Monday, March 31, 2008

Family Traditions

In our Sunday School class, we have been studying Genesis. I have to say that I am somewhat fascinated by the traditions and practices of the Israelites. There were so many rules to follow - how did they remember them all? Had I lived back then, I am sure I would have been in trouble quite frequently for forgetting the law - they would have probably sent me to live with the lepers or something.

I find the story of Jacob and Esau particularly interesting. You remember the story: Jacob and Esau were the sons of Isaac and Rebekah. Esau was a manly man who loved to hunt (and according to the Bible he was very hairy - eeeeew!). Esau was loved by his father Isaac, maybe because they had similar interests. Esau was the kind of son Issac could call on to help put food on the table, help fix things around the 'tent', or with any other manly task. Jacob, on the other hand, was loved by his mother, Rebekah. Jacob and Rebekah probably had a lot in common. Jacob was more of the sensitive type. He liked to cook (what mom wouldn't want some help in the kitchen?). Jacob was probably a great help with the other kids in the camp. He probably helped decorate the tent and keep it tidy. Needless to say, other than their parents, Jacob and Esau had very few similar interests.

Even though their interests were different, Jacob and Esau had one thing in common. Deceit. They were good at deceiving people. As a matter of fact, their grandfather Abraham, and their father Isaac were quite good a lying as well. If you will remember, Abraham lied to Pharaoh when he said that Sarah was his sister (well she was his half-sister, but it was a lie nonetheless). Isaac did the same with Rebekah, telling Abimelech that she was his sister. Like father, like son, huh? Then Jacob, deceived his brother Esau, causing Esau to give Jacob his birth right. See the pattern here?

Exodus 20:5 tells us that ".....for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.." Considering the fact that Abraham's family had a problem telling the truth, it looks like this held true for his family and I am sure that it will hold true for mine as well.

This means that the sins that we allow to remain in our own lives can plague our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren....do you smell what I'm cookin' here? When great-great grandpa has a problem controlling his temper, it is a good likelihood that great-grandson will have anger management issues as well. When grandma is a constant complainer who is always dissatisfied, it could be that great-grandaughter will be whiny and hard to please as well. Those are just a couple of examples, we all have to fill in our own blanks. My grandmother/mother - grandfather/father had the negative behvior of ___________________ therefore I am more likely to be ______________________.

I am sure that all of us can look back at our family tree and see patterns of sin. Maybe it's lying, or negativity, maybe gambling, greed - whatever the tradition of sin is, we have to stop it in ourselves so that it isn't passed down to our children and their children.

Abraham was an idol worshipper who became a worshipper of God. Abraham is probably most remembered for obeying God when asked to sacrifice his son, Isaac on an altar. Thankfully, God spared Isaac and blessed Abraham for his faith. Isaac is probably most remembered for unintentionally giving away his fortune to the wrong child. Jacob is probably most remembered for cheating his brother out of his birth right. Regardless of their faith in God, these men will always be remembered, in part, for being deceitful. These were men of God yet their legacy is tainted by lies and deceit.

Our family history influences who we are and how we act/react. History always repeats itself until someone stops the cycle. We have to be that someone. We have be honest with ourselves in taking inventory of the negative patterns we have inherited and do whatever it takes to eliminate them in our own lives. We do not want to be responsible for causing our children and their children and their children to sin. No matter what we do for God, no matter how much we love Him, our unrepentant sins can taint our legacy of faith. And we defnitely do not want that to happen!


Check out Greg's blog - I think you will find it interesting!

12 comments:

jcdisciple said...

Great lesson Beth. I am definitely trying to be the one to put a stop to my family "bad" habits...overeating, not seeking Christ first, being intenional about raising my son...I am enjoying your blog. I love to read about others lessons from God.

Cheri said...

That was a really good lesson to be reminded and aware of.
Hopefully if I'm aware of my problem areas I can be quicker to do better and not pass that on to my kids.

Cassie said...

I love to read about "lessons learned" from the bible...Thanks for sharing this one and reminding me of these pheonmenal stories....Keep writing!!!

Earen said...

This is SO true! It's convicting because I definitely don't want to pass on my bad traits to my kids. Thank you for the great reminder!

Eddie said...

Great Lesson and gruesomely true.
Like Abraham, Issac and Jacob, I've chosen the wrong direction several times and my prayer is that like Abraham, Issac and Jacob, most people who know me will not remember me for the dumb wrong things I've done, but perhaps that will be able to find something decent,good to remember, especially you and your sisters since I'm da fa da. Love ya. Dad

Stephanie (Ocean Mommy) said...

Hmmmmm. This whole concept has been in my face for about two weeks. I am not kidding.... in fact this morning my devotion was titled "family secrects". Talking about generational sin.

We are living the consequences of some generational sin right now and making the choice for things to change with us. It's hard, but God is showing us that things don't have to be this way just because old so and so was that way....

This probably made no sense, so I'm going to quit rambling and go back to the Word and soak a little longer in what God is saying to me right now....

Digging for Pearls said...

If you have a few minutes, I would love your input on my blog in regards to the ten struggles that Christian women face. Thank you!

Fran said...

Bring it Sister!!! I love this stuff...not because its pleasant, bc my line of "junk" is something I'm wanting to be the generation to stop...but because this gets to the heart of the matter in our families....

What do we want to pass on and what do we not want to pass on?

Oh, how this causes us to get real with ourselves and with Jesus!

Bless you girl. This was good.
love it!!

Greg P. said...

Hey Beth. I just got home, but, I wanted to thank you for the "plug" regarding my blog. I think the catholic church just tries to use reason as to what is a major or minor offense. It's ALL sin anyway, but, try to tell them that.
There's only one "renegade" catholic church I know of in Chicago that serves a more Christian agenda and even they are not completely correct. The church is called St. Sabina and the pastor is Fr. Michael Pfleger. He has made national headlines. Google him.

Rochelle said...

Great post. Sometimes I catch myself doing those things that my mom did that I KNOW aren't the things that I should be doing... like STRESSING about things I can't change. I want to pass on to Keilani to pray and trust!

Carol said...

This was great! I just read Genesis not too long ago and thought the same thing. Try Leviticus if you want to get really specific about how things have to be done. How true about how what we do affects many generations to come. That's kind of scary, but also exciting. I hope I can affect mine in a positive way and not be known as the crazy ole' sheep lady! LOL!

Jennifer Partin said...

I've also witnessed the opposite too! When God grabs hold of someone and the blessing going back down the family members and back up again.

Makes us desire to be mindful, doesn't it?