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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Day 115: Spiritual Genealogy

Today's Reading: 1 Chronicles 3-5

In Germany in the years prior to WW 1 it was a popular practice for families to hire genealogists to trace blood lines. The results of this research were then published in a book given to the family. This book was a cherished possession, not only as an historical documentation chronicling past generations but as a safeguard to prove family blood lines were pure from Jewish or "gypsy" blood. In the years prior to WW II, these books became invaluable for those who could prove their pure Aryan heritage.

These books were much like the book we have before us today--The Book of Chronicles. From Adam to Noah, Noah to Abraham, Abraham to Judah, Judah to David, generations are chronicled. Though the reading may seem dull and we tend to skip over the names, some group of people at some time took great efforts to save the history of this blood line.


Because for the Jewish people, the blood line, the BLOOD line, was an extremely important part of their identity. Purity of blood line increased the value of a person in the caste system. Who your father was determined your place in society.

The blood line was also important because as the 2nd commandment states, blessings and curses followed bloodlines. It was understood that the sins of the father played out in curses for 3 or 4 generations following but the blessings of God played out for thousands who loved the LORD. This biblical principle is called “spiritual genealogy.”

In 1866, an Augustinian friar, Gregor Mendel, after studying pea plants discovered what we now know as the beginning work in genetics. By 1925, it was believed that certain codes called ‘chromosomes’ were carried in the blood. These chromosomes determined the physical characteristics of a person. Experiments in the 1940’s and 50’s pointed to DNA which carried genes. And the rest is history. We now believe not only physical but psychological characteristics are carried by these genes.

So, if your parents and grandparents were gorgeous, smart and athletic, most likely you will be gorgeous, smart and athletic. If your parents and grandparents had a tendency toward addictions, certain diseases and psychological weaknesses, most likely you will be plagued with the same.

Blessings and curses.

Today, let's focus on two family lines, the first one is in chapter 5 of 1st Chronicles. This is the family of Reuben, the first born son of Jacob/Israel, the heir apparent of the blessings of his great grandfather, Abraham. Reuben’s line is not listed first in the genealogy. He is listed below his two younger brothers.
Why? Because “he defiled his father’s bed” (he slept with his father’s concubine) and thus his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph the son of Israel. Reuben’s lust became his idol that he put before the worship of, love of and obedience to God.
He lost the blessing to the thousands that followed him and his children received the cursing for 3 and 4 generations after him.

One chapter earlier, 1 Chronicles 4:9-10, we find these words in the midst of a long line of names:

Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, "I gave birth to him in pain." Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, "Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." And God granted his request.

So what’s going on here?

A woman had a horrible, long and painful labor. In her agony, she cursed her child, naming him “sorrow,” or in our language, “pain in the rear." Every time this child was called by name, he heard the curse upon him.

Perhaps some of you know the life story of Jabez in your own lives. Perhaps you were called “stupid” or “ugly” or “worthless.” What is amazing about the prayer of Jabez is not the fact that in 2000, Bruce Wilkinson “discovered it” and millions of people were encouraged to “enlarge their territory” by praying this prayer like a mantra.

What is amazing about the prayer of Jabez is that from Jabez, a descendant of Judah and an ancestor of one named Jesus of Nazareth, we learn how to break the cycle of the generation curses. We call upon God and ask for the blessing. Generational curses can be broken!

When Jesus called God, Father, Jesus was referencing at some level his inheritance his identity, his heritage of blessing, his blood line. The reason the blood of Jesus is so important is not just the sacrificial blood which is so often emphasized, but the blessing aspect of the bloodline of Jesus. As we are adopted into the family of God, we become heirs of a new bloodline of blessing. As we claim Jesus as our brother and God as our Father, the curses of our physical state are broken and replaced with the blessings of our new spiritual genealogy.

Thus, as we are plagued with our own generational curses, we can recognize them and give them over to our heavenly Father in the name of Jesus and break the curse and walk into freedom.

So here's the truth.

In all of our our backgrounds each one of us probably has some generational curses and blessings.

Here's more truth.

Nothing is too horrible that the blood of blessing of our brother Jesus and the cup of blessing of our Heavenly Father cannot break. The only horrible thing is the pride that would keep it hidden.

So start today on your spiritual genealogy. Embrace the blessing with gratitude and ask God to break the curses. Let God set you free and clear out the generational curses so that your descendants might live in freedom also.

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