It happened somewhere between my 40th birthday and the birth of our first grandchild. I started thinking about our family’s legacy.

What can we do to ensure that the next generation continues in the faith?
What can we do to build a strong legacy of Christian commitment?

We have been studying FIVE WORDS for a GODLY HOME. These key words are
LOVE, which is the central heart attitude given to husbands.
RESPECT, which is the central heart attitude given to wives.
HONOR which is the central heart attitude given to children.
FORGIVENESS which applies to all family members, and
LEGACY which is the result when a family honors the Lord.

Even though we are living during a time of spiritual and moral decline, we must ask:
Can I build a Spiritual Legacy in my family during a time of Spiritual decline?

A second important question follows the first,
Is there an example of someone in Scripture who built a Spiritual legacy in a time of spiritual decline?

Thankfully, the answer to both questions is an resounding YES. I would like to propose an obscure Old testament saint named Jonadab as our example today.

In his book, “The Promise of Jonadab,” author Ray Moor writes, “Jonadab may be the greatest dad in the Bible.” That is a strong statement, made largely because Jonadab succeeded in securing multiple generations of faithful children during a time of moral and spiritual decline.

We find Jonadab’s Legacy recorded in Jeremiah 35:18-19
“Then Jeremiah said to the family of the Recabites, “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘You have obeyed the command of your forefather Jonadab and have followed all his instructions and have done everything he ordered.’ Therefore, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Jonadab son of Recab will never fail to have a man to serve me.’ ”” (Jeremiah 35:18–19, NIV84)

Through Jeremiah, the Lord instructs this descendent of Jonadab that his family line would continue throughout future generations in Israel. That is a statement made only of the Patriarchs in the Old Testament.

Not only was Jonadab successful in producing future generations of faithful children, he also did it in an ungodly place during a time of great opposition toward God and God’s people.

Jonadab was a common man living in the land of the ten Northern Tribes of Israel during the reign of wicked King Ahab and his notorious wife, Jezebel. The prophet Elijah encountered both, and battled the wicked prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. Israel was in the deepest part of its spiritual wickedness. God, his prophets and his people were under felonious assault as their spiritual heritage was being sold off and given away to the Baal worshippers.

The TIMELINE of events is helpful to understand the extend of Jonadab’s spiritual legacy
1,000 BC is the general time of the united Kingdom of Saul, David and Solomon
At the very beginning of the Divided Kingdom, after the northern Kingdom’s first king Jerobam, the prophet Ahijah gave a prophesy in 900 BC that the Northern kingdom would be punished, driven from the land, and never heard from again.
“the Lord will strike Israel as a reed is shaken in the water, and root up Israel out of this good land that he gave to their fathers and scatter them beyond the Euphrates, because they have made their Asherim, provoking the Lord to anger.” (1 Kings 14:15, ESV)

It would be in some time later, in 841 BC that Jonadab comes on the scene. This is the time of Elijah the prophet. Jehu is King of Israel (the northern ten tribes).

Jehu would not be the last king in Israel. Eventually, in 722 BC the Assyrian invasion removed the people from the land.

The southern tribes of Judah and Banjamin escaped the Assyrian invasion, but eventually in 605 BC, the Babylonians would conquer the southern kingdom.
NOTICE that there is the GAP of 120 years between the time of Jonadab and the Assyrian captivity. Jonadab instructed his family that judgement was coming, and that to be prepared for the coming judgment, they must live in tents as nomads. But it would be generations before the judgment came! His children followed in faith and obedience, most likely with great opposition from their neighbors who probably accused them of being crazy.

So, from the time of JONADAB to the time of Jeremiah, where Jonadab’s clan are still faithful to their father’s legacy, there is a span of 240 years….. 6 generations!

Here is how we find the Sons of Jonadab:
“This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord during the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah: “Go to the Recabite family and invite them to come to one of the side rooms of the house of the Lord and give them wine to drink.” So I went to get Jaazaniah son of Jeremiah, the son of Habazziniah, and his brothers and all his sons—the whole family of the Recabites. I brought them into the house of the Lord, into the room of the sons of Hanan son of Igdaliah the man of God. It was next to the room of the officials, which was over that of Maaseiah son of Shallum the doorkeeper. Then I set bowls full of wine and some cups before the men of the Recabite family and said to them, “Drink some wine.” But they replied, “We do not drink wine, because our forefather Jonadab son of Recab gave us this command: ‘Neither you nor your descendants must ever drink wine. Also you must never build houses, sow seed or plant vineyards; you must never have any of these things, but must always live in tents. Then you will live a long time in the land where you are nomads.’ We have obeyed everything our forefather Jonadab son of Recab commanded us. Neither we nor our wives nor our sons and daughters have ever drunk wine or built houses to live in or had vineyards, fields or crops. We have lived in tents and have fully obeyed everything our forefather Jonadab commanded us. But when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon invaded this land, we said, ‘Come, we must go to Jerusalem to escape the Babylonian and Aramean armies.’ So we have remained in Jerusalem.”” (Jeremiah 35:1–11, NIV84)

They are offered WINE, when supplies in Jerusalem were almost gone.

In honor of their father JONADAB, they remained faithful to his instructions.
No wine (when others could drink wine)
Do not build houses (while others dwelled in nice homes)
Do not sow seed (when others had the luxury of fields)
Do not plant vineyards (when others were producing crops)
Always live in tents (when others had greater luxuries)

I can hear Jonadab’s grandchildren complaining to their fatthers…. “Why do we have to live in tents when the other kids live in nice houses?”

But the clan of Jonadab remained faithful, and because of their faithfulness, they were spared from the Assyrian captivity.

You see, all of those other families who thought that everything would be fine dwelled in houses. They were not prepared to flee the land. They were too attached to their nice things. They thought that they would be safe, not recognizing the spiritual decline in Israel. By the time they realized that the Assyrians would overtake the land, it was too late. They were all taken captive and transported to foreign lands.

But not the sons of Jonadab.

Jonadab Lived in Difficult Times.
It was a time of Corrupt political Leadership. We read about Jonadab in 2 Kings 10, right after the reign of AHAB and JEZEBEL. There is chaos in Israel

It was also a time of Spiritual Compromise.
Israel was fully engaged in Baal worship. The Lord sent his prophets Elijah and Elisha to confront the people and leaders, but the idolatry continued, and the mountains of Israel were places where the wicked religious practices of the pagan religion were seen in the full light of day.

Jonadab succeeded even though he was a man with a tarnished past. Jonadab’s father was RECHAB. Rechab was one of Abner’s generals. After the death of Saul, Rechab killed Ish-Bo Sheth, Saul’s son who was attempting to rule in Saul’s place. David was greatly displeased and had Rechab put to death, and every time Jonadab’s name in mentioned in Scripture, he is linked with his notorious father.

Jonadab was a man of complete obscurity. He was not a priest, not a prophet. There is no mention of him for 250 years of Biblical history.

Jonadab believed God’s Word.
In 910 BC the prophet Ahijah prophesied about the destruction of 10 northern tribes of Israel.
“the Lord will strike Israel as a reed is shaken in the water, and root up Israel out of this good land that he gave to their fathers and scatter them beyond the Euphrates, because they have made their Asherim, provoking the Lord to anger.” (1 Kings 14:15, ESV)
This was 100 years before Jonadab. But he knew this prophesy and he believed God’s Word, even though he did not know the timing.

TODAY: What can you do to ensure that you will leave behind a Christian Legacy if the Lord doesn’t return for another 100 years?

Jonadab Loved God and Hated Evil. 2 Kings 10:23-27
He aligned himself with King Jehu and killed the prophets of Baal. Jonadab had no mercy for evil.

God is not calling you today to take up the sword, but could you at least put down your remote? We do not live in a time when the Church is the physical instrument of God’s rule on earth, but many Christians have a mentality that we do nothing regarding evil in our world today. Worse yet, we participate with those who practice all forms of evil that would make the most devoted Baal worshipers blush in shame.

Do we tolerate modern day Baal’s in our homes?
Steps to be a modern day Jonadab
1. Build your life and your home around God’s Word.
“Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.” (Psalm 78:1–8, ESV)

Jonadab knew the prophecy about Israel’s destruction. He ordered his family to live as nomads so that they would be ready to leave when judgment came. Jonadab did not want his family becoming too comfortable in SINFUL ISRAEL.. Jonadab is the OPPOSITE of Lot.

2. Have no tolerance for sin

3. Discern the times. “Men Of Issachar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do,(1 Chronicles 12:32, ESV)

4. Become intentional about the future generation
What is your plan?
Do you have spiritual and family goals?
Is there regular family worship?

Jonadab’s Blessing:
His family was living in JUDAH when all the rest of Israel had been taken in the Assyrian captivity, 150 years earlier
His family was given a special promise by the Lord

Jonathan Edwards felt God’s call to become a minister. He and his young bride began a pastorate in a small congregation. During the years that followed, he wrote many sermons, prayers, and books, and was influential in beginning the Great Awakening. Together they produced eleven children who grew into adulthood. Sarah was a partner in her husband’s ministry, and he sought her advice regarding sermons and church matters. They spent time talking about these things together, and, when their children were old enough, the parents included them in the discussions.

The effects of the Edwards’s lives have been far-reaching, but the most measurable results of their faithfulness to God’s call is found through their descendants. Elizabeth Dodds records a study done by A. E. Winship in 1900 in which he lists a few of the accomplishments of the 1,400 Edwards descendants he was able to find:

100 lawyers and a dean of a law school
80 holders of public office
66 physicians and a dean of a medical school
65 professors of colleges and universities
30 judges
13 college presidents
3 mayors of large cities
3 governors of states
3 United States senators
1 controller of the United States Treasury
1 Vice President of the United States
http://www.familylife.com/articles/topics/parenting/foundations/godly-legacy/five-essentials-to-leaving-a-legacy-that-will-outlive-you