But for their sake I will remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the Lord. (Leviticus 26:45)
When mentioning the covenant made with the patriarchs, not only did God emphasize His faithfulness to keep the promise He made with Abraham and his seed, He also stressed the enormity of Israel’s sin. They were descendants of righteous men — men who sojourned in a land only promised to them and yet they remained faithful. Their descendants, on the other hand, possessed that promised land and were recipients of the blessings God had promised to Abraham’s children and, yet, were unfaithful and disobedient. Nevertheless He said to them, “To those who repent, I will restore you.”
In one sense it seems that He is saying, were it not for the faithfulness of your ancestors — the patriarchs and the sons of Jacob that went down into Egypt — Israel would have been lost, destroyed and remembered no more. Of course, that would have not been a fault on the Creator’s part, but of people who had inherited a holy covenant and been given God’s Word firsthand. They were ancestors of people who knew God, not just known about God. In fact, consider that one of Abraham’s greatest attributes had been that he believed even when he had no one to teach him. He heard God and believed God, and for that reason, God declared Him to be righteous.
That brings me to this point: we don’t have to be descendants of righteous men in order to be declared righteous by the Almighty. Of course, it is always helpful to be raised in a Godly home and be taught these things from an early age, in fact, God instructs us to teach our children these things “diligently” (Deuteronomy 6:7). But just because someone is raised in that environment doesn’t mean they will be Godly. Likewise, anyone not raised that way isn’t automatically disqualified from the Kingdom. To the contrary, any one who hears the Voice of God and responds to it, believes it and demonstrates that belief by their deeds will be considered children of God. In other words, it has always been about the heart; it has always been about faith and not necessarily DNA.
To underscore this point, we will close with something Messiah said to a group of people who thought their pedigree assured them of a place in the Kingdom: “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him” (Matthew 21:31-32)
Blessings and Shalom,