Family Lessons 73: From a Hard Head to Israel

My 8x great-grandfather, William Nelson, was born at Hardhead, which I presume to be a farm near Long Preston, in 1688. By 1724 when his son Stephen, my 7x great-grandfather was born, he was living at Israel, a farm nearer Clapham.

I once visited the farm at Israel, and some Christian friends of mine once farmed there in this century. I am sure that most seventeenth and eighteenth-century farms were rugged, hard places, especially in these remote uplands. Yet to move from a hardhead to an Israel bespeaks the spiritual journey so many of us have taken, including I, William’s descendant. As well as being born with a hard head, I had a hard heart, dead to spiritual truth and God’s radiant love. By His amazing grace, He breathed life into my stony being. Now I am a part of His Israel, that global and cosmic community of redeemed people. And, like the wanderers of Exodus, I look forward to entering that land of milk and honey, long promised. I was born the hard-headed son of William Nelson, but I have since been adopted into the family of the God of Abraham, Isaac and, of course, Israel.