The prophet Joshua was nearing the end of his life and he called the tribes of Israel together to remind them of the blessings God had bestowed on the Israelites throughout generations.
Joshua chronicled for the tribe leaders the sins their fathers had committed, the attacks the Israelites endured over hundreds of years, and time and time again how God blessed the Israelites and brought them to 13 “land for which you did not labor, and cities which you did not build, and you dwell in them; you eat of the vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.”
These passages lead me to consider how families are impacted positively, or negatively, by the choices of previous generations. Some people come from broken marriages, family addicted to drugs or alcohol, marriages filled with infidelity, and sadly abusive behavior. The life that many live is a direct reflection of the example that has been set for them by their parents or family. The Israelites lives for hundreds of years suffering for the sins of their fathers.
The good news is we can make the choice to “break the chain” of previous generations and God will provide for us. The abusive behavior can stop. The addiction can stop. The infidelity and adultery do not have to continue. Absent fathers and mothers from our lives does not mean that we should continue that same behavior and cause the same pain for our children.
My brother and I are fortunate because we have two parents that have provided great examples of how to live a Godly, Christ-filled life. What is important to note is that our family did not always have that as an example. Both of my grandfathers, our parents’ fathers, came from broken and unhappy homes. They both came from challenging situations where they experienced terrible sadness, experienced a lack of love, and could have become angry and bitter men.
I believe my grandfathers both “broke the chain” of their earthly fathers because they were “bathed in the Word of God.” They followed Christ, believed in His power to change them, and followed his teachings. My grandfathers were not perfect men but they both perfectly broke the chain of their fathers, just like the Israelites did, and set an example of living a life following Jesus Christ.
The great news it that we worship a God that provides us a “path” for our lives. He commands us to live a life following Him but there will be challenges and trials. God commands us to love Him and glorify Him and He will be with us every step of the way. There are stories and examples in the Bible where we can learn from other’s mistakes and apply these lessons to make better decisions for our lives.
I am thankful every day that my grandfather’s made that choice and generations of our family to come will thrive based on the choice they made to “break the chain” and follow Christ.