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Honor The Generation Before You

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“How much does what you do today matter years from now?

Who will remember it and what difference will it make?”



Parents have you thought about your legacy lately? In case you haven't, let's start with the basics:

Webster's Dictionary says a legacy is, "Something handed down from one who has gone before." How we live will influence our children and descendents for generations

Let me share a story with you that demonstrate the powerful legacy (both good and bad) that parents create.

Jonathan Edwards was born in 1703 in Connecticut.

He attended Yale University at age 13 and later went on to serve as president of the college of New Jersey (now Princeton). He was also the acknowledged leader of the greatest revivals in history - often called ‘The Great Awakening’.

Numerous books have been written about Edwards' life, his work, and influence on American history and his powerful professional legacy. But the legacy that Edwards would probably be most proud of is his legacy as a father. Edwards and his wife Sarah had eleven children. Despite a rigorous work schedule that included rising as early as 4:30 a.m. to read and write in his library, extensive travels, and endless administrative meetings, he always made time for his children. Indeed, he committed to spending at least one hour a day with them. And if he missed a day because he was traveling, he diligently made up the hour when he returned.

The scholar Benjamin Warfield of Princeton has charted the 1,394 known descendents of Edwards. What he found was an incredible testament to Jonathan Edwards. Of his known descendents there were 13 college presidents, 65 college professors, 30 judges, 100 lawyers, 60 physicians, 75 army and navy officers, 100 pastors, 60 authors of prominence, 3 United States senators, 80 public servants in other capacities including governors and ministers to foreign countries, and one vice-president of the United States.

The story of Jonathan Edwards is an example of what some sociologists call the "five-generation rule." How a parent raises their child - the love they give, the values they teach, the emotional environment they offer, the education they provide - influences not only their child but the four generations to follow. The example of Jonathan Edwards shows just how rich that legacy can be.

But the five-generation rule works both ways. If we fail to work at being good fathers, our neglect can plague generations.

Consider the case of Max Jukes, a contemporary of Edwards.

As an adult, Jukes had a drinking problem that kept him from holding a steady job. It also kept him from showing much concern for his wife and children. He would disappear sometimes for days and return drunk. He made little time for loving and instructing his children.

Benjamin Warfield has also charted Jukes' descendents. Warfield was able to trace 540 of Jukes' ancestors. They offer a stunning contrast to the Edwards' legacy. Of Jukes' known descendents, 310 died as paupers, at least 150 were criminals (including 7 murderers), more than 100 were drunkards and half of his female descendents ended up as prostitutes.

Of course this doesn't mean that people are simply a product of their parenting and that who they are is determined entirely by their ancestry. There have been many who descended from men like Jukes and overcame great obstacles to succeed. Others have come from loving homes like Edwards' only to descend into a troubled adulthood. But these are the exceptions, not the rule.
The stories of Jonathan Edwards and Max Jukes offer powerful lessons about the legacy we will leave as fathers.

Five generations from now, it is likely that our pastoral accomplishments will be forgotten. In fact, our descendents may know little about our lives or us.
The way we parent today will affect not only our children, but also indirectly our grandchildren, our great-grandchildren and even generations that follow.

Parents we will leave a legacy. What will yours be?
(©2001 Family First. All rights reserved.)


This true story underlines for us how powerful Blessing is. The power of blessing can transcend a lifetime – it can span many generations to keep on bringing God’s favor to those who follow. A Family Blessing you begin today may out live you and last for many generations.  As we enter our final week of the 40 Days of Blessing, let’s go back to the Bible to remind ourselves just how powerful it really is…” 





Scripture: Genesis 12:1-3 (NKJV)

1.        Now the Lord had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you. 2. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."


1)    The Power of Blessing is in Covenant Relationship

Your blessing is bigger than you!  You cannot understand the true power of Blessing until you understand that Blessing is a by-product of Covenant

Blessing is mentioned around 60 times in Genesis – more than once per chapter starting with the first chapter . But these words were not just for the benefit of Adam and Eve but also for the generations that would follow them.

After the flood, God picks us His plan to bless with Abraham.

From chapter 12 through 50,  the plan and power of Blessing is unfolded step by step throughout the generations of Abraham’s family.

A covenant is an unbreakable promise. And that’s what God made with Abraham.

We can see that the blessing God gave to Abraham was multi-faceted.

·         First God Blesses Abraham, but the blessing continues to extend itself from Abraham to his immediate family members, on to the extended family,

·         Then it becomes a blessing for his immediate family members, to the nation, and on through the generations to all nations (actual Hbrw word is Family groups) so as we read in the NKJ it reads to “all the families of the earth”

Turn now in your bible to Galations 3:14 and you can see how Paul picks up on this thread of thought as he writes, “that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus…”  Through Christ we share in the blessing of Abraham’ and you can see that when we are grafted in to Christ’s body we also share in the blessing on all families that was promised to Abraham.

When the Israelites would pray they would pray to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  In 1Kings 18:36-37 the scriptures records Elijah’s prayer to God – “36.At the customary time for offering the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet walked up to the altar and prayed, "O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant. Prove that I have done all this at your command. 37. O LORD, answer me! Answer me so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God and that you have brought them back to yourself."

On pg 35 of “The Power of Blessing” we read ‘“How would you address God in a moment like that?

We would likely pray: Oh God, who parted the waters of the red sea for Moses;.. or Oh God, who demolished the walls of Jericho…! We would try to build our faith trhough recalling the mighty works of God.  But Elijah stepped forward and prayed, “O Lord god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob…”

Elijah didn’t rely on precedent. He relied on covenant –The covenant God made with Abraham.  A covenant of Blessing.  God’s promise to bless Abraham and his family, prosper them throughout the generations, and to curse those who curse them, was a stronger faith builder for Eliajah than any single miracle. He knew that the source of his own miracle –working power was derived from the strength of that inter-generational blessing.”’

Covenant is more powerful than precedent when it comes to seeing miracles.

The power of Blessing cannot be understood apart from God’s covenant of love – the power we see in effect is actually the outworking of His covenant to love us throughout all generations – this covenant was a more powerful faith-builder to Elijah and subsequent generations than the fact of previous miracles – I usually say it this way – covenant is more powerful than precedent when it comes to seeing miracles.

When God introduced himself to Moses in Exodus 3:6,15 He calls himself the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – a reminder to Moses that Moses would be able to do anything God called him to do because of the covenant of BLESSING

We see the extension of God’s mercy and covenantal love in these following passages.

·         Exodus 34:7 NLT

I show this unfailing love to many thousands by forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. Even so I do not leave sin unpunished, but I punish the children for the sins of their parents to the third and fourth generations."

·         Deut 7:9.

Understand, therefore, that the LORD your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and constantly loves those who love him and obey his commands.

·         God has spoken His covenant – His unbreakable promise and we have inherited and receive this blessing in Christ.

Have you or your family been affected by a generational curse (the sins of the fathers) then the only real cure for it is to receive the powerful convenant “Blessing of God” in Christ.  Grab hold of this truth, and understand that God is not a man that he should lie.  That in Christ you receive the full blessing of God the heavenly Father.

2)    In Order to Bless Subsequent Generations You Must Bless The Previous Generation

Do you remember what the first commandment that came with a promise is?  Exodus 20:12 - Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the LORD your God will give you.

If you want to pass on a blessing that will last for generations to come the you must begin by blessing / honoring the previous generation.

(Illustration) I want to read a story from pg 131 of “The Power of Blessing” to illustrate this for you.

“The virtuous woman described in Prov. 31 was honored by her children- “They rose up and called her blessed.

The scripture tells us clearly that the initiative for blessing must shift from parents to children. It’s up to the younger generation to initiate the words, deeds and ceremonies that firmly establish honor and communicate worth and value in the lives of aging parents. The results can be wonderful.

One way to take initiative is through the celebration of anniversaries. At the 50th wedding anniversary of Melissa Bones’ parents, family from all over North America were invited. More than 40 came, including almost every member of the original wedding party.  Special touches included skits, pictures and our daughter modeling her grandmother’s wedding dress.

During the renewal of vows ceremony we invited the honored couple to stand at the altar as they might have on their wedding day. This time, however they were surrounded by their six adult children who in turn were encircled by 18 grandchildren.  Terry led the children in a responsive reading that began with the words, “Today we rise up and call you blessed.” The blessing included thanking the couple for choosing a lifestyle of giving first place to their family for half a century.  It ended with the words, “As you are less able to take care of yourselves, we commit ourselves increasingly to look after your needs.”

After we imparted this blessing to them we saw some immediate fruit in the spiritual lives of some extended family members who were restored to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” Terry tells me this person gave their heart to the Lord within 48 hours of this blessing being given.

You can continue to read in The Power of Blessing book other testimonies how God restored relationships when even when it didn’t seem to make sense but children who were now married chose to bless the parents on both sides of their family. How after years of difficult and challenging relationships between parents and their children God began to melt down and destroy the walls of hardness and hurt that had kept them separated from one another.

Would you pass on a blessing to your family that would continue for many generations to pass on the blessing of God,  then I would encourage you by learning to bless/honor your father and your mother.

3)    The Important Role of Grandparents In Blessing

But Pastor, what happens when one of the children chooses to not honor God.  You know (the black sheep syndrome) doesn’t the continuity of blessing stop.

Yes it can stop. God will not force anyone to follow or obey him.  He has given us all “Free will.” We can use it to honor him, or we can use it to rebel.

In Genesis we see that Abraham’s descendants didn’t always act in the ways they should have. We read how Jacob schemes together with his mother and tricks his father into an improper blessing.  He has to flee for his life and goes through a long process that brings him to the place where he has to have a reconciliation with estranged brother before he is ready to pass the blessing along to his sons and grandsons

We see how Joseph’s brothers dishonored their father Jacob by lying and selling their brother into slavery. – the long involved tale of how Joseph rose to power and eventually his brothers bowed before him and brought their father to Egypt is really a story of restitution for their earlier dishonoring behavior. It isn’t until  after that, that the covenantal blessing of Abraham began to pour out upon the family 

In Genesis chpt 48 we read how as Israel (Jacob) comes to the end of His life Joseph brings his two sons Manasseh (his eldest son) and Ephraim (his second born son) to receive the blessing from Jacob. Jacob declares that they will be “His legal Heirs” and those who were born after them shall be legal heirs of Joseph.

As such he prepares to give them a blessing where he will pass on the inherited blessing given Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by God.  As Joseph brings his sons to his father he places Manasseh the eldest on Jacob’s right hand side and Ephraim is placed on the left.

When Jacob goes to pray he crosses his arms placing his right hand on Ephraim and his left on Manasseh. Joseph seeing it tries to lift his father’s hands supposing he has made a mistake.  He is supposed to pass the blessing to the First born.  But Jacob refuses, saying that Manasseh will be great but that his younger brother Ephraim shall be greater and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations. 

From this we learn that sometimes parents don’t always discern or walk in the fullness of God’s plan for their lives or those of their children.  When this happens then it may be necessary for Grandparents to Step in and bring the needed blessing. Great wisdom and spiritual discernment may be needed if important family blessings are to be received.

Think for a moment of a chain.  There is an old saying that says, “A chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link!” And that is true!  However, we had a trick we used to use on the farm that kind of circumvented that law!

If a chain had a damaged link that was cracked or weakened, we would simply double it up with the link in front of it that was not damaged. Thus the weakness of the one link was overcome by the strength of the other link that preceded it.

In a similar way, Grandparents can sometimes overcome a weak link in the chain of blessing.  If a Son or daughter rebels or lives out of the center of God’s will, a godly grandfather or a godly grandmother (being the preceding link) can often be used by God to insure the continuance of his blessing to flow from generation to generation.

Making Applicatons

  1. Do not unwittingly choke off the intended flow of God’s blessing to your family by failing to honor the generations before you in your family (and in your church!  - it applies in a church setting as well – who are the founders or the pioneers who paid the price for getting the church to where it is today? They are to be treated with honor, and publicly honored  

  1. GRANDPARENTS – WE NEED YOU!  We need your accumulated prayers and wisdom to help bless the generation that is now rising up! Don’t take a back seat attitude that says ‘I have done my time, and worked hard, now I can rest while the next generation proves themselves like we did – NO – help them to go farther , to spiritually stand upon your shoulders by blessing them – and help your children’s generation bless the next generation –come alongside to help and bless with you wisdom and judgment  


The Generational Power of Blessing

Series: 40 Days of Blessing

Message # 6

October 19, 2008

“How much does what you do today matter years from now?

Who will remember it and what difference will it make?”


Gen. 12:1-3 (NKJV)

1.    Now the Lord had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you. 2. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

1.  The Power of Blessing is in Covenant Relationship

·         Blessing is a by-product of Covenant

·         A covenant is an Unbreakable Promise

·         The Blessing God gave to Abraham was multifaceted

o   It continued to extend itself from Abraham, to his immediate family, extended family, on to the nation, through the generations to all nations

o   When the Israelites pray they pray to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

·         Elijah when he prayed didn’t rely on precedent he relied on Covenant

2.    In Order to Bless Subsequent Generations You Must Bless the Previous Generation

·         Exodus 20:12 says “Honor your Father and Mother. Then you will live a long full life in the land the Lord your God will give you

·         The virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 was honored by her children. “They rose up and called her blessed”

·         The initiative for blessing must shift from parents to the Children.


3.    The Important Role of Grandparents in Blessing

·         In Genesis we see that Abrahams descendents didn’t always act the way they should have.

o   Jacob schemes with his mother and tricks his father into an improper blessing

o   Joseph’s brothers dishonor their father by lying and selling their brother into slavery

o   Genesis 48 Jacob blesses Manasseh and Ephraim – From this we learn the sometimes parents don’t always discern or walk in the fullness of God’s plan for their lives or those of their children.

§  When this happens it may be necessary for Grandparents to step in and bring the needed blessing


-       Do not unwittingly choke off the intended flow of God’s blessing to your family by failing to honor the generations before you.

-       Grandparents – We Need You!

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