God Tells Long Stories

by APC on March 04, 2015
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
God Tells Long Stories


The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation (Numbers 14:18, KJV).

Scripture tells us the sins of fathers can fall on third and fourth generations. God warns that when a generation sees the sins of their elders, they are affected in many ways. The current generation may feel these sins are acceptable in God’s eyes and may start living a lifestyle that is displeasing to the Lord. If a generation continues in the sins of previous generations, the effects of the sin(s) can be passed down to generations upon generations.

However, Numbers 14:18 does not mean that we today are accountable for the sins of our fathers and the generations before us. Exodus 20:6 says, “And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments” (KJV). Today, if we decide to break the cycles of spiritual failures of our ancestors and honor the commandments of the Lord, our future generations will be blessed! What we choose to do today in our walk with God can impact many lives—and people’s stories—down the road.

Saul’s Long Story

Saul was the first king of Israel and was given a command by the prophet Samuel to destroy everything of the Amalekites and to kill king Agag (I Samuel 15:1–3). But, Saul decided to spare the best of the sheep, oxen, etc.—what he saw was good—and he did not kill king Agag (I Samuel 15:8–9). Saul later decided to take upon the role of the priest and make a sacrifice to the Lord.

Saul decided in the absence of the prophet he would do what he felt was good in his own eyes. Just as the devil tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden to look upon the tree to see that it was good to eat (Genesis 3:6), the devil tempted Saul to keep the spoils of war that looked good. Just because something looks good, God wants it out of our life for a reason. We need to remember to live for God regardless of who is around us in the flesh because God is always with us.

Later in Scripture, we read in the book of Esther about Haman the Agagite who devised a plot to destroy the Jews. Haman was a descendant from king Agag who Saul did not kill in obedience to prophet of the Lord. Four hundred years later, Saul’s actions—his story—impacted the entire Jewish nation. Esther had to work diligently to save her people.

Impacts of Disobedience

When God tells us to do something in our life, we need to be obedient. The prophet Samuel told Saul, “to obey is better than sacrifice…” (I Samuel 15:22, KJV). God can see the end from the beginning, and knows what our actions will impact down the road. We may not be privileged to know the reason behind God’s direction and command, but it is always for our good.

Sometimes our dream of what we want isn’t what is always best for us. Scripture tells us, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9, KJV). We need to learn to yield to God’s plan because He knows what’s better for us!

The prophet Isaiah told king Hezekiah that he should set his house in order because he was going to die. But, Hezekiah didn’t accept God’s plan and prayed that God would give him longer to live. Because of his prayer and desire for what he wanted, God blessed him with 15 more years (Isaiah 38:1–5). In Hezekiah’s last 15 years, he became the father to Manasseh, who in his reign committed even more evils than the pagan religions during his time (II Chronicles 33:1–9). God knew Israel would be saved from Manasseh’s leadership if Hezekiah would have died, but Hezekiah didn’t want God’s plan for his life.

Impacts of Obedience

Jochebed, walking by faith and obedience to the Lord, placed her son in an ark of bulrushes and placed it in the river (Exodus 2). That child was Moses. Moses grew up in Pharaoh’s household and became a deliver to the nation of Israel. Parting with her son wasn’t an easy task, and Jochebed may not have understood the reason for the separation. But, her actions impacted many people years into the future. When we are obedient to the Word of God, we will impact our future generations!

Sometimes we don’t understand the God’s direction for our life because we’re only seeing just a small part of the story. We can’t focus so much on the present. We need to be obedient to bring a good work in the future. Our life may feel small and insignificant; we can be a prisoner of the time/place where we life. But, we’re in the middle of a long story—we’re just a chapter in the long story that God’s telling. Let’s allow God to complete His perfect work in us! Our story is just beginning!

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on March 5, 2015 with guest speaker Rachel Coltharp