In Genesis, chapter 34, there's this story of a young man named Levi. He was one of Jacob's sons. One day, his sister went out to visit the women of the land and was attacked and abused by one of the men of that area. Word got back to Levi and his brother, Simeon, and they decided to take matters into their own hands. Their father, Jacob, wanted to handle it more diplomatically, but these two boys were enraged and furious!
Levi went to see Shechem, son of Hamor the Hivite, the ruler of that area and tricked the people. He told them that he had come in peace and wanted to overlook the matter, but in order for him to do that, the people would have to make a covenant with Jehovah. That meant all the men would have to be circumcised. The men agreed. While they were recovering from their circumcision, Levi and Simeon went in there and wiped out the whole town. They killed all of the men and plundered the city in retribution for what a couple of men did to their sister. Their father, Jacob, was so angry at them because they almost started a war.
At the end of Jacob's life, on his deathbed about to pass, he called all of his sons in. Normally, this is when the father would give the sons a blessing. This was extremely important, especially in those days. But Jacob looked at Levi and said, "I'm not going to bless you. You are stubborn, hot-headed, angry and violent, and you tricked those people. You're just a deceiver." Instead of blessing Levi's future, he cursed Levi's future.
Years later, Moses is on top of Mt. Sinai. God had just given him the Ten Commandments. He came down from the mountainside and the Israelites are worshipping a golden calf, having a big party, celebrating and dancing. Moses said to his brother, "Aaron, what in the world are you guys doing?" Aaron said, "Moses, we got bored waiting for you, and we threw some gold into the fire and this golden calf came out." Something rose up in Moses. He pulled his sword out, lifted it in the air and shouted, "Who is on the Lord's side?" And of all the people there, thousands of them the scripture says, "The sons of Levi raised their hands." The least likely of them all; the ones whose father had made mistakes. Their grandfather had cursed their future. They had all this baggage. All this dysfunction. Yet, they rose up and said in effect, "This is a new day. We're getting this yoke off of our neck. We're breaking this curse. We are on the Lord's side."
Because of that decision, God was pleased with them. From that day forward, all the priests would come from the tribe of Levi. They were cursed by their grandfather in the book of Genesis. One book over in Exodus, they are the most blessed, honored people.
What am I saying? What's been passed down to you doesn't have to keep you from your destiny. Your relatives may have made poor choices, but when you rise up like the sons of Levi, you can live a blessed life beyond anything passed down to you!