Today is my mother’s birthday. She is 98 years old today. My mom’s mom (and another contributor to 66books Mandy Baldwin’s great grandmother) Lucy Hungerford was a strong Christ follower. I remember the wide armed wicker chair my grandmother used to sit in when she’d read her Bible. Her favorite Hymn was Whispering Hope. My great grandmother from all my mom could tell was not a Christian. So a godly heritage started with my grandmother Hungerford. My grandfather Hungerford came to Jesus just weeks before he died. When you include our grandchildren there are five generations of people that follow Jesus.
My wife’s maiden name is Simons. Her grandfather was Ernest Alfred (EA) Simons. He was a Christ follower and was a choir director in the churches he attended. The Simons side of our family also has five generations of Jesus followers. In fact many have been pastors and missionaries. As we thought through the Simons side of the family we realized there has been a Simon missionary in the Philippines for the last 71 years. What a heritage!
What does that have to do with our reading of today? Well the kind of heritage we read about today is so great that you can’t count them. It’s like the sands of the sea or the stars in the sky. And many of them were true to God’s plans for them.
We read in chapter 15 of Genesis: 3 And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” 4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” 5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6 And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness. (NIV)
By this one act of belief Abram entered into a saving faith relationship with God and we have pointed to this very verse as what one must do to enter into a saving relationship with Jesus. Believe in what Jesus did for you on the cross and trust in that very sacrifice and you will have eternal life.
So I wasn’t bragging about the Baldwins, Hungerfords and Simons this morning. I was making a point. Do you recall that song that is really a blessing to us for a thousand generations (click here to hear it [it’s the UK version of The Blessing]). (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUtll3mNj5U). Where are you in this generational blessing? We are in the fifth generation. Some of you are in the first, others can trace their godly heritage back 10 generations and further.
Just one other note here about today’s passage. We see the pre-incarnate Christ twice. Once in chapter 14 as the High Priest Melchizedek. Many Bible scholars see Him as the Christ pre-incarnate. And then in chapter 18 we see Jesus coming to visit Abram. But that’s for tomorrow. I guess I bring that up to say that many times we think we have to wait till we get to the New Testament before we see and read about Jesus. Here in the first book of the Old Testament we read about Jesus twice. How wonderful!
Father God, today we start anew in boldly following you so that those that follow us will be influenced to do that same. Whether we are the first or in the tenth generation help us to follow strong after you, not only for our benefit, but for those that come after us. In Jesus strong name we pray, Amen!