heart, your sons shall sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.”
- Esther 9.28: …that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city, that these days of Purim should not fail to be observed among the Jews, and that the memory of them should not perish among their descendants.
- Psalm 22.30: A posterity shall serve Him. It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation…
- Psalm 49.11: Their inner thought is that their houses will last forever, Their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names.
- Psalm 78.4: We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.
- Joel 1.3: Tell your children about it, and let your children tell their children, and their children the next generation.
- Ephesians 3.21: …to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Generations and God’s Perspective
These verses demonstrate an important aspect of God’s character. He is the Lord of history, the Ancient of Days who is weaving together the stories of individuals, generations and nations into His eternal purpose.
He sees our lives in the context of the big picture. His purpose and plan are greater than any individual and continues from generation to generation. That perspective might be hard for us in our individualistic Western culture to swallow! But it may provide a necessary corrective to our natural way of viewing ourselves and our world.
In Psalm 90, a prayer attributed to Moses, the psalmist meditates on the fragility of human life before the everlasting God. But he concludes with humble hope, asking that God will establish his people’s work to endure: May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.
May we also seek to live and work in ways that will outlive us, building a legacy of good for those who come behind.
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Published February 5, 2020
Topics: Family Legacy