The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”  Exodus 34:6-7

Last weekend I was at a family funeral.  The details are very significant but I confess I am not yet ready to write about those.  Perhaps they will be a topic for a future devotional.  What I can say is that I had an opportunity to ponder the nature of blessing in a new and important way.

We all know that when a business builds a new building or establishes a new product, it can inure not just to the benefit of the current shareholders and employees but to future ones as well.  I occupy an office that was built before I had ever heard of my university.  I once occupied an office that was built before I was born.

In the same way, when the Lord pours out His blessings on those who are willing to receive them, they can inure to future generations.  I have been blessed through gifts granted to my parents, my grandparents, and my great grandparents.  Likewise, when I receive a blessing from God now, I can pass on that blessing to my children and grandchildren.

Sadly, it can also work in reverse.  When I refuse an offering from God, I am refusing that blessing not just for myself, but possibly for many generations to follow.  If I refuse to grow in humility, to learn generosity, or to forgive freely, those same gifts may well be denied to those who follow me.  After all, they learn what I know, and I only know what the Lord has granted me to know.

Let us take seriously our place in history my friends.  It is one thing to harm our own futures by ignoring God’s call to justice or turning away from His requirement to love the least.  It is a much more significant act to withhold those same gifts from the many who may come after us.