Proverbs 14:11 ESV
The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish.
The idea of family heritage often gets sidelined in American culture. We pride ourselves on being individualistic; we pride ourselves on being self-made, not reliant on others for our achievements. The Bible, though, doesn’t take that approach. Yes, men are to be judged primarily and morally by their own deeds. Yes, a man’s relationship with God is of more importance than his family ever could be. The family is still important though, still an ever-present category of Biblical thought, particularly evident in the Old Testament.
The most basic statements of the family come, of course, in the Bible’s commands regarding marriage (in Genesis, Deuteronomy, and 1 Corinthians alike) and children (particularly Exodus 20:12). Bother relationships are granted immense importance by God. The sanctity of marriage was to be enforced by the death penalty in ancient Israel. The reciprocal duties of the parents to raise their children and of children to obey their parents (Eph. 6:1-4), meanwhile, is posited as the means by which future generations may be blessed (Ex. 20:6), the means by which God will be glorified.
Indeed, the duty of the father to teach the son (of the parent to teach the child)- and what results from a failure therein- is a constant refrain in the Bible, one Proverbs is very much the outworking of (Prov. 1:8,10,15, 2:1, etc.). Ephesians 6:1-4 commands, as the reciprocal to what the apostle terms the ‘first commandment with a promise’, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
The duty is accompanied by a promise. Proverbs 20:7 states, “The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him!” God preserves the children of His people in the faith. This preservation is not a perfect surety; it is not an automatic salvation. It is, however, a promise of blessing, that the children of the one who loves God will be, by circumstance and providence, given greater gifts to bring them towards Him (greater gifts which are a curse to them that reject Him).
The legacy of a faithful family is great. For this truth we can see no greater examples than the families of Abraham and of David.
To Abraham and to David both God gave a promise, promises unique to them but which we, as children of Abraham through Christ, the son of David yet David’s Lord, inherit the fulfillment and glory of. To Abraham, God promised that his descendants should bless the whole earth (Gen. 18:18); as Isaiah 54:3 promises to the desolate remnant of Abraham, “Your offspring shall possess the nations and shall people the desolate cities.” To David, Abraham’s descendant by Judah and Boaz, God promised, “Your throne shall be established forever” (2 Sam. 7:16).
Both of these promises were fulfilled in Christ. In Christ, all the nations of the earth were blessed, that they might be given sight of His glory, His good news by which they might be saved, by which the elect of their number are saved. In Christ, the throne of David was established in justice and righteousness, by the “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). God fulfilled these familial promises and fulfilled them mightily, but the lesson of these does not end here.
The most basic moral of the story, apart from the effects of the fulfillment of the promises, is that God uses families; God uses families to pass His blessings down through time and to spread through the world. Faithful fathers, faithful mothers, pass down blessings to their children, the fulfillment of God’s faithfulness which extends even to a thousand generations of those that love Him and keep His commandments (Ex. 20:6), to whom He gives not only children but “a name better than sons and daughters” (Is. 56:5).
For the believer, though, the promise to Abraham in particular has a promise in it. We are children of Abraham, offspring of the promise (Rom. 9:8). By us, therefore, God has purposed to bless the world. Our blessing, we must remember is, but a shadow and a derivative of His blessing upon us, but the blessing is real all the same. Furthermore, it is a blessing which every faithful father and mother may give to his or her child, that they might in turn pass it down.
The blessing we give to our children, great as it is, is a shadow only of the greater fatherly blessing. At their core, our blessings are reflections of His blessing upon His children. For we, children of dust and sons of serpents, give as we can to our children, by the grace of God, but He, omnipotent Father of His people, whom Christ, the Son of God, redeemed by His own blood, He gives us heavenly gifts beyond our means or comprehension or desire, the gift of eternal life before His glory.
Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.