Tag Archives: offspring

10. Offspring, in-laws, torches: Heritage of faith

Pass the torch of a spiritual heritage of faith. Intercede in prayer for future in-laws and offspring. Give adult married children the right to make mistakes, learn and grow together.

A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife (Genesis 2:24).

Interdependent Relationships

When a baby is inside its mother’s womb, that child is one flesh with its mother. At birth, the baby sucks into its lungs the first breath of air. The child experiences the first taste of independence. From that time on, the child is being prepared for that day when he or she will make decisions independently as an adult. At marriage, a person enters into an interdependent relationship, and becomes one flesh with another person again. This unit is established by God. It is sacred.

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).

From then on, when we deal with our child, we are dealing with part of a unit. Our child’s relationship with his or her marriage partner is more important than their relationship with us.

Indisputable Choices

In many situations, it may be best not to give advice unless our adult children seek it from us. When we see our adult children going astray we may wish to warn them, but certainly we should never nag. Most will not resent our occasional gentle advice given in a spirit of love, if we then back off. Our children must have room to learn from their own mistakes. We cannot smother them. Remember, we may not know all the facts. Our children receive input and advice from many sources, and ours is only one of those sources.

When our child (or our child’s marriage partner) comes to us for advice on how to handle problems with each other, we should not respond by putting down the other partner. Instead, our response should be, “How would Jesus handle this? What does God want you to do in this circumstance?” This is the most important consideration in any marriage. They cannot change their marriage partner. They can only change themselves. As we help our children search for God’s will for themselves in their marriage relationship, we are guiding them toward maturity.

Our married children have the right to make plans and decisions together with each other, apart from us or against our advice. They have the right to make mistakes. They have the right to be immature, and to learn and grow together.

Intercessory Prayer

Just as God planned and made each of us inside our mother’s womb (Psalm 139, below), he plans and makes the person who will be our child’s mate. When two individuals are joined in marriage, two unique personalities are merged into one unit.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

–Psalm 139:13-16

While we are raising our children, God is also preparing the child who will someday be knit together with our child in the union of marriage. What a privilege to pray for that child as we raise and pray for our own child and wait on God to bring his plan to pass! We don’t know who that child is, but our heavenly father knows. A mother carries a child inside her body for nine months, and she feels a special bond when that child finally arrives into the world. When a mother prays for her child’s mate during the growing up years of her child, she also feels a special bond when she finally meets this person for whom she has been praying. What a terrific way to start an in-law relationship!

Indestructible Love (Naomi)

Naomi had a right relationship with her daughters-in-law. That story starts like this:

Now Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.

When she heard in Moab that the LORD had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, Naomi and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the LORD show kindness to you, as you have shown to your dead and to me.”

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.”

–Ruth 1:3-6,16-17

Naomi must have had many long talks with her daughters-in-law about life, and no doubt she revealed to them by word and action the God she served. The story of Ruth and Naomi is the classic example of the love that can exist between a mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law. This love was made possible because Naomi led Ruth to know and love her God.

So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. Then he went to her, and the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”

Then Naomi took the child, laid him in her lap and cared for him. The women living there said, “Naomi has a son.” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.

–Ruth 4:13-17

Indelible Descendancy

The baby born to Naomi’s daughter-in-law Ruth was the grandfather of King David, the royal line through which Jesus was born. It all started with Naomi and her obedience to God.

Application

Down through the ages the story of God’s love must continue to be told. We are instructed to tell this story to our offspring as long as the earth shall stand.

“A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.”

“The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off — for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

“Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation.”

–Proverbs 13:2; Acts 2:39; Joel 1:3

Begin preparing a spiritual inheritance for your children today. Teach them their awesome responsibility to carry the torch to their offspring. What a shame it would be to leave our descendants an inheritance of this world’s wealth and fail to leave them the most important treasure of all. What a privilege to pray for those who come after us: that God would grant that none would be born unto us that will not choose to serve our God; and that each one who comes after us would light the torch for the next generation!

Ask God to lead you and determine to be obedient to his direction in rearing your children.

Thoughts to Remember

We have the privilege and responsibility to pray for our child’s future mate. Our children deserve the right to make and learn from their own mistakes. We have yet to see what God will do through our children, our sons and daughters-in-law, and our grandchildren, and great-grandchildren on down, if we will be obedient to God.

Question for Discussion

  • How should I prepare for (or deal with) daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, and grandchildren?

Next

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

Alone in Moab

Naomi may have grieved to leave God’s promised land, but she followed her husband to the heathen Moab. As a result, she became great-grandmother of King David, an ancestor of Christ.

“The women living there said, ‘Naomi has a son'” (Ruth 4:17).

God’s Plan for Women

Today many women are finding themselves alone, rejected and vulnerable. The Women’s Libbers of the 1960’s will tell you that we’ve made great progress in correcting this. But Women’s Lib has done more to destroy the true liberation of women than anything else in history. God says:

“Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God” (1 Corinthians 11:3)

God’s desire is for women to be very important members of society. He has provided an especially protected position for us. God desires that women be productive, but also esteemed highly by their husbands, fathers, and other male kinsmen/protectors:

“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers” (1 Peter 3:7)

Man may fail to do this. He may leave a woman vulnerable, or even abuse her himself. But, oh, the protection a woman of God has at this time! No longer is she dependent on the mercy or care of the man. If she has been faithful to follow God in submission to the authority he has placed over her, God himself will step in to intervene for the woman who is betrayed, rejected, deserted, or abused.

God intends her to be cherished and protected. As long as she follows him in faithful obedience, he will move heaven and earth if necessary to be her provider and sustainer. He will cherish her and protect her in his own watch care and love.

Rachel

“Jacob lay with Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah. And he worked for Laban another seven years” (Genesis 29:30).

Ladies, would you choose to be Rachel or Leah? Any woman would chose to be Rachel, the most loved wife. But Look what God did for Leah. In light of eternity, he gave her the far better position!

When the LORD saw that Leah was not loved, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.

Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “It is because the LORD has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.”

She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Because the LORD heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too.” So she named him Simeon.

Again she conceived, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” So he was named Levi.

She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “This time I will praise the LORD.” So she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children

–Genesis 29:31-35.

When Leah lived, a woman without a man was basically outcast and helpless. To have male sons secured a woman’s future. Without male sons, she had little protection or hope in society if her husband died.

Leah’s child Ruben was Jacob’s firstborn son. Rachel’s womb was barren for the first few years. God enabled Leah to have the first sons. Why? Verse 31 indicates God saw her plight and intervened.

God chose Leah’s son Levi as priest to for special communication between God and the people. All the priestly line, the Levites, were offspring of her son Levi.

By the time Judah came, God had used her faithfulness and obedience to grow her in peace regardless of her second-rate position in her home. She was able to say with joy, “This time I will praise the Lord.”

The most glorious blessing of all, one that every Hebrew woman craved, was given to Leah, not to Rachel. Leah’s son Judah is the father of the tribe from which Jesus, God’s son, would come!

If you are a despised, rejected, lonely woman remember: Jesus especially looks after the woman whose plight is this, if she honors him and is obedient to his will. He made woman to be protected. He himself will be her special protector and will cherish her with tenderness when the man she is in submission to fails to provide that!

Naomi

“In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. The man’s name was Elimelech, his wife’s name Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there” (Ruth 1:1-2).

Naomi was one of God’s chosen people. Suddenly she found herself alone in Moab.

There is no evidence from Scripture that God told Elimelech to leave the promised land and go the the heathen land of Moab. No, God had promised the children of Israel that he would supply all their needs in the land of promise that he had given them.

Apparently Elimelech decided that God needed some help in this. When the famine came, instead of trusting the promise of God, he moved his family to a heathen land for sustenance.

Naomi went with her husband. She was submissive to her husband’s leadership. Possibly her own heart told her this was not the best solution. Her tender womanly spirit may have made her grieve at leaving God’s promised land to go to a heathen world. But she was obedient to God’s command to follow her husband’s leadership.

It is very possible that Elimelech went to Moab in disobedience to God and that Ruth went there in obedience to God.

What did she get for her obedience? Her husband and sons died and left her totally alone in a heathen land. She had no means of support, no family except these two heathen daughters-in-law that her sons had married. Anyone not of the chosen race of Isarel was considered heathen. But were her daughters-in-law really heathen?

Obviously they both cherished their mother-in-law. Naomi must have shared with these two women about God and the promised Messiah. Ruth trusted in this promise. She trusted enough to leave her home and country and return to the land of promise with Naomi.

God honored Ruth’s faith by providing a husband for her. He provided a son to “heathen” Ruth, a son who was ancestor to King David, and ultimately to the Messiah himself!

What happened to Naomi who was left alone in Moab because of her trust in and submission to God?

The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel!

He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”

Then Naomi took the child, laid him in her lap and cared for him.

The women living there said, “Naomi has a son.” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.

— Ruth 4:14-17

The child was not even a blood relative of Naomi: “Now Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side, from the clan of Elimelech, a man of standing, whose name was Boaz” (Ruth 2:1).

Ruth was her daughter-in-law from Moab. Boaz, the one Ruth married and father of their son Obed, was a relative of Naomi’s husband Elimelech.

Yet the Bible says the women proclaimed: “Naomi has a son.”

In God’s eyes Naomi has a son too, just as if he were from her own blood line. God overruled the blood line to bestow upon Naomi the honor of being considered the great-grandmother of King David and an ancestor of Jesus himself!

What About You?

Are you alone in Moab? If you went there of your own choosing, Jesus bids you to turn, come back to his promised land. But if you followed God to Moab, you can rejoice. You are not rejected. Do not be afraid. Trust in God, and he will bring you all the way home.

“I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, `You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:9-10).

Prayer

Thank you, Jesus, that we have such a great and mighty promise, and that as women we are so loved and cherished and protected that you provided this special place of watch care near your heart.

Thank you that you will never leave us vulnerable as long as our hope is in you.

Thank you for the promises from your word Lord and the stories in the Bible of God’s faithful women.

We ask for grace, Lord, to be God’s faithful women that will live for you in all circumstances and we thank you that you will bring us safely all the way.

Amen.

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted