King Hezekiah had just gotten a word from the Prophet that he would die soon. He ‘turned his face to the wall and cried out to God for mercy. He brought to God’s mind how he had lived righteously before the Lord. Before the Prophet had left the courtyard, God told the Prophet to go back and tell the King that God would add 15 years of peace to his life. But after that Hezekiah’s sons and daughters would be carried into captivity and become slaves. At the hearing of these words, Hezikiah responded in a very religious way of, ‘so be the will of God.’ The Bible reveals that the whole while Hezekiah was thinking, “at least it won’t happen in my lifetime.” To me 2 Kings 20:19 is the single most sad verse in the Bible. Hezekiah had no thought of legacy, no true fatherly heart for his children, no lifestyle of discipleship; only religion and self-protection and comfort.
Why did Hezekiah not turn his face to the wall again on behalf of his children? God had answered his prayer for his own life. How much more would God had been pleased with a father’s heart that mirrors His Father’s heart! Instead, Hezekiah was satisfied to stay in the self-serving comforts of religion and appearances of peace. The fact that King Hezekiah missed his chance not only to leave a legacy of honor but to live a legacy, by being short sighted and desiring self comfort. This fact haunted our souls. We set on a journey with God to enter His school of Kingdom legacy.
God started our classwork the day Josiah was born, actually even before. Before Josiah, our oldest, was born we had lost a child in pregnancy. So Josiah was desired, valued and prayed for constantly before he was even conceived. We didn’t have the gender reveal in those days. As soon as i gave birth to my first born, Josiah David Boyd, a son, our first class assignment was due! I received a phone call from Randy’s Papa Jim. He excitedly proclaimed, “You had me a boy. A boy to pass on the Boyd name! Now you can have as many girls as you want.” At first I was a little taken back at his ‘old timey’ thought. But God used Papa Jim’s words to show us His value of a legacy. A value that many of us as Christians today discount as we concentrate on letting our past go and walking in the new creation that we are – all of which is good. But as my grandmother would say, “Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water.” Look for the blessings to be handed down to the 1000s generation. We may have to look hard. They may not be easy to see. Or maybe we are the ones to start the legacy of blessing!
In the Bible (Ex. 20:5) God says that He will visit the sins/iniquities of the fathers on the 3rd and 4th generations, but will keep covenant and steadfast love to the 1000s generations for those who love Him and keep His commandments (Deut. 7:9). Some say that’s Old Testament, it doesn’t apply. I would say the God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament. The change is how we relate to Him. And this is not a hard concept, but as humans we concentrate on the negative and think how unfair the first is – children paying for the sins of their fathers! But look at the last scripture – blessings to the 1000s generation, this is a word of promise! We are a people of promise!
Legacy. How does natural legacy work for Kingdom blessings? Legacy for our spiritual children – yes, but what about our children being raised in our home?
Our world with God was challenged by Papa Jim’s words. We started longing for Josiah as well as our future children to go further than us in the every area of life, especially concerning the Kingdom, but the Kingdom permeates every area of life; to be successful in the Kingdom is to be successful in life. Our desire was that they could walk the trail we blaze, but when they came to the un-forged area, they would risk and go further, and then the same for their children and so on. This is legacy! Little did we know that our soon to be schooling would teach us that legacy in the Kingdom does not begin when we die, rather it begins when our children are born and every day thereafter. Legacy begins with life!
Josiah was born and our official schooling began! As a baby, Josiah woke every 45 minutes for the first 2 years of life. I was a stay at home mom so Randy and I agreed that I would get up with Josiah in the night. We purged our home of anything that remotely resembled darkness, from spiders to action figures. It didn’t work. We anointed with oil, prayed, adjusted diets, ect. – nothing helped! Not only were we sleep challenged, Josiah would not ‘stay’ with anyone but family and our Head Coach’s wife, Becky. No one else, not even the baby-whisperer, nursery worker, could quiet him! We were criticized, scrutinized, the topic of church gossip. One church friend told others that Josiah would be 16 and not be able to go the the bathroom by himself. People’s opinions can hurt. We had to forgive and get past it.
Consequently, Josiah became my constant companion especially since coaching required a lot of Randy’s time. At football games, he’d sit on my lap as I discussed with him each play of the game and the strategy behind it; Randy was offensive coordinator and I was raised a coach’s daughter. When we went to the grocery store I would read labels to him, divide price into ounces, sing songs, ask him ‘grown-up’ questions, explain everything to him. I was constantly talking to him about important as well as trivial things. I taught him to kick a football, throw, and played with him when Randy couldn’t. (Randy was a very engaged dad, but was working a lot. He was Josiah’s hero! Josiah’s eyes would light up, when Randy came home.) I carried Josiah on my hip as we delivered a man of demons (more than once). He sat at my feet during my quiet time with God. During the sermon either Randy or I would leave after worship to go to a room that shared a wall with the sanctuary, place him on the floor and together we would listen to the sermon. When he would wake up at night, I would pray, quote scripture and sing to him. We didn’t realize it, but we were living Deut. 11:19. In our ignorance, we were discipling our son. We were talking of God to Josiah when we sat at home, walked along the road, lying down and when we got up . . . the ultimate discipleship. We discovered to live a legacy, means to disciple your children. This was our life for 2 years. After 2 years we looked up. Josiah was a secure, fun, smart little boy. AND RANDY AND I WERE BETTER PEOPLE. Funny how that works!
It was self-sacrificing for Randy and myself, but especially me. However, we held tight to the scripture that children were a blessing not a hinderance. That we could do all that God had for us not in spite of Josiah but because of Josiah. Josiah was propelling us into God’s heart and into His mission! We, especially me, saw life through a child’s eyes. I was accountable to God but now also to this little guy constantly watching, listening. Being responsible for Josiah’s discipleship in the Lord and wanting to forge a legacy in which he would go further than us crowded out religion. We were careful to live what we preached. Jesus was not a Sunday thing, He was 24/7. I would never want to alter that season of life – ever!!! We learned to search for God and find Him. He gave us endurance, energy and tremendous joy in our son. He prepared us to live contrary to conventional wisdom both of the world and sometimes of the traditional church institution. He ‘made’ us give our lives away for another!
It may appear I am advocating a method of parenting. Methods don’t work. There are immovable boundaries and principles in the Kingdom, but it is for each family to search out how that will look in their life together. I believe that God sets each child, whether born or adopted, into the appropriate families. The question is, are we, as parents going to steward these precious lives for the Kingdom. Are we going to make the right choices? Are we going to seek God for each child’s well being and success? Are we going to live and leave a legacy for the Kingdom? I believe that is why God states in His Word that if someone causes these little ones to stumble, it would be better that a millstone be tied around his neck and thrown into the sea. Parenting is one of the greatest honors God can give a person! God takes it very seriously! Receiving that honor and then parenting to live and leave a legacy is the most rewarding thing we have done.
God has been kind. What we sowed, sometimes with blurry sleepy eyes, we have and continue to reap. Josiah is a young man full of God. He and his wife, Brandi express the Kingdom through their lives. As far as I know he has not been ’embarrassed of us’ (and we have given him ample reasons to be). When Randy is away on mission, he calls me almost daily, just to let me talk! I guess as a baby he realized I had a lot of words. As a child he was a part of every conversation, every decision. Now he is a wise, systematic, empowered 29 year old young man. He was saved at 3 years old, baptized in the Holy Spirit at 4, in water at 5. His sisters usually role their eyes and say he was the perfect child! (They were not there his first 2 years of life. smile.) Perfect – he is not. A young man who lives life well – he is. Through all the challenges he has faced, I have never known him not to love Jesus and seek to follow Him. He along with his wife and our other 3 kids are forging trails further than where we have been!
In the Kingdom, our legacy doesn’t begin with our death, rather with life! Living our legacy demands leaning into Jesus, finding His GRACE: Grace to look beyond ourselves, Grace to turn our face to the wall and cry out to God for our children. Then finding the grace to live life well before them.
Our legacy began when Josiah was born! We are living our legacy, what a gift! Dare to live your legacy!
pictured below is our son, Josiah and his wife Brandi, part of our living legacy. Kingdom trail blazers!
Originally posted February 3, 2017