Some people have a limited idea of what Christian faithfulness should look like. They see it as a life-long matter. It is more than that. God never intended for his people to see Christian faithfulness as limited to life-long faithfulness. He intended for us to think, not in terms of a lifetime, but in terms of generations of faithfulness to God. The Old Testament speaks of God’s blessing to a thousand generations of those who fear him and keep his commandments.
We all have dreams and desires. We all have the ability to imagine and fantasize, but a vision comes from God. A vision is an imagination super-charged by God. A vision is a dream inspired by God and informed by scriptures. A vision is a God-given picture, driven by faith in God. A vision is fueled by hope, which is a confident expectation of a future good based on the promises of God. A vision must be rooted in Scripture.
Most of us have desires and dreams for our lives and for our families, but something powerful happens when God gives a man a vision for his family. When a mother and a father look beyond their personal desires and imaginations and a conviction of truth begins to form in their souls and a picture of a heritage of godly living begins to form in their heart, things are going to change. They will begin to pray in that direction. That God-given vision will begin to influence their decisions and choices and convictions. Their lives will change, and as a result generations will eat fruit from the trees they planted. Beyond what they can do God will act on their behalf.
The Prayer of George McCluskey
Many, many years ago George McCluskey had a multigenerational vision for his family. He believed that every member of his family for four generations would live for God. He prayed every day during the noon hour for that. God answered his prayer. One of his great grandsons is Dr. James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family. Powerful things happen when we exchange the small dream of a lifetime of faithfulness for God’s great vision of generations of faithfulness.
For years I have searched the Bible for what I call the family promises of the Bible. When you do this you see that the Bible teaches generational faithfulness from cover to cover. We can boldly claim these promises in Jesus’ name because they are revealed as the will of God throughout the Bible. (See the scriptures at the end of the Stonebridge Newsletter).
I notice that when we consider the influence that we have on the generations we are much more careful in this world. We “walk circumspectly” in this world. After all, our goal is not survival but our goal is to influence our world and the generations to follow us for God. Not only will be walk carefully but we will devote ourselves to prayer more and more because there are generations to come who will feel the influence of our lives, but we will never meet them until we get to heaven.
Many, many years ago a farmer from Aberdienshire, Scotland would gather his family at the end of the day and hold hands and pray for his children and grandchildren to the third and forth generation to live for God. His grandson was H. A. Ironside, who became the pastor of the historic and influential Moody Church in Chicago. Pastor Ironside kept a picture of his grandfather on his desk to remind him of the powerful influence of prayer through the generations.
I hope my words here stir something within you that will cause you to begin to live with the generations in mind and devote yourselves to the good things that God has promised to bless. I pray God will give many of you a vision for a legacy of godly generations, a vision for an heirloom-quality faith.
Oak Brook, Illinois
November 28, 2005
The Scriptural Basis for A Multigenerational Vision
Genesis 18:17-19 And the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, 18 since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19 For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”
Deuteronomy 4:9 Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren,
Deuteronomy 6:4-6 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
Deuteronomy 11:19 You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
Joshua 4:6-7, 21-24 that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ?What do these stones mean to you?’ 7 Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.” 21 Then he spoke to the children of Israel, saying: “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ?What are these stones?’ 22 then you shall let your children know, saying, ?Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry land’; 23 for the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed over, 24 that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”
Joshua 24:15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Job 1:5 So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did regularly.
Psalm 71:17-18 O God, You have taught me from my youth; And to this day I declare Your wondrous works. Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come.
Psalm 78:1-7 Give ear, O my people, to my law; Incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us. 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. For He established a testimony in Jacob, And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers, That they should make them known to their children; That the generation to come might know them, The children who would be born, That they may arise and declare them to their children, That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments;
Psalm 112:1-10 Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, Who delights greatly in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; The generation of the upright will be blessed.
Psalm 145:4 One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts.
Isa 44:3-4 For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses.
Isaiah 54:13-17 All your children shall be taught by the Lord, And great shall be the peace of your children. In righteousness you shall be established; You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; And from terror, for it shall not come near you. Indeed they shall surely assemble, but not because of Me. Whoever assembles against you shall fall for your sake. “Behold, I have created the blacksmith Who blows the coals in the fire,Who brings forth an instrument for his work; And I have created the spoiler to destroy. No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the Lord.
Isaiah 58:12 Those from among you Shall build the old waste places;You shall raise up the foundations of many generations; And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.
Joel 1:3 Tell your children about it, Let your children tell their children, And their children another generation.
2 Timothy 1:5 when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.
1 Timothy 3:4-5 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God)
Titus 1:6 if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination.