But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him,
and His righteousness to children’s children,
to those who keep His covenant
and remember to do His commandments.
The Lord has established His throne in the heavens.
and His kingdom rules over all. (Psalm 103:17-19)
All who are Christian parents will long for God’s blessings to be experienced by their children and children’s children. This lovely Psalm conveys to us the Lord’s promise that His steadfast love is available for the generations that come after us.
I would like to share my family’s experience. When grandparents first arrived in Singapore, in December 1920, they heard the gospel for the first time. Their 4th uncle, who had invited them to come over to assist in his burgeoning business, told them the Good News of Jesus. In simple faith, grandparents received Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord. My father was born just three months after grandparents became Christians. They named him “Huat Tuan” (法傳).
This expresses their fervent desire that their son would be God’s faithful servant, to be a preacher of the gospel.
Growing up, Dad was constantly reminded of the significance of his name. Dad committed his life to Jesus during the ministry of Dr John Sung in 1935. This major turning point was the beginning of his faith journey. It was no longer just his parents’ faith. It was a faith he now owned. His life pursuit was to know Christ and to make Him known.
My siblings and I have the joy of growing up in a Christ-centred home. We have been deeply impacted by our parents’ nurture and example. They introduced us to Jesus Christ. They showed us how to live lives anchored on the faithful God. They lovingly provided opportunities for each of us to learn, to observe and to come to a personal decision, so that it was not just our parents’ faith but a faith that each of us can own. We found these intimate thoughts in Dad’s memoir:
“My wife and I realise the weight of our responsibilities as Christian parents. At a very young age, they were taught God’s Word. We were also fully conscious of the importance of setting good examples through our speech and conduct.”
As we recounted our personal testimonies, we realised that each of us dedicated our lives to the Lord during Dad’s ministry when we accompanied him on his mission trips to West Malaysia. These thoughts were penned in his journal:
“During school vacations, it was our usual practice to take one or two of them along on our missionary trips to West Malaysia. Thus, they understood early in life that their parents were serving the Lord. They were taught to serve and fear the Lord.
One outstanding feature of my ministry which has given me tremendous encouragement is that one after another, my children accepted the Lord and dedicated their lives to God’s service during these missionary trips.”
Dad and Mum were concerned about our spiritual lives. They prayed for us. They taught us from God’s Word. We have watched them at close range, observing how they lived out the gospel through the day-to-day challenges faced. Each of us rejoice that we are beneficiaries of God’s wonderful grace. They led us to Jesus. We have come to know the Lord and the availability of His steadfast love. Like them, we have the joy and responsibility of passing this on, to our children and children’s children, so that they too can experience God’s blessings.
It is important to understand that the promise of blessing is captured in that rich word hesed, translated as the Lord’s ‘steadfast love’ (ESV), ‘loving kindness’ (NASB) or ‘loyal love’ (NET). Hesed is one of the Lord’s most treasured characteristics. He desires to extend His steadfast love to the generations that follow after us. It is also clear that the Lord tells us that His promise is “to those who keep His covenant and remember to do His commandments.” We should never be presumptuous that we will inherit God’s promise even when we choose to ignore Him. Neither should we ever make the mistake of focusing on “material blessings” as evidence of His love.
In our desire for God’s promise of generational blessings to flow to our descendants, we must constantly pray for each of our children, that they would come to acknowledge Jesus as their personal Saviour and Lord and own their faith. We must also remember that we have the privilege and responsibility to provide the Christ-centred home environment and to introduce Jesus to them. No doubt, our children will also be watching how we live out the gospel in our lives.
By David LT Yap, Advisory Pastor (YCKC Bulletin 12&13 August 2017)