Below is a sample of the book that I will self publish this year. It is called The Elisha Principle: Revival through Sonship. I wrote the book because fatherlessness in our culture is quickly becoming the norm, and for many of us it is already a way of life. God intended that every generation would build upon the last, applying the experiences to their marriages and families. But, when the family foundation is unstable, what is built will crumble. However, God’s word gives clear ways to restore the foundations of our family. In this book, I use the relationship between Elijah and Elisha to demonstrate how the foundations of family can be restored and how revival can be maintained through generations. Hope you like it.
The Wisdom of Generations
A testimony is a declaration of truth, law, or principle. It will always reveal God’s character, His mercy, faithfulness, and goodness. Often we learn someone’s testimony simply through conversation. Although it is simple to receive, the power of a testimony is found in applying the wisdom it produces. Generational wisdom is passed down from father to son through sharing testimonies. In the Bible, a testimony was used to remind God’s people of His law so they would remain faithful in following Him. This is why the Jews built the Ark of the Testimony, Solomon’s Temple, and held elaborate feasts. Constant reminder of God’s law makes anyone wise; as it says in Psalms, “The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple” (Ps 19:7).
The twelve stones Joshua erected served as a reminder of God’s goodness. Generations of fathers and sons passed the mountain. When they did, fathers explained the meaning of the stones by sharing how God made a way into the promise land. The memorial and consequently, the story created fear of the Lord which Proverbs says, “is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10). As we can see, wisdom is the result of shared testimony.
Wisdom is different from knowledge. It is the application of knowledge. For example, one day my wife’s car broke down. I thought it was the battery so I purchased a battery and tried to install it. When I installed the battery, brilliant white sparks flew from the terminals as I tried to connect it, shorting out the main fuse, which controls all electricity for the car. I went back to the auto store to buy a fuse, replaced it, and reinstalled the battery. Again, the same brilliant sparks; the main fuse blew. I tried this several times before asking Harold, my spiritual father, for help. He came to our apartment to look at the car. He knew what the problem was after spending a few moments looking over the engine. Embarrassingly, I was putting the battery in backwards. He knew what the problem was because he had experience the same problem. His experience taught him how to install a battery the correct way. Finally, for the fourth time I replaced the main fuse, changed the battery position, and the car started. Now I know how to tell the positive from the negative terminal because I gained wisdom from Harold because of his experience.
The car issue was a simple problem. However, a testimony is applied in more significant ways such as saving a rocky marriage, dealing with a rebellious child or financial matters. Learning from the experiences of others teaches us how to deal with similar situations.
There is nothing new under the sun. You may not know how to save your crumbling marriage, but someone has been through the same thing. You may not know how to extend forgiveness, but there are others who have shared the same pain. We, as sons, must learn from the testimony of others in order to apply its wisdom to our lives. We are all fools without the wisdom gained through testimony. It is the basis for learning and growing in the Kingdom of God. Most importantly, God uses testimonies to teach the younger generation so we may set our hope in Him (Ps 78:5-7).
Setting our hope in Him requires faith, which testimonies build. It takes faith to believe that we can be the men our natural fathers were not and have the families we’ve only dreamed. However, it is difficult to believe something we have not experienced. Consequently, faith is the “substance of things hoped for” (Heb 11:1); it is the basis and the makeup of hope. Without hope, we cannot dream to make the impossible reality. Without faith, we cannot hope in the Lord.
The absence of hope does not diminish our need for family, but hope deferred sickens the heart (Prov. 13:12). God has designed every man for relationship and family, but denied intimacy leads to depression and discouragement. I recently spoke with a friend who moved out of state to be closer with his family. At first things were going well. He was spending time with his children, his ex-wife seemed to be interested in reconciling the relationship, and he found a home church. Soon after, things took a turn for the worse. Suddenly, his ex-wife wanted nothing to do with him, he became disillusioned with his church because of how the pastor treated an unsaved friend, and he started working again, which took time away from his kids. The rapid change in his relationships caused him to feel lonely. I could hear his voice trembling over the phone as he recounted the events of the past weeks and I could feel void in his heart from the absence of hope. He desperately wanted his family back; however, the restoration process was not happening as quickly as he wanted. As a result, he became anxious and frustrated.
I encouraged him by reminding him about the goodness of God. I reminded him of his own testimony. A little over a year ago he had no relationship with Jesus, barely saw his children because he lived so far away, and the possibility of restoring his marriage was nonexistent. All of this changed when he gave his life over to following Christ. The possibility to win his family back has never been closer, which ironically was the reason for his despondency. The dream was so close, but it remained just out of reach. His heart was getting sick, but the testimony was able to revive his tired soul. Reminding him of what the Lord did strengthened his faith, which in turn revived his hope for a restored family.