A Father’s Legacy
Lesson text: In Genesis 12:10-20, Genesis 26:7-11
Legacy is a gift of personal property by will, bequest.
Most fathers want to leave a legacy to their children. Some want to leave an inheritance, or to pass on the family business.
We have a saying – “Like father, like son.” We say, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” We kind of pay lip service to these sayings, as a coincidence that happens now and then.
In some significant way, your children will probably turn out just like you.
Let’s look at some fathers in the bible and the legacy they left for their children
1. My first example of a son turning out like his father is in chapters three and four of Genesis. Yes, I’m talking about our universal ancestor, Adam, the very first father. There’s no denying that he left a legacy to every person descended from him, and that includes us. That’s the legacy of sin. He made the choice to disobey God, and we’ve all been disobeying God ever since. Adam also left a specific legacy to his firstborn son, Cain; Legacy of disbelief. Genesis 2:16-17
2. Then, we have Abraham. – the father of our faith, because “he believed God, and it was accounted to him as righteousness.” But what kind of father was he? What great gift did he pass on to his son Isaac? Certainly, he handed on to his son his faith in God. But if you look at the life of Isaac, you see what Abraham’s real legacy was. His gift to Isaac was a legacy of lying. In Genesis 12:10-20, Genesis 26:7-11
3. Jacob is infamous for the scams he pulled on those around him. He tricked his twin brother, Esau, out of his birthright. When his mother told him to deceive his own father, Isaac, and steal the blessing of the firstborn
When one of their neighbors, Shechem, dishonored their sister Dinah, in Genesis 34:13, they handled it the way Dad would have handled it.
In Genesis 37 they sold Joseph to be a slave in Egypt, and in verses 31-33, they deceived their father Jacob, in a way that he would have been proud of, under other circumstances:
Joseph also deceived his brothers when they come to Egypt.
4. Eli and his sons I Samuel 2:12, 23-24. Then Samuel and his sons I Samuel 8:3.
5. David the man after God’s heart.
· David’s son Amnon violated his own half-sister, Tamar.
· David’s son Absalom murdered his half-brother Amnon, and later led a civil war against his own father.
· David’s son Adonijah tried to claim the throne of Israel for himself, while David was still alive, without asking David (or God) if that was the right thing to do.
· David’s son Solomon married a couple of hundred ungodly women, and ultimately involved himself in pagan idolatry.
6. What was Solomon noted for? His wisdom. Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived – Scripture tells us so in I Kings 4:31. Did he pass any of that wisdom on to his sons? We only know about one son, Rehoboam and Rehoboam’s first act as king was to reject the wise advice of his counselors, heed the reckless advice of his young friends, and wind up losing most of his kingdom as a result, and the kingdom went downhill from there. David and Solomon are proof that, just because there’s some great Godly trait in your life, there’s no guarantee your children will inherit it from you. Not if you aren’t around for them, so they can see that trait in action as you interact with them.
7. Kings of Judah: We can see that same principle at work throughout the line of the kings of Judah, in the books of I and II Kings. Judah would get a godly king who loved and served the Lord, and the nation would come back to God and destroy all their idols, and then what happened? The next king would take the throne and plunge Judah right back into the depths of sin and idolatry. And that wicked king was the son of the righteous king just before him!
Godly Jehoshaphat was followed by wicked Jehoram.
Godly Jotham was followed by wicked Ahaz.
Godly Hezekiah was followed by wicked Manasseh, and when Manasseh repented and became a godly king, he was followed by wicked Amon.
THE GOOD FATHERS.
1. Noah. You can read about him in Genesis 6 through 9. Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
2. Manoah. The father of Samson. We see Manoah’s priorities from the moment he appears in the pages of Scripture, which is in Judges 13. An angel appears to Manoah’s wife and tells her that, although she has been childless up to now, she’s going to have a son. verse 6-8, Judge 16:28-30
3. Finally, Joseph the carpenter, the husband of Mary, the stepfather of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and the father of James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas.
We all know Proverbs 22:6 –
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Okay, there are some bad examples to put the fear of God in you, and some good examples to encourage you. What’s the difference between a bad example and a good example? How do you make sure your children are going to look back someday and think of you as a good example? Here are five basic principles of doing it right, which you can see reflected in the lives of these Biblical fathers and their offspring:
1. The heavenly Father is our model. In the realm of fatherhood, whatever He does, we should do. If you don’t know what that is, then you need to spend more time in your Bible.
2. Your children will copy what they see in you. It doesn’t matter whether you think they see it or not. It doesn’t even matter whether you see it or not. Children are the greatest camcorders and VCR’s ever invented. What they see and hear, they will play back perfectly. Use a word that you shouldn’t use in front of them, and you’ve added that word to their vocabulary. Show disrespect to their mother, and don’t be amazed if the kids start disrespecting her. And don’t expect them to love the Lord if they can’t see you loving Him. They can’t copy what they can’t see.
3. Children need your time and your attention. Lots of it. “Quality time” Buying your children fancy gifts and sending them on expensive vacations is a poor substitute for your time and your attention.
4. No matter what great things you achieve or do in life, if your own children don’t love the Lord, you’ll look back on your life with only bitterness of spirit. It doesn’t matter if you’re a successful businessman or a successful evangelist. You’ll get no satisfaction in the long run if you come home to a house full of ungodly children every day. And if your children see you constantly giving your best to everyone but them, not only will their relationship with God suffer, but they won’t have much of a relationship with you, either.
5. If your children are trained to obey, and if they know you love them unconditionally, the rest is details. Ephesians 6:4 tells us to bring up our children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Nurture has to do with love. Admonition is what happens just before disciplinary action; they’re both aimed at obedience. If the love and the obedience are firmly laid as cornerstones of your children’s lives, you’ll be able to weather the other storms of parenthood, knowing that your children will turn out all right in the end.
Fathers, what legacy are you leaving for your children? Grandfathers, uncles, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, what impact is your life having on the young people in your family? It can be good or it can be not-so-good, but it is entirely up to you.
DEACON YINKA ANIBABA
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