A Brick in the Valley

Sins of the Fathers
November 16, 2007, 4:14 pm
Filed under: Chris Brauns Radio Spots

 Exodus 34:7 raises interesting questions.  Describing God, the verse reads:7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.”

What does it mean that God punishes the children for the sin of the fathers? 

First, let me tell you what it does not mean.  It does not mean that children are condemned because of their parents’ actions.  Ezekiel 18:20 reads.

The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him.(Eze 18:20).”

No one goes to hell because of what his or her father did.

But, what it does mean is this.  Mothers and Fathers establish a trajectory or direction for their families.  Picture someone aiming an arrow and letting it fly.  It is possible for the course of the arrow to be altered, but in the absence of any intervention, the arrow will continue in the same direction.

Parents, the choices that you make will establish a powerful trajectory or direction for you family.  If you make poor choices, than it is likely that your children will continue in that same direction.  But, if you love and follow Christ, then that direction will benefit future generations.

None of us are islands.  The decisions we make effect many others.


1 Comment so far
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I think this is an issue where American individualism has really messed us up. I don’t think more communal cultures such as Africa and Asia have problems with these passages…they understand the impact!

I also think postmodern thought helps us here…we are greatly impacted by our context, particularly our familial context. It colors everything we say, think, and do and it is very difficult to come out of this and achieve “objectivity.” Thank God for the gift of the Holy Spirit!!

Comment by Brian McLaughlin

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