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Archive for May, 2009

Scripture: (Jer 13:19 NKJV)  The cities of the South shall be shut up, And no one shall open them; Judah shall be carried away captive, all of it; It shall be wholly carried away captive.

Observation: The walls, the city, and the temple had been rebuilt, and the Law of Moses (the Torah) had been read and explained to the people who had made a new dedication of themselves to the worship of God.  Now Nehemiah faced a new challenge as venders were coming to Jerusalem to sell their wares on Sabbath.  Even though he had warned them before, they had continued to do so, so this time he ordered that the gates of the city be shut during the hours of the Sabbath and threaten to have them beaten if they continued to come to tempt the people by trying to sell their stuff.

Application: We have heard of “guarding the edges of the Sabbath.”  Some of the most quoted words from the pen of Ellen White are: “We should jealously guard the edges of the Sabbath. Remember that every moment is consecrated, holy time.” (The Faith I live By, pg. 34) By the edges of the Sabbath we mean the beginning and the end of this special day, sundown on Friday evening  to sundown on Saturday afternoon.  I would not suggest we threaten our family, or anyone else, with bodily harm if they come to our house to sell something on the Sabbath or if our children are doing something that is not conducive to good Sabbath rest and fellowship.  However, as parents we do have the responsibility to  do all in our power to ensure that the sacred hours of the Sabbath remain untainted by outside influences.
As our girls were growing up, we switched to “Sabbath toys,” and “Sabbath music,” and “Sabbath  activities,” and we enjoyed a good time of worship to “welcome the Sabbath.”  We incorporated a few traditions like the lighting of the Sabbath candles (a Jewish tradition), had Mexican tostadas, and for dessert we had donuts (you know, the commandment says to keep the Sabbath “wholey”).  In the more conservative Jewish households the observance of Sabbath begins about an hour before sundown as they try to protect themselves for entering carelessly into those sacred hours.
The other edge of the Sabbath, the sundown that marks its end, should also be marked with worship,  and with a good time of family fellowship and prayer.  There’s no need to rush “out” of the Sabbath.  Again, Jewish tradition teaches that the Sabbath is finally over when at least three stars are visible in the sky.  What that means is that there should be no rush to end this day but rather linger in its blessings as long as possible.  In fact, there’s a certain sense of sadness to see the Sabbath come to an end as the new week begins.
The point is not to make of the Sabbath a day of rules, regulations, and prohibitions which turns it into the longest, most boring, 24 hours of the week.  Maybe we could think of the gates not as something to keep negative influences out of your life but as something that helps keep the blessings in and when we keep them open the blessings of this day flow out, away from us, even as we need them so desperately after a week of battling the world and its influences.  Guarding the edges of the Sabbath is like closing doors and windows in the winter months in order to keep the warmth of the home inside and the bitter cold of winter outside.  I love the feeling, during the cold winter months (specially here in Minnesota), of coming home and walking in from the cold garage into the warmth of the foyer.  The warmth of my house greets me as I open the door and embraces me until the next time I have to go out.  And that’s how I picture the Sabbath, its warmth embracing me and protecting me from the bitter cold of the rest of the week.

Prayer: Father, thank You for the warmth and the rest of the Sabbath.

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They Made It Clear

Scripture: (Neh 8:8 NKJV)  So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading.

Observation: As the building of the city of Jerusalem and of the temple were finished, Nehemiah and the leaders recognized the need for a consecration of the people to God.  Ezra, the scribe, stood before everyone gathered and read to them the words of the Book of the Law of Moses, the first five books of the Bible, or the Torah.  As the people heard the stories and the regulations found in those books, they were moved in their hearts.  But it wasn’t enough to just read the Law, the Levites helped the people to understand it by explaining its content and meaning.

Application: I encourage daily, regular reading of the Bible personally and at home.  Personally, I encourage everyone to read through their Bibles every year.  I have followed that practice for many years and have read through the entire Bible, in many different versions and translations, in two languages, every day of the year (with just a few exceptions), and doing so has enriched my life and opened windows of information, knowledge, and faith I might not otherwise have.
Beyond a reading of the Bible, though, there must be thoughtful study of selected passages, stories, sections of the Scriptures for deeper understanding.  Also, for daily family worship, at least a portion of the Scriptures should be read and discussed.  It doesn’t have to be a long theological dissertation and exegetical study of a passage, but at least a simple conversation of its meaning.  Dennis Raney, Christian counselor and writer says concerning our verse for today:

It occurred to me that when we read the Bible to our families, we need to do so in a way so that we understand what we have just read, and that our children also grasp the meaning.
It’s easy to stick to the text of the Scripture and read it word for word, flying by words like reproach and exhortation – lofty words that may (or may not) be clear to us, but which leave our kids with blank looks on their faces.
When we read the Bible to your children, take the time to stop and explain the words and ideas they may have difficulty grasping.  If needed, try paraphrasing the text to give them a down-home explanation of what it’s saying.  Give them the freedom o stop you and ask what something means if they feel confused or stuck.
Reading and studying the Bible as a family can be a source of great blessing.  But we need to make sure we aren’t just reading through it as quickly as possible, without helping everyone to understand what’s being read. (From the Family Life Marriage Bible).

Prayer: Father, help us to spend time daily with Your word, to understand it, to meditate upon it, and to spend the time teaching others what we have learned from it, and from You.

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Repentance to All

Scripture: (Neh 1:5-11 NKJV)  And I said: “I pray, LORD God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments, {6} “please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father’s house and I have sinned. {7} “We have acted very corruptly against You, and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses. {8} “Remember, I pray, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations; {9} ‘but if you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name.’ {10} “Now these are Your servants and Your people, whom You have redeemed by Your great power, and by Your strong hand. {11} “O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name; and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.” For I was the king’s cupbearer.

Observation: Nehemiah was saddened to know the ruined condition of Jerusalem and Judah, and he recognized that it was the result of the people’s rebelliousness against God.  So he prays the prayer in our text for today.

Application:
Nehemiah could have prayed for deliverance for himself and his family, but instead, he recognized all of them needed to repent.  At the same time, he could have prayed for forgiveness only for the people, but he was humble enough to pray for the people but also for himself.
It is interesting how at times we pray for our loved ones, which we should do, and ask God to lead them closer to Him, and to bring them to repentance and to the place where they will be ready for His soon return.  But somehow we don’t always come humbly before the Lord in recognition of our own need for repentance, knowledge of God, and preparation for His return.  Nehemiah prayed for his people, but humbly also prayed and confessed his own sin.  And the wonderful thing is that God heard his plea and granted his prayer and Nehemiah was able to go back and lead in the rebuilding of the city and the reestablishment of the worship of God.  Maybe our prayers will be the catalyst for a complete revival in our lives and in our homes, maybe even beyond to our churches and to the area where we live. . . and it all begins with being humble enough to recognize our own need for repentance and forgiveness.

Prayer: Father, we too have sinned and have turned our backs to you.  Forgive our sin, cleanse us and make us new, and may the experience of conversion be ours and that of our loved ones.

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Faith Through Fear

Scripture: (Ezra 3:3 NKJV)  Though fear had come upon them because of the people of those countries, they set the altar on its bases; and they offered burnt offerings on it to the LORD, both the morning and evening burnt offerings.

Observation: Ezra gets permission to go back to Jerusalem and start the process of rebuilding the city.  He and the people encounter opposition, but they move forward and begin the restoration of the temple as they realize the importance of religion in the life of the people and of the nation.

Application: This verse jumped at me this morning.  There are times when just living in this world, and all that’s available for our children to see and do, fills us with fear for them and their future.  But we cannot be paralyzed with fear and do nothing.  Like Ezra and the people of the time, we need to continue to move forward in the reestablishment or continuation of the worship of the Lord, both morning and evening.

Prayer: Father, nothing is a surprise to You.  So knowing everything, please bless our protect our children, and make them faithful to You all the days of their lives.

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Pride Consumes

Scripture: (2 Chr 32:24-26 NKJV)  In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death, and he prayed to the LORD; and He spoke to him and gave him a sign. {25} But Hezekiah did not repay according to the favor shown him, for his heart was lifted up; therefore wrath was looming over him and over Judah and Jerusalem. {26} Then Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD did not come upon them in the days of Hezekiah.

Observation: Hezekiah did many good things in reestablishing the worship of God and His law, but he was by no means perfect in what he did.  When he was sick, he asked for healing and his prayer was answered, but as a result his heart became proud, which caused him to make mistakes that cost him and Jerusalem a great deal.  Fortunately, the last we hear about Hezekiah was that he humbled himself again before God.

Application: The Soviet dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote that “Pride grows in the human heart like lard on a pig.”  To which Dennis Raney added, “Pride is one of the few things that can grow in the human heart without any outside sustenance.  The human race is prone to be proud.”
I’ve often wondered about this thing we call pride, and it seems to me that there is a certain amount of joy we as parents have for our children which can be considered “healthy” pride, but there is a point at which this healthy pride becomes unhealthy and it brings about painful consequences.  When our children do well in school and when they are kind and polite, something good moves in our hearts.  When someone makes a nice comment about our children, something good stirs inside us and gives us a warm feeling.  Would that be “healthy” pride?  Could we honestly say we are “proud of our children?”  But when we become obsessed with our children’s accomplishments, when we want to display bumper stickers every time our children win an award or get good grades or their name appears on the dean’s list, has it or can it become unhealthy pride?  Are we using our children as pawns to tell the whole world how good we are as parents and to indirectly put down every other parent and their children?
When we display pride for our children only when the accomplish something big or because of their accomplishments, we may be sending them the signal that their worth is tied to those accomplishments.  Some parents live their dreams through their children and thus are very happy when their children succeed and very disappointed in them when they don’t do as they would wish them to do.
So, let’s rejoice with our children in their accomplishments, but don’t make them the goal or end of their lives.  And let us not use our children to fulfill our dreams or as pawns against others so we can be exalted in our own eyes.  It’s best to be humble than to be humbled.

Prayer: Father, teach us to be humble, even when our hearts burst with “healthy” pride.

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Scripture: (2 Chr 31:20-21 NKJV)  Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and true before the LORD his God. {21} And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, in the law and in the commandment, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart. So he prospered.

Observation: From the time Hezekiah became king of Judah he began a reform of a spiritual nature throughout the nation but also a physical restoration of the temple and its services.  Not only did he order the repair of the temple, with everyone’s contribution, but he also destroyed the worship of other gods and moved the people to rededicate themselves and their children to the worship of the true God.

Application: So you hear or read how critically important it is to lead by example in the worship of the Lord, particularly in the life of our children.  And you may think that since you have not been doing it – you have not been praying with and for your children, or you have not been having daily worship with them, or you have not been spending time every day studying God’s will, seeking His will or following His commands – so you may feel guilty and maybe tempted to give up and simply continue the same pattern for your and their lives.
The story of Hezekiah’s reforms can teach us that it is never too late to begin again, it is never too late to make changes in our personal devotional life or in the family worship of our God.  So why not begin today.  You can talk to your family, confess that you have not been faithful to His commands in that you have not been leading them by example in the worship of God, and share with them that you intend to begin again, and to invite them to join you.  Explain that you are making a new commitment to pray with and for them every day, and that you will be studying a portion of the Scriptures, and that you would  like to gather with them each day to have family worship time.   The honest confession on your part will show them that you’re transparent with them and are willing to show them your human nature, that you’re not perfect but also that you want to do your best under God’s guidance.  Don’t let the devil defeat you and continue in the same pattern of disregard for God and His worship.  Think of yourself as the Hezekiah of your home, making personal and family reforms in order to bring a revival of the faith to your family.  While you may encounter some resistance, if you do it kindly and lovingly, and persevere, the results will be better than continuing to neglect your personal and your family devotional life and daily commitment to God.

Prayer: Father, forgive us for neglecting our time and communion with You and for not leading our family in a daily experience of prayer and worship with You.  Help us to begin again, to make things right with You, and to bring about this reform and revival in our lives and that of our children.

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God’s Battle

Scripture: (2 Chr 20:15 NKJV)  And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the LORD to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.

Observation: The Ammonites and Moabites joined forces with other groups and came up to battle against Jesoshaphat, king of Judah.  The people of Judah gathered for the battle, but before they did they sough the Lord and in the midst of that assembly Jahaziel spoke for God to encourage Jehoshaphat and the people – some of his words are the words of our text for today.  Jehoshaphat, in turn, supported the words of Jahaziel by saying: “Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper” (vs.20).

Application: As a father, sometimes it seems as if the battles we fight for our children is a losing battle.  The media, friends, music, everything seems like the enemy’s forces arrayed in battle against them and we are powerless to fight them for no matter how much we do to protect them from any and all of their influence, we would have to live in a deserted island or in some cave for those influences to not reach them.
Today’s words always encourage me because I know this is not a losing battle after all.  I have to commit myself and my family to the Lord, and trust that He will fight this battle for me and for them. As scary and discouraging as it may seem at times, we must leave the results to Him.

Prayer: Father, today we commit ourselves and our family to You.  Fight the battle for our salvation for us and give the final victory for your Honor and glory.  We long to spend eternity with You.

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Scripture: (2 Chr 11:21 NKJV)  Now Rehoboam loved Maachah the granddaughter of Absalom more than all his wives and his concubines; for he took eighteen wives and sixty concubines, and begot twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters.

Observation: Rehoboam was the king of Israel after his father Solomon passed away.  This section of the Scriptures tells us that he married a number of women and also had concubines, much like his father, although not as many as Solomon.  Among the wives he had, he loved Maachah, granddaughter of her uncle Absalom.  As it’s often the case, since she loved Maacah most, he also preferred the son he had with her, Abijah.  Rehoboam had other sons, and he placed them all in charge of several of the cities in Israel, but with Abijah he had a special plan for him to be his successor in the throne of Israel one day.

Application: God does not condone polygamy, and in most countries it is illegal.  And yet we have come to accept a different form of polygamy – successive marriages, punctuated with divorces in between.  As we heard the news of celebrity divorces and remarriages we used to be shocked and ashamed, now it’s become fodder for entertainment.  Recently I read a book which contains some interesting facts about marriage.  One of them is the number of times some famous people have been or were married.  Here’s a sample:

Married Nine Times
Pancho Villa
Zsa Zsa Gabor

Married Eight Times
Elizabeth Taylor (twice to the same man)
Mickey Rooney

Married Seven Times
Lana Turner
Richard Pryor (Four times to two of the women)
Martha Raye
Stan Laurel (three times to the same woman)
Jennifer O’Neil
Larry King

Married Six Times
Johnny Weissmuller
King Henry VIII
Jerry Lee Lewis

Married Five Times
Ernest Borgnine
Heorge C. Scott (twice to the same woman)
George Peppard (twice to the same woman)
Ginger Rogers
Eva Gabor
Judy Garland
Henry Fonda
George Foreman
Tammy Wynette
Clark Gable
Richard Burton (twice to the same woman)
Billy Bob Thornton
Martin Scorsese

While some may say that it’s only celebrities that change marriage partners so often, there are others who jump in and out of marriage just as much and as quickly.  Certain professions tend to lead to divorce and remarriage more often than others – law enforcement, military, entertainment, etc.
One of the interesting facts that has come out of research is that each successive marriage after divorce lasts less than the previous.  In other words, if the first marriage lasted a number of years, the second will last less than the first, the third marriage will last than the second, the fourth marriage will last than the third, and so on.  Instead of finding marital bliss with more successive marriages, many of these people find out they were happier with their first spouse than they were with any of the other that followed them.  While there may be some romance and passion for a while on the other marriages and relationships, eventually there settles an emptiness and dissatisfaction which leads to another divorce and a search for fulfillment in yet another relationship when the key to happiness was in the first marriage.
Rather than entering the marriage and divorce go-round, make every effort to maintain your current relationship strong, look for ways to meet each others’ most important emotional needs, look for the best in each other rather than concentrate on the negative side of the other.  Rather than jumping ship on your spouse thinking that someone else can make you happier, look for ways to make your spouse happy, to fulfill with them your marriage vows to live with them in sickness and in health until death do you part.  Hopefully you will find more ways and reasons to stay together with your spouse rather than finding out  later, two or three spouses later, that what you have now, and which you will never recover if you leave it, was better than anything you have had since.

Prayer: Father, we know you don’t accept or condone polygamy and that you hate divorce.  Help us to value each other and to cultivate daily a strong marital relationship so we have the most fulfilling experience and at the same time bring the highest honor and glory to You.

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Praise God for His Will

Scripture: (1 Chr 17:16-27 NKJV)  Then King David went in and sat before the LORD; and he said: “Who am I, O LORD God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far? {17} “And yet this was a small thing in Your sight, O God; and You have also spoken of Your servant’s house for a great while to come, and have regarded me according to the rank of a man of high degree, O LORD God. {18} “What more can David say to You for the honor of Your servant? For You know Your servant. {19} “O LORD, for Your servant’s sake, and according to Your own heart, You have done all this greatness, in making known all these great things. {20} “O LORD, there is none like You, nor is there any God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears. {21} “And who is like Your people Israel, the one nation on the earth whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people; to make for Yourself a name by great and awesome deeds, by driving out nations from before Your people whom You redeemed from Egypt? {22} “For You have made Your people Israel Your very own people forever; and You, LORD, have become their God. {23} “And now, O LORD, the word which You have spoken concerning Your servant and concerning his house, let it be established forever, and do as You have said. {24} “So let it be established, that Your name may be magnified forever, saying, ‘The LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, is Israel’s God.’ And let the house of Your servant David be established before You. {25} “For You, O my God, have revealed to Your servant that You will build him a house. Therefore Your servant has found it in his heart to pray before You. {26} “And now, LORD, You are God, and have promised this goodness to Your servant. {27} “Now You have been pleased to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue before You forever; for You have blessed it, O LORD, and it shall be blessed forever.”

Observation: David wanted to build God’s temple and told so to Nathan the prophet who encouraged him to do so.  That night God told Nathan to tell David not to build Him the temple he intended to.  David’s response is our Scripture for today, in the form of a prayer of praise.

Application: I think David’s response was exemplary.  He could have become angry or bitter that God wouldn’t want him to build the temple for His honor and glory.  He could have argued with God that he had won so many battles for God and for Israel so he should be allowed to build this great monument to God.  He could have become bitter and resentful, he could have rebelled, he could have become a stumbling block to the building of the temple, he could have acted like a bad looser or a politician after being voted out of office, or he could have reacted in many other negative ways.
What I love about this story, and why God said of David he was a man after His own heart (1 Sam. 13:14), is David’s positive, indeed joyful, reaction, which is our text for today.  The way I feel is that if we truly believe in God’s will for our lives, and that His will is always best, then if we don’t get what we thought we might, what is offered to us, or even what we hoped we would, instead of becoming bitter or resentful we should praise God and thank Him.  Don’t be sour grapes because the job you wanted was given to somebody else, because someone made a higher bid on a house you had made an offer to buy, because somebody else is now dating the person you were hoping to date, or because the person you were dating left you to marry somebody else.  Praise God it worked out that way!  That means that what God has in store for you is better than what you wanted or though you might get.  It may not appear to be so at first, but it is God’s best for you, without a doubt.

Prayer: Father, today we echo David’s words of praise for Your will in our lives.

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Abraham’s Tree

Scripture: And Abraham begot Isaac. The sons of Isaac were Esau and Israel.    (1 Chr 1:34 NKJV)

Observation: This is one of the driest portions of the Bible, mainly because it just consists of lists of names, a genealogical chart of the generations since the creation of Adam to the date of the writing of this book.  Here and there you may find a short account of a prominent person, but for several chapters there are lists, and more lists.  The text today points to one of the best known family tree, that of Abraham.

Application: As part of my doctoral dissertation I wrote the following:
One way marriage and family therapists, maybe even trained clergy people, can discover unhealthy family patterns transmitted from one generation to the next is by the use of a Genogram.  A Genogram is a pictorial display of a person’s family relationships and medical history, and goes beyond a traditional family tree by showing hereditary patterns and psychological factors that punctuate relationships. It can be used to identify repetitive patterns of behavior and to recognize hereditary tendencies.  A Genogram could help one understand the meaning of the words of God through Moses, “You shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me” (Exodus 20:5 NKJV).  While some look at this text as God’s way of punishing succeeding generations for the sins of their fathers, it seems as if what God was trying to show was that the sins, habits, practices of one generation are transmitted to others and often get worse.  The editors of the Seventh-day Adventist Commentary explain:
A distinction should be made, however, between the natural results of a sinful course of action, and punishment inflicted because of it (PP 306). God does not penalize one individual for the wrong deeds of another (Ezekiel. 18:2–24). Each man stands before God, responsible only for his own acts. At the same time God does not interfere with the laws of heredity in such a way as to protect one generation from the misdeeds of its fathers, as that would be inconsistent with His character and His principles of dealing with men. It is only through these laws of heredity, which were of course ordained by the Creator in the beginning (see Gen. 1:21, 24, 25), that divine justice visits the “iniquity” of one generation upon the next.
No one can escape completely the consequences of dissipation, disease, profligacy, evil doing, ignorance, and bad habits handed down by preceding generations. The descendants of degraded idolaters and the offspring of evil and vicious men generally begin life under the handicap of physical and moral sin, and harvest the fruit of seed sown by their parents. Juvenile delinquency proves the truth of the second commandment. Environment also has a decided effect upon each rising generation. But since God is gracious and just, we may trust Him to deal fairly with each person, making due allowance for the disadvantages of birth, the inherited predispositions, and the influence of previous environment upon character. His justice and mercy require this (Ps. 87:6; Luke 12:47, 48; John 15:22; Acts 17:30; 2 Cor. 8:12). At the same time our aim is to be victorious over every inherited and cultivated tendency to evil (COL 315,  330, 331; DA 671).
God “visits,” or “appoints,” the results of iniquity, not vindictively, but to teach sinners that a wrong course of action inevitably brings unfortunate results.
In the Bible there is the history of several prominent families, patriarchs of the Jewish, Christian, and even Muslim faiths.  When these families are studied, and with the help of a Genogram, it’s clear to see some of the unhealthy patterns transmitted from one generation to several generations that followed.  One of the examples is the family of David, as seen in the Genogram below.  At least three patterns or themes become evident from one generation to the next.
i. The first is their heart or religion.  Although we don’t know much about Jesse, David’s father, he must have been a devoted believer in God (1 Samuel 16).  God referred to David as a man “after His own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14 NKJV).  However, he also committed a doubly-grievous sin when he sinned with Bathsheba and then plotted to have her husband, Uriah, killed. His son, Solomon, was responsible for the actual construction of God’s temple and asks for wisdom and is granted the answer to his prayers plus riches and power as well.  However, Solomon married hundreds of wives who led him to mix the worship of God to that of pagan deities.  By the time of the next generation Rehoboam, son of Solomon, ignores God completely and practices idolatry of the worst kinds, like other nations around Israel.

abrahams-family-genogram

ii. A second pattern or theme that can be seen through the Genogram of David’s family is that of sexual sin.  Much like people and rulers of the time, David marries several wives and even commits adultery with Bathsheba before marrying her.  His oldest son, Ammon, commits sexual immorality, possible forcible rape, with his half-sister Tamar.  David’s other son, Solomon, continues with this pattern by marrying seven hundred wives and adding three hundred concubines to his retinue (1 Kings 11:3).  Following him, Solomon’s son Rehoboam had eighteen wives and sixty concubines (2 Chronicles 11:21).
iii. Another pattern is the family division and sibling rivalry present in every generation.  David has some problems with his older brothers who don’t think much of him (1 Samuel 16-17).  Absalom, one of his sons, murders one of his brothers, Ammon as revenge for raping his sister Tamar.  Later Absalom rebels against his own father and goes out in pursuit of him but is tragically killed by one of David’s generals.  Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, continues this pattern of rebellion and disobedience to God so Israel is divided into two with ten tribes to the north and two to the south.  Eventually both separate kingdoms are conquered by surrounding nations and the people either taken captive or scattered.
This knowledge of family history through the use of Genograms  is very important, as Scazzero writes, because “sin is passed on from generation to generation.  God allows this story to be recorded to sober us to take a deep, hard look inside (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:6).  The implication for church life is clear: It is impossible to help people break free from their past apart from understanding the families in which they grew up.  Unless people grasp the power of the past on who they are  in the present, they will inevitably replicate those patterns in relationships inside and outside the church.”

Prayer: Father, may we learn from our past so we don’t repeat with our children mistakes and sins that will continue to be transmitted for many more generations in the future.

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