A Thousand Generations

How often are we disappointed when we don’t see our big dreams completed, the ones we think we’ve been put on this earth to accomplish?

Our faith forefathers and mothers can probably relate.

We read about them in Hebrews 11. Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah — all giants in the faith department — watched many impossible things come to pass yet, “all died in faith, not having received the promises,” according to verse 13. They saw them “afar off were assured of them, embraced them,” but died before the promises arrived.

Wait a minute. I thought God’s word never returns to Him void, but accomplishes what He sent it to do.[1]

Sometimes our dreams are too big to finish in one generation. We need someone to pick up the baton when we lay it down and carry it toward completion. Each of the patriarchs in Hebrews 11 laid a foundation for their descendants. Each unfinished dream was picked up by someone who carried it farther than his or her ancestors were able to take it.

Remember this from John 4:37–38? “For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.”

God is not limited by time

We so often think in terms of God’s plan for our lives as beginning with our birth and ending at our death. God, however, thinks outside of time. He began planning for our destiny before we were born. Something was laid down before us — some work, some calling, some promise to those who came before. We step onto a path carved out by others. We build on a foundation already laid down. We plant crops on a field plowed by someone else. All to keep the promises given to previous generations and move them toward completion.

God doesn’t forget His promises. “Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments.”[2]

To a thousand generations. If a generation is twenty years, that’s 20,000 years!

You may not be aware of a spiritual heritage in your family line, but if you had an ancestor hundreds of years ago to whom God promised holy descendants — offspring who would follow hard after the Lord — you may be part of the answer to his or her prayer many generations later.

If we continue reading in Hebrews 11, we hear another litany of faith examples followed by this statement. “And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.”[3]

Did you catch that? If God wants to include us in the completion of the patriarchs’ promises, maybe He wants to include some of our descendants in the completion of ours.

Let’s not lose faith, then. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.”[4] The vision may yet be for an appointed time. “At the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”[5]

[1] Isaiah 55:11

[2] Deuteronomy 7:9 NKJV

[3] Hebrews 11:39–40 NKJV

[4] 2 Peter 3:9 NIV

[5] Habakkuk 2:3 NKJV

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10 replies added

  1. Jeanne Doyon May 3, 2017 Reply

    I love this, Terry. We are part of God’s story–a big movie-event that takes many players over time. How much this speaks to “well done, good and faithful servant” when we have done our part–completed the work God has given us to do. It takes the pressure off of us to do it all, be it all, etc. and instead gives us His charge to be faithful with our bit.

    • Terry May 3, 2017 Reply

      Isn’t that a relief, Jeanne. He will indeed complete that good work He began. Even if it takes a few generations to accomplish. What a God. Thanks for commenting.

  2. Sherrie Giddens May 4, 2017 Reply

    Deep thoughts here. I truly believe that when God is our partner, our leader, and our focus, so much can be accomplished in our lives.

    • Terry May 4, 2017 Reply

      Thanks, Sherrie. I appreciate your comment. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

  3. Heather Bock May 5, 2017 Reply

    I love this eternal perspective, seeing beyond our own small lives. Great thoughts!

    • Terry May 6, 2017 Reply

      Thanks for posting a comment, Heather. I’m so glad this resonated with you.

  4. Paige Snedeker May 8, 2017 Reply

    So thankful that God is faithful to His promises to us… I would be lost without Him!

    • Terry May 9, 2017 Reply

      Same here, Paige. His faithfulness steadies my heart when the world sets my mind to spinning. Thanks for stopping by to read and comment.

  5. Laurienne Crews May 9, 2017 Reply

    Such a good reminder that God is so much bigger than us. Thank you.

    • Terry May 10, 2017 Reply

      So glad this blessed you, Laurienne. Thanks for taking time to comment.

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