David said, “I am going to show loyalty to Hanun because his father, Nahash, was always loyal to me.” So David sent messengers to express sympathy to Hanun about his father’s death. But when David’s ambassadors arrived in the land of Ammon, the Ammonite commanders said to Hanun, “Do you really think these men are coming here to honor your father? No! David has sent them to spy out the land so they can come in and conquer it!” So Hanun seized David’s ambassadors and shaved them, cut off their robes at the buttocks, and sent them back to David in shame. (1 Chronicles 19:2-4)
Relate: Sometimes the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I had to explain that idiom yesterday in a conversation I was having with a Turkish friend. We were talking about the same names keep popping up in American politics. Currently it is Clinton and Bush. You have Bill and Hillary on one side with George, GW, and Jeb on the other. Before that it was Kennedy featuring John, Jack, Bobby, and Ted. Go back a little farther and you have Teddy and FDR.
There are plenty of other examples throughout history even beyond royal and noble dynasties that passed from father to son through so much of our history. In ancient Rome, for example there was the Scipio family. Around the time of the Punic wars, there were six different Scipios who held the top office of Consul. One of these, after winning the Spanish battlefront that killed his father and uncle, headed down to Africa, won the war, and forever became known as Scipio Africanus, one of the greatest generals in history. Another family that was just beginning to make a name for themselves at the same time is the Gracchi family. Although there already were a few generals, consuls, and tribunes, it was the brothers Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus who served as back tribunes to back that truly made the name. Both dominated the political scene, died violent deaths, and made unorthodox political moves that became the beginning of the end for the Roman Republic.
These are just a few of the many famous examples one could give that prove the truth of the statement “sometimes the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” On the other hand, sometimes it does.
React: David and Nahash had served as allies because of a mutual respect they had as well as the fact that both were quite politically savvy. Nahash’s son, and David’s grandson were both apples falling far. Instead of the respect and trust David had with Nahash, Hanon acts with suspicion and malice. He shamefully disgraces David’s ambassadors, precipitates a war, and then gets trounced. How bad was that beating? The Ammonites fell off the scene in both Biblical and extra biblical history for over two hundred years.
If people were to compare us to our parents, how far would they say the apple fell? Is this a good thing or a bad thing? What are some ways we wish were were much less like our families? What are some noble and godly traits in our heritage that we would love to emulate? If we are followers of Christ, we are also called children of God. The word Christian literally means “of Christ” or “Christ follower”. Do we truly emulate Him as we should? If someone were to look at me and my heavenly Father, would they say “the apple didn’t fall far from the tree”, or would they just say “the apple fell”.
God, I want to be like You. I am so thankful for the godly heritage I have been blessed with, but I also recognize that there are trails I have seen and learned that are not the best. Help me to be conscientious in emulating the good while avoiding the bad habits that might run in my family. More than any of this, let me never forget that I have been grafted into Your family. You have called me Your child and in gratitude and love help me to ever strive to be worthy of that calling knowing that it is only through Your grace that I can. Father, when people look at me, let them see You.