Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Sins of the Father

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

“You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea.  You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.  I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me.  But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.                     Exodus 20:4-6 (NLT)

Have you ever heard a child whine, “It’s just not fair!”?  Every parent has heard these words since the Garden of Eden.  And when you read today’s verses something inside you still says it – how could God blame ME for something somebody else did?
Volumes have been written on this subject, but the short answer is:  He Doesn’t!  The Prophet Ezekiel tells us we are judged for our own sins:

The person who sins is the one who will die.  Ezekiel 18:4 (NLT)

And yet….you cannot dump Exodus’ sins of the parents in the trash heap; so what does it mean?  What is it about our parents’ sins that get laid at the feet of the children?  And is that at all fair?
Interstate-85 provided me a graphic and sobering view of the weight of sins passed-along. 
While traveling to our daughter’s house on vacation last week, we were slowed to a crawl by
the scene of a wreck outside of Charlotte.  It was scary.  One car was mashed and bent, upside-down, straddling the ditch.  The other car had jumped the ditch and wrapped itself around a tree.  I don’t see how anyone could have escaped alive.
But if all occupants of the vehicles died on the spot, the suffering didn’t end there.  It is probable that there are many family members connected to whoever was in those automobiles.  Most of them are in shock and grieving tonight.  
This is the nature of cause and effect.  A so-called personal decision we make affects more than just ourselves.  Our decisions are like tossing stones in a lake – the ripples go outward in every direction.
While not all accidents are the result of sin, a high percentage of them involve foolish (read that selfish) choices; on the highway that translates to following too closely, high rate of speed, texting while driving – and more.
While the accidents, loss of life and property are obvious prices we pay for some bad choices, there are a myriad of other costs.  And they are generally laid at the feet of the children.
When God pointed to the sins of the fathers laid on the life of the children, He was not describing a legal punishment – he was sounding the alarm of poor choices.  The passage is about keeping focused on God and not worshiping the falseness of self.  Worshiping God leads to blessing; selfishness takes you to the ditch…along with generations who come behind us who will have to grieve over our selfish choices.

For You, Today

The opposite of having the weight of bad decisions laid on your descendants is to love and obey God.  That brings blessings to celebrate!

That’s a good choice!

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