“My son, I cannot pray to the God of my father but you can. Whenever you’re in any trouble, you can ask the God of your father to help you. And He will.”
A few years ago while I was having a casual conversation with my Dad, something happened. I recall we were talking on several issues bothering on the gospel and governance when he said something I found and still find quite profound. It made me think deeply about the consequences our sacrifice can have on our offsprings.
He made the above sentence for some reasons: his father (my grandfather) didn’t know God but served the traditional gods of the land. My father, on the contrary, had the privilege to know God as a young man and has since his salvation experience walked with God. So, I can rightly pray to the God of my biological father. And I make bold to say that some extraordinary favours I have received can be traced to my father’s sacrifice in giving and selflessness. The generation of the righteous is blessed (Psalm 112:2).
Description of sacrifice
According to the American Heritage dictionary, sacrifice is defined as forfeiture of something highly valued for the sake of one considered to have a greater value or claim. Examples: A student who stays up late or who wakes up early to study is sacrificing his sleep/leisure hours for success; a professional who defies the rain and snow to go to the office is sacrificing for career advancement; spending huge sum of money for conferences or gadgets needed for your work is sacrificing for yields in the future; refusing to eat sugar, much salt, fatty foods, drink cola, hard drugs, smoke but rather going out always for physical exercise is sacrificing for good health; praying and fasting even with tight schedules, forgiving, loving, sexual purity etc is sacrificing for spiritual health and eternal abode with God.
We shall divide the discourse into 2 parts:
1. My father’s sacrifice and its blessings.
2. How the child can partake in the blessings of his father’s sacrifice.
My father’s sacrifice and its blessings
We are Christians because of the greatest sacrifice ever made – the death of a sinless man, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (John 15:13; Matthew 27:15 -). This single sacrifice brought all kinds of blessings to us, such as salvation from sin and satan, health, wealth, divine guidance, wisdom, knowledge, promotions, inspiration, counsel, divine providence etc (Philippians 2:10; 1 Peter 1:3; Ephesians 1:3; 1 Timothy 6:17; Hebrews 2:14; 2 Corinthians 8:9; John 3:16)
Leaving his father’s house: Genesis 12: 1 – this is sacrifice and a show of trust in what God has promised Him. Sometimes your blessing is outside your comfort zone (where your future seems certain). God might be wanting to take you away from what is good to what is best. And how much you believe, and trust is how much you’ll experience.
Sacrificing his comfort and that of his family, he went with Lot. Gen. 12:5 – Abraham wasn’t under obligation to take Lot with him.
He also sacrificed for peace to reign between him and Lot’s herders and the blessing was unquantifiable. Gen. 13:5-
He also was still the one pleading for Lot’s deliverance. Gen. 18:16-33. Don’t allow people’s attitude toward you (to) make you turn your back on those who need you. Don’t allow the ungrateful attitude of one (to) cause you to close your bowel of mercy to many.
Abraham entertained angels, sacrificing his animals to entertain strangers who turned out to be God and his angels. In that passage, his wife received Isaac, God’s secrets were exposed to him and he secured Lot’s preservation. Gen. 18:1-15.
The peak of Abraham’s sacrificial attitude was his willingness to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Absolute trust and confidence in God was a recurring decimal in Abraham’s life. He believed that God that gave him Isaac, can raise Isaac from death or give him another son; God was bound to fulfil His promise of trans-generational fatherhood and blessing Gen. 22: 1 -18; 17:1-14.
The blessings on his children
Divine favour and guidance on Isaac marriage Gen. 26:24; blessings on Jacob (the livestock yielded as he desired and God’s defence. Gen 30:31-43); blessings on Joseph (safety, deliverance from the pit, interpreting dreams, enthroned, divine wisdom, guided into destiny Gen. 41: 1- 57); blessings on Israel (deliverances, safety, provision till date – Genesis 15:13, Isaiah 51:2. Acts 7:6)
David sacrificed and Solomon enjoyed it. 1 Kings 11:9-13, 34; 2Sam. 7:1-
Rahab sacrificed her safety to save her family from decimation. Joshua 2: 1- 24.
Ruth’s sacrifice earned her generation a place in the lineage of the Saviour. Ruth 1:16
Zechariah sacrificed and John came forth. Luke 1:5-11
Timothy enjoyed the blessings of his mother and grandmother’s sacrifice.
How the Child can Partake in the blessings of his father’s sacrifice
Every child has a right to claim the rewards of his father’s sacrifice; they could be physical or spiritual parents or blessings accruing to us as children of God. You stand to enjoy the blessings of their sacrifices, it’s your right.
However, while you can build on your father’s success, you can’t rule on it; you must earn your own trust, respect, loyalty. Proverbs 12:27. You can inherit the material worth of your parents but not their wealth of knowledge, expertise, respect and character. Those must be built and earned.
Rehoboam thought that his father’s wisdom and loyalty automatically transfers to him just like the kingship crown, but he received the shock of his life and the kingdom was divided. 1 Kings 12:16-17.
Samuel sacrificed, and his sons didn’t enjoy it. 1 Samuel 8:1-5. Same as Eli in 1 Samuel 2:27–36.
So, there are a few things you must do to enjoy these blessings as the child who parents have sacrificed for.
We’ll take a quick look at two ways, as evidenced in Genesis 49:26-27.
You must be separate from the world. Genesis 49:26
Joseph got those blessing because he was separated from his brethren’s lifestyle. You must be separate in other to have a higher blessing than your progenitors. Gen. 49:26; Romans 12:2; 1 Corinthians 15:33; 1 Peter 2:9. You can’t enjoy the righteous blessings of your righteous father while remaining unrighteous. We see in the book of Judges in the Bible where God would lift His protection and defence over Israel, allowing the enemies to ransack their land (Judges 2:7- 21:1-25). The benefits of the sacrifice of the fathers will be upon their children if they follow Him.
You must devour in the morning. Genesis 49:27
Benjamin was described as a wolf that shall devour in the morning and divide the spoil at night. If you don’t devour in the morning you’ll have nothing to share at night. You need to toil now that you’re young (morning), so you can have plenty when old age (night) comes. There are only a few things that are as bad as having nothing to eat in your old age when you can’t toil anymore.
If you’ve ever been hungry at night, you’ll know how painful it can be. In the morning you can fill your belly with water, in the afternoon you can go on a stroll. But at night you can go nowhere. It is you, the bed and the ceiling. Even if you attempt to sleep, you’ll be woken up by hunger and painful thoughts will hold you till morning.
The ants are a people without kings and counsellors, yet they gather their food in the summer (morning) so there will be meals in winter (night). Proverbs 6:6-11. Dynasties are built on sacrifice. The spiritual and physical sacrifices you make today will benefit your offspring tomorrow.
Your parents may not have led the best of lives for you to lay claim on God’s promise to them, but you can do that for your kids. Don’t act like Ahab who wasn’t bothered about his generation. 1 Kings 21:27-29.
In all remember that the whole of man is to serve God (Ecclesiastes 12:13). All our physical accomplishments are temporal but life sacrificed for God gives a permanent, eternal reward. Acts 13: 36; Ecclesiastes 12: 1-5; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.
Wishing you a blessed day; you may be at the stage where everything looks like a blighted ovum. Don’t worry, you’re pregnant. And like Isaiah 66: 7-9, you’ll soon deliver.