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Contemplate how you should respond to your family heritage

Most people think of inheritance as the money and tangible items that are given to us from past generations. But there is a more important treasure that is passed down through generations and that is a family heritage. There are several life stories in the Bible that illustrate the value of heritage.

In I Kings 21:2,3 is an accounting of Israel's wicked king Ahab trying to buy a piece of land next to his palace. He wanted to turn a vineyard that was there into a vegetable garden for his kitchens. But Naboth, the owner of the vineyard, wouldn't sell even though the king offered a larger piece of land for it or a good sum of money. The queen, Jezebel, had Naboth and his sons killed and took the land anyway so what was the point?

Naboth was of the tribe of Manasseh. This was one of the sons of Joseph. His tribe had split when the Israelites first went into the land of Canaan. One half stayed on the wrong side of the Jordan river staying in God's permissive will and ending up quickly falling both spiritually and physically to enemies. Naboth was from the half of Manasseh that went fully into God's will and purpose for them on the west side of the Jordan. Therefore Naboth's land was a symbol to him of the heritage of God's righteous will and he stayed strong in that though it cost him his life. His heritage was more important to him than the land.

In Numbers 36:7-9 there were some sisters who came to Moses about their father's inheritance. Land passed to the boys of the family not the girls at that time and they had no brothers. They made their argument that if they couldn't inherit then their father's heritage would go to another family. Moses judged in their favor and they inherited their father's land but with a stipulation that they had to marry within their tribe so that the tribe wouldn't lose the land to another tribe when they married.

The third story is from Jeremiah 35:6-19 where the prophet Jeremiah insisted (under God's instructions) that a family called the Rechabites drink wine. They refused because their long gone forefather had left instructions for all of the family generations not to drink wine and they stuck to it. God used their faithfulness to their heritage to rebuke Israel for being unfaithful to Him and His commands.

Some of the lessons we can learn from these stories are:

  1. Heritage is not trivial. Every family has one and the members of the family are expected to pay attention to it. A Jew born into the Levite tribe was expected to serve as priest for some part of his life. God was his inheritance as stated by the Most High to them.

  2. God sets boundaries in all of Creation including human lives. Imagine the chaos if the planets crossed boundaries in their rotation. His boundaries are not restrictive they are protective and directional.

  3. Every human asks the question "Why am I here on this earth?" Looking at the generational heritage of your family can be a tool to answer that question.

  4. Sometimes a family has a dysfunctional or even evil heritage. Now what do I do? First look to generations farther back and see if you can find forefathers of integrity you can support. Or ask the Holy Spirit what heritage He wants you to establish for further generations. Carefully teach the how's and whys to your children so they have a reason to honor and carry it on and not just as tradition. It is the Holy Spirit's job to guide you into all truth and He does His job well if you will follow His guidance.

  5. Remember, the only know-it-all is God. It's called Omniscient. He sees around the corners where we can't. And He's faithful to be with you and support you. Satan, on the other hand, is like a coyote which calls seductively to a pet dog. Then the pack attacks and eats the dog that comes.

  6. So I would encourage you to take some time to contemplate your family heritage and seek God's guidance on how He expects your life to move in response to it.

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