Once again the ‘Courageous’ calendar pricks the old heart strings with the July 24th entry:
“The influence of a godly father or grandfather continues for generations.”
Of course that could just as easily say, “The influence of a father of grandfather continues for generations.” Because let’s face it, that paternal influence can either be of the godly variety or of the iniquity variety … it is definitely a two-edged sword.
For I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:5-6 (ESV)
But children are not put to death because of the sins of their father … each one … father and child … is judged by their own sins. But the iniquity of a father can be a terrible influence upon his children oftentimes bringing them to their own judgment …
“Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. Each one shall be put to death for his own sin. Deuteronomy 24:16 (ESV)
God gave Moses some very specific instruction on how fathers can be a godly influence upon his children … both as a model and as a teacher …
“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth. Deuteronomy 11:18-21 (ESV)
And through Paul, God gave even more instruction to children and fathers …
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:1-4 (ESV)
And the greatest hope of all parents if they believe they have trained up their children in the way God would have them go when they were young … is that even when the testimony of their tween, teen and young adult lives seems to suggest otherwise … when they are old they will return to and not depart from the way they should go … as disciples of Christ Jesus.
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 (ESV)
And if you really want a sense of how important the relationships between fathers and children are to God consider the consequences in the following verse … BTW … the final verse of the Old Testament …
And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.“ Malachi 4:6 (ESV)
Peaking ahead to the July 28 entry on ‘Courageous’ calendar …
‘One of the greatest blessings God can give us is a father whose faith passes on the heritage of the past, provides blessings in the present, and guides us with wisdom for the future.’
Father, let me be that blessing from You to both my children and grandchildren in the remainder of my earthly life!