Generation to Generation: EMBRACING TRANSITION Part 1
by Pastor Mark Banyard
The first thing the Lord keeps saying as my wife Jane and I prayed for Grace Assemblies, (when I say Grace Assemblies, I am talking about the whole work of Jesus here), is that God loves you. He loves you simply because you are His children. It’s an unconditional love, first and foremost. And I believe that word alone should satisfy. That word alone brings healing. That word alone brings release. That word alone brings a revelation of identity, it brings us into a sense of calling, destiny and purpose.
The second word that God has spoken over you is that He affirms you. It’s good to be affirmed. It’s good to know that God loves you unconditionally. God sees your work and He is blessed with your heart in the work. He is blessed with the fruit too. But He looks at the heart and He says this is a good heart and therefore, I am pleased with you and I affirm you.
The third word that just keeps coming to us again and again is that you are in a time of transition. Transitions don’t necessarily happen quickly. They can happen over a whole generation. If you read the Bible, you will see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, so on and so forth. You see Moses, you see David, hundreds, thousands of years go by, and there is an ongoing transition from generation to generation. And I believe that right now, you are in a transition.
The question is, what part of it is God and what part of that is man? That’s always the question. What part of it is God leading His people forward? What part of it is God saying this is where I am taking you? Which part of it is just a good idea? Or which part of it are we resisting because we don’t want to be inconvenienced by packing up our tents and moving once again to a new land? And so I believe that right now, Grace Assemblies is in a holy, righteous transition. That means that whenever it’s God who is bringing about the transition, though it may be hard, though it may be difficult, though it may be challenging, though we may not always like it, that eventually, it results in His holiness and in His righteousness in the body of Christ. It always results in the manifestation of His presence so that tribes, tongues and nations might turn to Jesus.
In Genesis 25, we read about Abraham and his passing and before he passed, verse 5 says, Abraham left everything he owned to Isaac. Now Isaac was already special, he was a child of promise. But yet, there was something else on Isaac’s life. What he became was the one who stepped into Abraham’s shoes after Abraham passed. He was the one that would carry the promise. He would be the one after Abraham has left, to whom God would appear to and speak to and remind him of the promise that He had made to his father, Abraham.
In Genesis 26, all of a sudden, Isaac finds himself in a land of famine and so he went to Abimelech, king of the Philistine in Gerar. Genesis 26:2 says, The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. Now Egypt is a good place to hang out while we are waiting for the famine to come to an end. But God speaks to Isaac and says don’t leave the place, but rather, stay here in a place of famine. And so, when you find yourself in a place of famine and we might call that transition, that seems too hard. When you find yourself in a place of famine you start to come up with ideas of how you should resolve it until God shows up. And sometimes, we almost feel like He spoilt the party. O God not right now, we’ve already made a decision. But God shows up and He said no, no, no, don’t leave this place. If you go to a place that’s fertile and rich and you live out your lives, people would know that I am with you. But if you stay here, in the land of famine and I bless you, then everybody is going to know that your God is a true and living God and there is no other God except me.
3 Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. 4 I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, 5 because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions.” 6 So Isaac stayed in Gerar. (Genesis 26:3-6)
So now we see from verse 3 on, God sweetens the deal. He’s even promising real estate. God says first, I will be with you, and second, I will bless you. It’s one thing having God with you. It’s another thing having God bless you. We assume those are both one and the same. Three, I will give you and your descendants all the land. Four, I will confirm my oath, my promise that I swore to your father Abraham. Five, I will make your descendants increase. Six, I will give them all the lands. Seven, through your offspring all nations of the earth will be blessed. There were a total of seven promises there that God made to Isaac.
So in all these, God is speaking directly now to Isaac. It’s not through Abraham. It’s direct to Isaac. It’s the next generation. The forefathers are forefathers now. Isaac is the new father, so to speak. And God’s speaking directly to him. And He is saying, I’ve just promised you seven things, but it is not because of you, it is because of your father.
… because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions.” (Gen. 26:5)
We need to understand this – God’s plan is revealed to fulfill His promises from generation to generation. He is a cross-generation God. What that means is that, if we think that everything that God has promised is going to be fulfilled in our generation, then we become disappointed when we don’t see those things fulfilled. There are some things that God promises that we do see fulfilled. We do experience the fulfillment of those things. But there are other things of the promise that will not be fulfilled in our generation, therefore our sons and daughters of the next generation will see them fulfilled.
And so, we need to be confident just as the heroes of faith that are mentioned in Hebrews 11. Though we might carry the promise all our days, we may go to be with the Lord in glory without seeing the fulfillment of that promise. Nevertheless, it’s God who promised and He is faithful. The promise will be fulfilled. Amen!