The testimony of Jonathan Edward’s descendents reveals the wonder of God’s blessing on a family. Back in 1874 Richard L. Dugdale studied the descendents of two men, “Max Juke” of New York and Jonathan Edwards of Massachusetts. Juke was a reprobate, while Edwards was a man of devout faith. The contrast in their descendents is staggering. The Juke lineage produced an abundance of alcoholics, prostitutes, convicts and murderers. The Edwards lineage produced an abundance of ministers, authors, college professors and leaders.
Both of these families display a “destiny”. So the short answer to the question, “Does Your Family Have Destiny?” is a resounding “YES!” For better or worse your family carries a destiny that impacts you and your children. That’s why the book, FAMILY HORIZONS – Creating Families of Destiny, explores the territory of inherited blessings and curses. It would be vain for a member of the Juke family to pretend they were descended from Jonathan Edwards. The grace and blessing on the Edwards family was not inherent in the name, but in the family lineage itself.
Edwards and Juke had vastly different values. Max Juke was described as jolly and companionable, but also as a hard drinker and averse to steady toil. Dugdale noted that he had some children which were “almost certainly illegitimate”. Jonathan Edwards, on the other hand, was a god-fearing man who believed in self-discipline. The outcome of their family histories is telling.
The Juke family line produced many descendents who engaged in immoral activity, such as prostitution, theft and murder. Dugdale noted that of 540 blood descendents of the family more than half of the females were “harlots”, meaning they were sexually promiscuous. The “successful” members of the family were farmers and tradesmen.
The Edwards family, on the other hand, produced a lineage of men and women who excelled both morally and in human endeavour. The list includes college presidents and professors, physicians, army and navy officers, authors, clergy, missionaries and theological professors, mayors, congressmen and even a vice president of the United States
Can we put this distinction down to DNA? Is the difference made from biological limitations? The answer has to be a resounding “No!” The inclination to come short of God’s standards is not a biological issue. If it was, then God would have no right to judge us for fulfilling our biological design. It is a moral issue, and so it is anchored in human responses from the human heart.
Can we put the distinction down to environment? Is the difference made from social pressures? The answer again has to be a resounding “No!” If society alone was responsible for man’s lesser actions then again man would be exempt from God’s judgement. The influence of those around us can be profound and we need to be alert to its power. Solomon warns against keeping company with an angry person, because we can learn to be angry too (Proverbs 22:24,25). However, many people have resisted the evil influences around them and pressed in for better things, or maintained their character, such as Lot did in Sodom. This does not seem to be the case in the Juke lineage.
The Bible indicates that there is a SPIRITUAL DIMENSION to family destiny. Despite physical limitations and social influences divine blessing or curse will prevail. The book of Psalms assures us that the offspring of the righteous will be blessed.
Psalm 112:1,2 “Praise the LORD. Blessed is the man that fears the LORD, that delights greatly in his commandments. His seed will be mighty on earth: the generation of the upright will be blessed.”
Psalm 25:12,13 “What man is he that fears the LORD? Him will he teach in the way that he shall choose. His soul will dwell at ease; and his seed will inherit the earth.”
The descendants of evil people will face negative spiritual consequences.
Psalm 37:28 “For the LORD loves judgment, and forsakes not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked will be cut off.”
Psalm 109:10 “Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places.”
A problem we face in churches today is that the word “curse” has become almost a bogey in itself. I have been told by my Chinese friends that the Chinese avoid saying the word “curse” for fear that it will attract negative results. God is not superstitious about curses and His children need not be either. God plainly declares that there are curses on people who do the wrong thing and blessings on those who do right.
Jeremiah 17:5 “Thus says the LORD; Cursed is the man that trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departs from the LORD. “
Jeremiah 17:7 “Blessed is the man that trusts in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.”
Deuteronomy 11:26 “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse”
The examples given us in the Edwards and Juke family lines suggest that one family was living under curses and the other under God’s blessing. The “Destiny” of each family was directly impacted by that spiritual dimension. There are significant Biblical examples, notably Eli’s family line and the lineage of Gehazi.
In the book, FAMILY HORIZONS, the examples of blessing and curse are explored in detail. But more than that, the keys to turning curses into blessings are investigated. There is no reason to run away from our curses, but every good reason to understand them and deal with them, so we pass to our children a much better “Destiny”.