For weeks the song, “The Blessing,” has captivated me. I keep listening to it over and over, and when I am not listening, the song goes on in my head. If you haven’t heard it (and you might be living under a rock if you haven’t), you can listen here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9VL7AhXBKY
For the last few days I have been especially riveted to the lyrics about generations:
May His favor be upon you
And a thousand generations
Your family and your children
And their children, and their children
God has richly blessed Jerry and me with a large and active family. We have three daughters, nine grandchildren, and we are about to welcome our second great grand, a little baby boy, in a few days. Jerry’s 98-year old mother has been visiting so we had a family dinner the other night. Five generations together! My mother-in-law was a little overwhelmed by all the activity. “There are so many of them! And they all came at once!” Yes, Mimi, that is how our family dinners go. Loud and active. Jerry and I pray the Lord’s blessing for all of them every morning, as well as future generations.
So I was thinking about a thousand generations. I looked up several definitions of the length of a generation and found most sources accept 20-30 years as a generation. If I accept 25 as a benchmark, a thousand generations would be 25,000 years! Somebody check my math, but I think that is accurate. Many Biblical scholars believe a generation is longer, say 30-35 years. Genealogists have used the number 30 to estimate how many ancestors we would have if we go back 1000 generations. In theory (and it can only be theoretical) I would have over a billion people in my family tree. It is an interesting concept to research, but warning, you can fall down the rabbit hole! And so much math! And then there is the whole young earth/old earth debate. Either way, I don’t think it would be possible to actually have over a billion people in my family tree.
Over the years my siblings and I have had the conversation, “Who prayed?” You see, we were not raised in church, or even in a Bible-teaching household. There was a period of about two years or so when we went to church, but that collapsed along with my parents’ marriage. And yet, all of us are Bible-believing, born again, evangelical Christians. Someone, in a previous generation, received the blessing and passed it on through prayer.
That doesn’t mean coming to Christ happens automatically, like a bequest in a will. One has to have a personal encounter with the Lord and make a decision to receive Him as Lord and Savior. Scripture teaches us that we have all sinned (Romans 3:23), and because of that sin we deserve death (Romans 6:23). However, God loves us so much that He sent His Son to take on our sins and die in our place (John 3:16). If we truly believe this in our hearts and confess it with our mouths, we are saved (Romans 10:9-10). This is what I did when I was 18-years old, and Christ came to live in me and has never left me.
Now fast forward to my old age (And the years did go by so fast!). I now have the privilege of praying for my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. I also pray for the generations to come, those I will never meet. I pray for their health and prosperity, for their future mates, and for a life of purpose. But the most important thing I pray for is their salvation.
Now as I write these words I pray for baby Brodie Alexander who surprised us all by deciding to be born yesterday. Lord, I ask your blessing upon this child. I pray for him, as I pray for all my children, these words from Ephesians 3:14-19
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Lord, please extend the blessing.