The light of the righteous rejoiceth: but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.
Your family’s future depends on your character and conduct. If you live righteously, God will bless your family. If you live wickedly, God will judge your family. Here is a divine promise and warning about your family tree. Do you understand its importance?
Solomon often repeated this promise and warning about character and conduct affecting you and your posterity (Pr 2:21-22; 3:33; 11:21; 12:7; 14:11; 15:25; 20:7; 21:12). You can have a profound impact on your descendants by choosing to love God and His words.
Where is a family or future generations intended in this proverb? Remember, proverbs are the dark sayings of wise men (Pr 1:6; Ps 78:2). It is your job to explore, interpret, and apply them. There is definite reference here to your family tree and descendants.
The two important words you must understand are “light” and “lamp.” While commentators generally say these are metaphors for gladness and prosperity, how do gladness and prosperity rejoice? There is a better interpretation, and it is discovered by comparing God’s words with God’s words, as directed by the apostle Paul (I Cor 2:13).
In the Bible a man’s family is called his light or his lamp. God blessed David by these verses: “And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem” (I Kgs 11:36). “Nevertheless for David’s sake did the LORD his God give him a lamp in Jerusalem, to set up his son after him, and to establish Jerusalem” (I Kgs 15:4). “Yet the LORD would not destroy Judah for David his servant’s sake, as he promised him to give him alway a light, and to his children” (II Kgs 8:19).
Again about David, God said, “There will I make the horn of David to bud: I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed” (Ps 132:17). And again, “Howbeit the LORD would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that he had made with David, and as he promised to give a light to him and to his sons for ever” (II Chr 21:7).
Is this true doctrine? Indeed! “For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off” (Ps 37:28). “I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments” (Ex 20:5-6).
God blesses the families of the righteous. “Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed” (Ps 112:1-2). Other places teach the same truth (Nu 25:10-13; Ps 25:12-14; 34:11-22; 37:1-40; 102:28; Is 58:8-12; Jer 32:29; 35:18-19).
God judges the families of the wicked. “Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies: thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee – Their fruit shalt thou destroy from the earth, and their seed from among the children of men” (Ps 21:8-13). See other places (I Sam 2:27-36; I Kgs 16:1-7; 21:20-26; Job 18:16-21; 27:13-15; Ps 109:6-20; Is 14:18-23).
Does God judge children for parental sins, since He hated Israel’s proverb, “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge” (Ezek 18:1-3)? He hated their proverb, because each generation has the opportunity to break the cycle from their parents. A wicked man can break the cycle of blessing from his righteous parents, and a righteous man can break the cycle of judgment from his wicked parents (Ezek 18:4-32).
Reader! If you do not fear God enough to live a righteous life for yourself, will you do so for your children and grandchildren? Why save money for an inheritance, worry about sending them to college, work for their marriage into a good family, and help get them established in a business? You can endow perpetual blessings on them by living a righteous life, and this is the only way you can be happy yourself (Pr 3:13,18; 16:20; 28:14; 29:18). The blessed God of heaven has offered you a great opportunity for today.