Acts 13:36 – “For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers…”
The God we serve is a God of generations. He’s the God who calls the generations from the beginning (Isaiah 41:4); the God Who’s forever known as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the God who blesses the generations. And He’s the God who calls us to serve our generation as He did David.
Each generation is different from the one before and after it. Each has different characteristics but they’re interconnected. While God deals differently with each generation, what we do in our generation will have profound repercussions on the next.
It’s interesting that, when Jesus came, He dealt with the generation He was in and held them accountable for what they had witnessed, seen, and heard. In Matthew 12:39-40, Jesus called His generation ‘an evil and adulterous generation’. They wanted a sign but none would be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. Then in Matthew 17:17-18, He also referred to His generation as a ‘faithless and perverse generation’. Double whammy. That’s not a good sign for that generation on Judgment Day.
In Proverbs 30:11-14, Solomon writes about four generations. ‘There’s a generation that curses its father, and does not bless its mother.’ I call this the ‘No Honour Generation’. ‘There’s a generation that’s pure in its own eyes, yet not washed from its filthiness.’ This is an ‘Unclean Generation’. ‘There’s a generation – Oh, how lofty are their eyes! And their eyelids are lifted up.’ I call this the ‘Peacock Generation’. ‘There’s a generation whose teeth are like swords, and whose fangs are like knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.’ This is the ‘Violent Generation’. Don’t these four descriptions so clearly identify our generation?
So what can we do? In Genesis 6:9-10, we find a man called Noah. ‘This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God’. I love this. When God surveyed the entire spectrum of a generation, He saw that everyone in that generation was evil, except Noah. One man just stood above the rest, and God says of that man, “Perfect”.
Noah was a man who walked with God and, because of his righteousness, saved mankind from annihilation. God is once again looking for the sons of Noah, those who would walk with Him. David also lived in a time of great violence yet he was singled out by God as a man who served his own generation by the will of God. He stood out among the sons of men.
But there’ll be one generation that will seek Him. In Psalm 24:6, we read, ‘This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face’. Seeking God is the greatest privilege. Finding Him is the greatest reward. I close with an important principle – ‘The Lord is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation’ (Numbers 14:18).
We need to understand that our actions and deeds have an influence and consequence that goes down to the third and fourth generations of our descendants. To wit, how we live our lives and how courageous we are can bless our grandchildren and great grandchildren with a great heritage and legacy.
When our descendants do terrible evil, this evil can stay in our family line up to the 4th generation. We do not live in a vacuum. So what we do and how we live will have a direct bearing until our great grandchildren. Now, while sin is dealt with and covered by the blood when repented of, iniquity can pass through the bloodline into the next generation. But the reverse is also true. If curses can be passed down from one generation to the next, blessings too are passed down even up to the 3rd and 4th generation.
How many times have we heard of people getting up and thanking God that their grandparents or great-grandparents had dedicated their families to God and there they stand, four generations later, recipients of God’s goodness because their ancestors walked with God?
Paul told Timothy that the unfeigned or unhypocritical faith that he possessed was inherited from his mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois. Isn’t it a blessing to have praying grandparents who were fervent in faith? We cannot undo the past, but we can walk righteously before God and leave behind a godly heritage.