"I will make you into a great nation”
"Look up at the heavens and count the stars--if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be."
“You . . .will greatly increase your numbers."
“You will be the father of many nations.”
“I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.”
These words that God spoke to Abraham are quite astounding! He was revealing to Abraham the impact of his fatherhood, its sway over generations yet unborn, his lasting influence that would be passed down from one generation to the next. And the Bible says this, “Abraham believed God. . .”
God wants all of us to see past our own moment in time and to see the legacy that we leave in our children for generations to come. Abraham caught that glimpse, saw himself as a father, received his responsibilities, and walked them out.
Seeing long-range is vital to being a parent.
When a father loses the long-range vision, he begins to live selfishly, worshipping his own leisure or maybe losing himself in his work. When a mother loses the long-range vision, she begins to want time for herself, and becomes resentful at the demands placed upon her by the children. She begins to live for the moments she can “get away.” Jesus suffered for the joy set before Him. We all are called to live for the moments yet to come.
Our greatest effect on the future will be through our children!
Abraham took this grand vision that Father God showed him and walked it out specifically. Listen to this next verse by reading it out loud to yourself:
Gen. 18:19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him."
The grand vision that God had promised to Abraham about his descendants being as the stars of heaven, becoming a great nation, and holding to an everlasting covenant depended on Abraham doing his part. And this is true for us.
1) We must direct our children. Engaged, involved parents direct their children. They are in charge for a larger purpose. Only the parents can see it. The children cannot catch the vision until much later.
2) The focus of our direction is the way of the Lord. Children learn faith and they will practice that faith as they see their parents intentionally walk out their own discipleship to Jesus. The “way of the Lord” concerns the heart of God more than the rules of God. As parents, we ask God to give us his heart toward our children, knowing this: God’s kind of love fulfills the law.
3) We teach right and wrong by our example and we enforce it justly. Parents and children are to live by God’s ways, not just the kids. We are all accountable. The children are accountable to us, but we are accountable to God. Doing what is right and just becomes our family practice.
Faithfulness in these simple things will open the door for God to bring about what He has promised.
Father, grant us the vision to see the generations yet to come.
Cause us to be faithful in our generation
so that we may pass on to our children
your eternal covenant.