The Bible is a book that contains the promises of God which are the foundation and basis of faith. Some people today argue that the principles of the Bible are now outdated and irrelevant to modern life. However, Faith Child believes that the promises of God written thousands of years ago are still applicable to us. With acceptance of these promises by faith, we accept God’s Word has the power to transform our lives as it did with the characters in the Bible.
“Now to Him who is able to do immearsurabley more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20,21
Faith Child, we must learn that whenever the Lord utters His word of promise, it doesn’t mean that blessings will come in a neat handy package now. There are times when the promises we receive from God take a long time to be fulfilled. Just like Abraham, we must respond by faith and live a life of obedience and hope. We must be assured that God has an ultimate plan and purpose, and His promises will be fulfilled. God allows the time lapse between the statement of promise and the fulfilment of blessing to
- elicit very specific response from us – a life of obedience and hope. Abraham left his country, kindred and father’s house, everything that he considered comfortable and familiar, pushing forward and hoping towards the unknown.
- and to achieve the desired effect on us namely – faith which is trust and belief in God in response to His promises
God honoured Abraham’s faith by counting it upon him as righteousness, he was called the friend of God. Although Abraham did not receive the blessings immediately and outright, he obtained the favour of God, a blessing in itself.
This principle is also true in Christian life and ministry. The promises we receive from God may take a long time to be fulfilled. Meantime, we must respond by faith and live a life of obedience and hope. We must be assured that God has an ultimate plan and purpose, and His promises are certain to be fulfilled if His conditions are met. Faith is the only thing that connects promise and blessing, and it is necessary to receive the fulfilment of God’s word upon our lives.
Unbelief can prevent us receiving the blessing. God promised the Jewish nation that they will inherit Canaan, the land flowing with milk and honey. Many of them murmured in doubt of the promises of God and they were not permitted to enter the Promised Land.
The most significant aspect of God’s promise toward Abraham was “…and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:3, KJV)..Herein, the extent of God’s promise surpassed the boundaries of personal blessing and became universal and applicable to the entire human race as it was Messianic referring to the interrelationship between the Abrahamic covenant and the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. This promise was so great and universal that Abraham himself did not live to see all of them fulfilled which took hundreds of years in fulfilment.
Jesus told the Jewish leaders: “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it, and was glad” (John 8:56). The Jewish leaders sneered at Jesus, as it would have been impossible for him to have met Abraham in person. Abraham understood the scope and extent of the promise that God uttered, it was larger than life, and surpassed the confines of his own lifetime. Abraham rejoiced because he knew that he and his seed will play a major role in human history. His faith was counted by God as righteousness. So too by faith shall we be saved if we will believe in God’s only begotten son Jesus, and accept what he did on the cross of Calvary for us. We become sons and daughters of Abraham by adoption and partakers of the blessing of salvation.
In Genesis, each time God decided to bless an individual, family, tribe or an entire nation, He revealed Himself to the recipient of blessing through a word of promise. This was evident for Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. God either appeared to them in a dream, or by His distinct voice. Often, the promise was to be fulfilled in a distant future, but uttered so that the recipient of blessing can enter into the realm of faith leading to obedience.
God’s promise to us is “For this promise (of the Holy Spirit) belongs to you and your children, as well as to all those who are distant, whom the Lord our God may call to himself.” Acts 2:39 It is a promise to parents that the blessings of salvation shall not be confined to themselves, but shall be extended also to their children whom they are encouraged to teach what it is to be children for God.
As he came to the end of his life, Joshua called the leaders of Israel together for one final message. He was only one step from death, and sounded a call to renewal that began with a recital of God’s blessings in the past Then he challenged the people to be faithful to God (24:14-27). In the middle of his message we find those stirring words that have been quoted and memorized for over 3000 years, “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (24:15).
In those words, and in the verses leading up to them, there are five decision choices we must make if we want our families to serve the Lord with us.
Decision # 1: Build a Grace-Based Family.
Has God blessed you? We ought to do with our families what Joshua did with the people of Israel:
a. Review past blessings and make a written record of God’s faithfulness.
b. Write down. Think often . Tell it to your children, your family, your friends. Pass it along so that succeeding generations can tell the story after you are gone to heaven.
c. Practice generous giving. When we give liberally, we teach our children to do the same. They learn that we give because we have received and that God never stops giving to his children.
d. Be quick to forgive and slow to take offense. Love covers a multitude of sins.
Decision # 2: Teach My Family to Worship God.
‘‘Now fear the Lord” Joshua 24.14a Fearing the Lord means having such a deep respect for God that we want to please Him in all we do.
How do parents share this “inner devotion” with our families?
a. truly fear God, their children will learn to fear him too.
b. love the Lord, it will be natural for the children to learn to love him too.
c. sing hymns, their children will learn the words.
d. pray, their children will quietly pray with them.
Decision # 3: Become a Student of Obedience.
“Serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord” Joshua 24:14b. “Serve” is used in various forms six times in two verses. This is obviously the burden on Joshua’s heart. Nothing mattered but this, that the people should willingly choose to serve the Lord “in all faithfulness.”
a. Every area of life must be surrendered to the Lordship of Christ. “All faithfulness” means there can be no “hidden rooms” that we reserve for ourselves.
b. Putting aside the false gods worshipped by the pagans because they have no power to save, only the power to corrupt.
That’s a sign of the genuine work of God’s Spirit in his heart. It’s also a sign that he is becoming a student of obedience.
Decision # 4: Remember My Spiritual Heritage.
“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living” Joshua 24:15a
Joshua appealed to the democratic sense of his hearers. He offers them choices.
a. The true God.
b. The gods beyond the River (meaning the River Euphrates), referring to the gods of Ur of the Chaldees, of Egypt, of the Amorites.
Make your choice, he says. If you don’t want to choose the living and true God, then go back to the false gods you used to worship. We need not try to coerce people into serving the Lord. If they prefer some other way, then so be it. We have nothing to lose and every thing to gain by presenting the options and giving people the right to make up their own minds.
Decision # 5: Choose Daily to Serve the Lord.
“But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord”Joshua 24:15b. This expresses the heart of a great spiritual leader at the end of his life. In these simple words we find the will of God expressly stated. We are to serve the Lord and do everything in our power to see that our family follows our example. You must
- begin each day by choosing to serve the Lord,
- and then you must follow up that decision with a hundred small choices in the right direction. That’s really what serving the Lord means. If it doesn’t involve the nitty-gritty choices you make every day, then you’re still trying to straddle the fence. Do your neighbors know that you are a Christian? Do they know you love the Lord?
If you follow Christ, there will come a time when you must say, “Do what you want, and whatever you do I will still be your friend, but I’m going to serve the Lord”. This is a personal decision. You must choose to serve the Lord. It won’t happen by accident and it can’t be inherited from your parents. They can give you the heritage, but at some point you must make it your own.
“We will serve the Lord” is more than a statement about forsaking other gods . It means that
- Joshua’s family will orient itself around the worship of the God of Israel
- His law will be their law, his commandments will be their delight,
- his worship their highest goal
- and his glory their ultimate aim.
We cannot think that we may live careless lives and at the end of our lives ask God to save our families. To live that way and then to pray desperately at the end is to presume on the grace of God. Can we guarantee that our children will follow in our steps and serve the same Lord we worship? The answer is no because God has given to each of us the ability to make our own choices. We all know of sad cases where godly parents produced offspring who did not serve Christ. What, then, does this text mean? It teaches us that godly parents can tip the scales in the right direction. We cannot guarantee what our children will do but we can provide an atmosphere of “serious godliness” that makes it easier to choose Christ than to choose the way of the world.
There is no room for neutrality. Every person needs a God and every person must serve the God they choose. If you choose not to choose, you’ve already made your choice. You can’t choose the true God by default or by inheritance. It is that serious. Will His blessings be for your children too? Do all you can and leave the rest to God. There are many testimonies of how the Lord reclaimed lost children after parents had gone to be with the Lord, in answer to parents’ intercession during their lifetime for their children’s salvation.
Praise the Lord for His precious promises as they are ever true. Do remind us to stand in the gap for our children.