Today you should read: Ezekiel 18
“You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and fourth generations of those who hate me.” Exodus 20:5”
I had always been confused as to how this idea worked and how it was right and just. I mean, how could a loving and just God punish kids for something their parents or grandparents did? This didn’t seem fair to me. In today’s passage we have an answer and a difficulty when it comes to this question. The passage says that God does not punish kids for their parent’s sins. In fact, it seems to be super clear that is the case. So then comes the difficulty. On the one hand we have a passage that says the sins of the parents will be visited on the children and even grandchildren and in today’s passage we have a clear cut illustration saying that’s not the case. So is this a discrepancy in the Bible? No, not at all.
A basic explanation for this is that these two passages are talking about two different ideas. When you read passages like Exodus 20:5 you are dealing with the ripple effect of the consequences. Not so much that God would punish the following generations for sins but that those sins could have consequences that would affect the following generations to come. Passages like Ezekiel 18 are talking more about judgment and accountability for sins committed.
One other principle that really jumped out to me that I want to leave you with today is this:
You don’t have to be your parents. You are free to be who God has made you to be
For those who have had the privilege of having godly parents to learn from and emulate, praise God. However, many of us, myself included, did not have that opportunity. The world looks at people like that and just assumes they will be like their parents. And, sadly, many people give in to the lie that they can’t be different or better than their parents were. If this is you, take heart and know that God has so much more for you. You don’t have to be the middle son in today’s story. You can be the last son who looks at his parents and decides, “That won’t be me.”
Posted by: Robbie Byrd