Advent Devotional: Faith-Family Tree {Grandparent}

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).

IMG_7367My grandfather and I had the best talks. I’m pretty sure it’s because he spoke straight to my heart. He shared stories about the Jewish traditions he followed in his Orthodox home and the traditions he still follows today. Regardless of what we were talking about, he always made me feel special. I knew he delighted in me because he told me.

One day we were talking side-by-side when he leaned over and whispered naches. I looked at him with my wide eyes, passed down from generation to generation, and questioned him. He said, “Naches is a Yiddish term which describes the feelings of joy that a child brings to a parent.” He continued, “When the joy is so great it exceeds your words, you use the term naches.'”

Oh, how I loved him. I knew the feeling. I’ve felt it before. It’s the joy a parent feels when your child does something unexpected for someone else or surprises you by going above and beyond what you asked him or her to do. When words cannot express the delight you feel, you know you have experienced naches.

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In our faith-family tree, Noah’s son Shem had Terah many generations later, who becomes the father of Abram. Terah did not have a heart for God like Noah, but his son Abram did have a heart for God.

God told Abram to go. Let go of your past and let Me lead you. God uses people from all walks of life who have a heart for Him.

Abraham became the father of Isaac, the grandfather of Jacob whom we will know later on as Israel and a patriarch to descendants that are more numerous than the stars in the sky. Abraham became a great patriarch of the faith family tree because he trusted and followed God.

If God makes you a promise,
you have to know in your heart of hearts that He will follow through,
because God keeps His promises.

There were moments when life was difficult, and it was hard to trust God, but through it all, Abram brought naches to our Heavenly Father.

Today’s Scripture:

Now the LORD said to Abram, ‘Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you; and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing and I will bless those who bless you and the one who curses you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed, (Genesis 12:1-3 NASB).  

And He took him outside and said, ‘Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.’ And He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be’ (Genesis 15:5 NASB).

Then the LORD took note of Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did for Sarah as He had promised.  So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him (Genesis 21:1-2 NASB).

He said, ‘Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.’ Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son.Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide, as it is said to this day, ‘In the mount of the LORD it will be provided‘ (Genesis 22:12-14 NASB).

Today’s Snapshot: Abraham {Grandparent}

God told Abram to go, so Abram went.  He left the metropolis of Ur and headed to a land unknown to his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot.  When God asks you to do something, you have to trust Him, because God can see the big picture, while we can only see a snapshot of time.

God established His covenant (agreement) with Abram (Genesis 17:2). God promised Abram He would multiply him exceedingly, and he would be a father of many nations (Genesis 17:4-5).  God sealed the promise and changed Abram’s name and Sarai’s name to Abraham and Sarah to show that God (YAHWEH) was with them (Genesis 17:5). God promised Abraham a great land (Genesis 17:8). God promised Abraham a son by Sarai (Genesis 17:15). God made these promises to Abram when he was 99 years old, and Sarai was 90 (Genesis 17:1,17).

The promises that did not make sense to man could only be fulfilled by God.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts, (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Promises are meant to be kept. God keeps his promises.

Sometimes this is difficult to remember because we think God views promises as we do.  We always try to keep our promises, but sometimes life gets in the way.  When God makes you a promise, He will not become distracted, overwhelmed, or pressured in a different direction. Life will not become too difficult, and time will not get in the way of keeping the promise. Regardless of what is going on around Him, God will stay focused on the promise He made, and He will keep it in His perfect timing.

God took time to establish trust with Abraham. When God asked Abraham to do something he could not understand, he had nothing left to do but trust. Abraham trusted God, and God provided.

God provided the sacrifice for Abraham so that He did not have to slay his son.  Abraham trusted and followed God and brought Him great naches.

In God’s perfect timing He provided a baby one Holy Night who would become the final sacrifice, once and for all.

When you cannot see or do not understand, you can trust that God keeps His promises. When we trust Him and follow Him, we bring our Heavenly Father naches.

Family Discussion:
~ Has someone broken a promise to you before?  How did it make you feel?
~ Discuss a time when it was hard to trust your parents.  Afterward, were you glad you trusted them?
~ In the future, when might you have to trust your parents?

Closing Prayer:
Heavenly Father,
I praise You for Your Fatherly love.  Thank You for always knowing what is best for us, and for always keeping Your promises.  May we walk confidently knowing that Your ways are better than ours because You can see the big picture.  May we rest in the fullness of our trust in You because You know each one of us so well.  Thank you for the grandparents in our lives who show this love to us.  We are so grateful. You knew we needed a Savior, so You sent one – born of Your own flesh and blood.  You sent us a baby who was fully God, yet fully man. You knew we would be celebrating His birth for years to come.  Thank You for the gentle reminder of Your great love.  May we continue to trust You in our individual lives and may we bring You great joy.
In the precious name of Jesus, we pray,
Amen