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 had 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.
In the same way, God the Father thinks about generations. Here are seven verses that describe God’s generational thinking:
- Genesis 17.7: And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.
- Exodus 3.15: God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The LORD, the 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 thus I am to be remembered throughout 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.
- Psalm 78.5-6: He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.
- Luke 1.48: [Mary] …for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
- Ephesians 3.20-21: Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.
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 thinks about an enduring work, an enduring effort that is 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 July 20, 2017
Topics: Family Legacy