Monday, February 19, 2007

Establishing a heritage: Dt 3:28

“But charge Joshua and encourage him and strengthen him, for he shall go across at the head of this people, and he will give them as an inheritance the land which you will see.” (Deuteronomy 3:28)

When God began to initiate this odyssey for the people of Israel, He spoke directly to Moses and commanded him regarding the part he was to play in the liberation of the nation of Israel. “When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, ‘Moses, Moses!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ The Lord said, ‘I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings. Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.’” (Exodus 3:4, 7, 10) And when Moses began to question his calling and mission, God again spoke to him, this time to encourage him. “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for under compulsion he will let them go, and under compulsion he will drive them out of his land. Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, “I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.”’” (Exodus 6:1, 6) But now, with the change in leadership immanent, instead of speaking directly to Joshua, God tells Moses to command him and to strengthen and encourage him for his upcoming mission. Why did God chose to speak directly to Moses but not Joshua? Why did God chose to personally commission Moses while Joshua’s commission was relayed through Moses? I think in part it was because God wanted to establish a heritage in Joshua and his family after him.

I am extremely blessed to have inherited a Christian heritage that goes back many generations. My parents were Christians when they got married and when my siblings and I were little they fasted and prayed for us often. My grandparents were Christians when they got married and my grandfather, who is still alive and has served God for more than seven decades and who is the patriarch over a family that numbers nearly one hundred souls, still will call the family to prayer when he senses a pending attack from the enemy over the family. My great-grand parents were also Christians and my great-grand father was a pastor over several churches in southern California. And so it goes for many generations. I am convinced that much of what I have received in my relationship with God is a direct result of the cumulative blessings of God passed down from generation to generation. Consider what God had to say about Himself, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.” (Exodus 34:6-7) Notice that God’s judgment extends only to the third or fourth generation while His loving kindness extends for thousands of generations! It is my sincere belief that with each successive generation, that blessing is compounded and grows to the benefit of its recipients.

Unfortunately, many Christians today come into the kingdom of God without the benefit of a lengthy spiritual heritage. For some newly saved Christians, they may even be the first in their family line, even going back many generations, to receive Jesus Christ. However, regardless of whether or not we are blessed with a multi-generational spiritual heritage, it is never too late to start one. I believe that one reason that God told Moses to charge and encourage Joshua was that God was creating a spiritual heritage for Joshua. Not only did Joshua inherit spiritually from Moses, but later on we see that same spiritual heritage being passed on to his descendents. “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15) It was no longer just Joshua who was serving the Lord, now it was Joshua and his house. The spiritual inheritance he received from Moses what now being passed down to his children.

Whether or not you received a spiritual heritage from your family line, you can start one right now; a heritage that can be passed down to, first your children, but also to others within the Body of Christ. By investing one-on-one in the lives of other believers, we can give them the benefit of a spiritual heritage; we can share with them the blessings we have received from the Lord. For many of us, this may be the call of God on our lives; that, like Moses, we too might charge others with following God’s calling on their lives and to provide strength and encouragement as we see them stepping out into their life with God. What a blessing to be able to pass on to a new generation that which we have received from the Lord.

David Robison


  1. Wonderful post. I am the second in my famiy to accept Christ. My mother is the patriarch. I married unevenly yoked, and after 20 years of just loving her, she came to Christ, and the last two years of our marriage have been wonderful. Now with this wise Christian woman by my side, there is nothing that we can't accomplish through God - Blessings.

  2. I am a relatively new Christian. I have a sister who is in Christ and belongs to a local evangelical congregation. At the moment, I am studying the Bible on my own.

    Very good post.