The book of Genesis is structured around the phrase, “This is the account of.” Its main divisions begin with, “This is the account of the creation of the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 2:4), “of the descendants of Adam” (5:1), “of Noah and his family” (6:9), “of Terah’s family” (11:27), “of the family of Isaac” (25:19), and “of Jacob and his family” (37:2). These sections focus on the children that each person produced. The account of Terah is the story of Abraham; the account of Jacob is the story of Joseph.
Our true legacy will not be found in jobs completed or titles earned, but in the lives of our children. If they faithfully obey as Abraham did, then we will know the joy of Terah. If they scheme and fight like Jacob and Esau, then we will endure the mixed legacy of Isaac.
The apostle Paul may not have been married, but he cared for his new believers “as a father treats his own children.” He wrote, “We pleaded with you, encouraged you, and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy” (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12). Paul worried that his spiritual children might stumble under persecution. So, “when we could stand it no longer . . . we sent Timothy to visit you” (3:1-2). Paul rejoiced when Timothy returned with “good news about [their] faith and love.” He said, “It gives us new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 3:6,8).
Ultimately, our legacy lies beyond our control. We can’t guarantee that our physical and spiritual children will turn out well, but we can determine the legacy of our own mothers and fathers. Whose “account of” includes you? What does your life say about them? —Mike Wittmer
This is the account of the family of Isaac, the son of Abraham (v.19).
Does your physical and spiritual family know that you love them? How can you help them grow in faith and spiritual maturity?