On this day in 1947, long before many of us were born, an event occurred which changed the world and which directly impacts everyone of us today. 65 years ago, researchers in Maryland brought ENIAC to life. ENIAC was the first general purpose digital computer ever created. The house-sized machine was able to be re-programmed to solve a wide range of computing problems. Today, such computing power is available in devices the size of a wrist watch and even smaller. But that event, over a half century ago, gave us the basis for all of the desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones that are ubiquitous today. The past profoundly affects the future.
Spiritually, the events surrounding the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord must stand as the greatest historical marker of all history. God, in the persona of Jesus Christ, gave his own life for the lives of his creatures.
But each of us has personal events which change our own future and the future of generations to come. For example, there was the day my grandfather came home and told my grandmother than he had found what they were looking for, a faith not cluttered by the doctrines and opinions of men. They soon became members of the churches of Christ, their four sons, including my father, became members and later I too was added to the body of Christ. Today my three sons are all members of the church too. That day, decades ago, is a great historical day for my family.
What is in the past is, well, in the past. We cannot change or alter those events. But we can shape the future by our decisions today.
Isaac, son of Abraham and ancestor of Jesus, lived in such a way that his children, Jacob and Esau would be blessed. The writer of Hebrews says, “…by faith, Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau” (Hebrews 11:20). Isaac’s faith in God, no doubt given and strengthened by Abraham, had an impact on his children.
In the Pentateuch, God repeatedly warned that children would suffer from the wrong decisions made by the fathers. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20:5-6, see also Exodus 34:7, Numbers 14:18, Deuteronomy 5:9). It is not that the children would inherit the penalty for their fathers sin (Ezekiel 18:20), but rather the children would suffer from errant teaching and godless examples. The children would be led in the paths of idolatry which was a horrid thing to the Lord God.
Every person reading these thoughts is, right now, impacting their own future but also the future of others. We choose today to craft a future that is Godly and blessed, on godless and cursed. While a prophet could foretell the future sometimes, we can change the future.
Consider these words from Hebrews 11:4 concerning the faith of Abel. It is said of him that “though he died, he still speaks.” That is true of us all. What great moment of history are you creating today? What honor will your children speak of when they remember you?