If you’ve ever read the books of I and II Kings or I and II Chronicles, you’re familiar with this concept: “he did evil/or good in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of his fathers.”
Every one of us had a father. Now, your dad might have been like mine (still married to my mom after 53 years, and a man that loves Jesus), or your dad might have not been around at all. I realize that the spectrum of dads, especially in today’s world, is quite vast. But my point is, we all had a dad at some point, even if we never knew him.
There’s a stream of thought out there that would tell you that you’re going to end up just the way your dad did. If he was a good man, hard worker, church-goer, then that’s probably how you’ll be. If he was a drug-dealer, home-wrecker, jerk, then….sorry, but you’re going to go down the same path.
Well, I’m here to tell you, according to the Word of God, it doesn’t matter which way your dad walked. What matters is this: are you going to follow him?
You see, the books of I and II Kings and Chronicles are full of the idea of “he walked in the ways of his father.” Now, depending on how the previous king loved God or not, that could be a good or bad thing. Usually, it was bad. But there were times when the craziest thing happened. You see, there would be an evil king, say like Abijah (whose dad was not the finest example), who did evil in the sight of the Lord. You’d think, if you watched much TV these days, that his son would be a loser too. You’d be wrong. His son was Asa, of whom it was written “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.”
Evil dad, godly son. And of course it goes the other way, too. Godly dad, evil son. My point is this: in all these cases, these sons were not on a predetermined course because of their genetics. They each had to choose Who they would serve. As Moses charged all the people of Israel, the king was no different:
“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.” Deuteronomy 30:19
We all have a choice to make. I can’t rely on the fact that my dad loved God and think that that somehow makes me love Him, and be loved by Him. I had to decide for myself. And so do you.
That picture above is one of my favorites. It’s when my oldest daughter was just learning to walk. I could help her, but eventually, she learned to do it on her own. I can tell her where not to walk, and where to walk, but she now decides for herself. I pray that I teach her well, and that she’ll decide to follow hard after Jesus, but I can’t make her. And I can’t make you.
Remember: you don’t have to walk in the ways of your fathers. But you can.