Suffering and sickness in the Bible – Part 28
Reasons For Believers’ Sickness (cont)
Although we often suffer from the effects of sins committed by those who came before us, God does not punish us for someone else’s sins, and we cannot use their mistakes as an excuse for our sins. Each person is accountable to God for his or her actions. In addition, some people of Judah used the corporate umbrella of God’s blessing as an excuse for disobeying God. They thought that because of their righteous ancestors (18:5-9) they would live. God told them that they would not; they were the evil sons of righteous parents and, as such, would die (18:10-13). If, however, anyone returned to God, he or she would live (18:14-18).
Note that although we often suffer from sins committed by those who came before us, God does not punish us for someone else’s sins (Dt. 24:16; 2Kgs. 14:6; 2Chr. 25:4; Ezk 18:1-4,20).
“Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall children be put to death for their fathers; a person shall be put to death for his own sin.” (Dt. 24:16)
How Do People Suffer From The Sins Of Parents?
“Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” (Ex 34:7)
Exodus 34:7. Why would sins affect grandchildren and great-grandchildren? This is no arbitrary punishment. Children still suffer for the sins of their parents. Consider child abuse or alcoholism, for example. While these sins are obvious, sins like selfishness and greed can be passed along as well. The dire consequences of sins are not limited to the individual family member. Be careful not to treat sin casually, but repent and turn away from them. Sin may cause you little pain now, but it could sting in a most tender area of your life later — your children and grandchildren.
The Defeat Of Ai; The Sin Of Achan (Joshua 7)
“But the children of Israel committed a trespass regarding the accursed things, for Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed things; so the anger of the Lord burned against the children of Israel.” (Jos 7:1)
The sin of Achan, its consequence within Israel, and the severe penalty upon Achan and his family reveal several principles of judgment when God’s people flagrantly sin.
• When there is a serious sin or the toleration of a serious sin among God’s people, the blessing of God is diminished, hindered or lost altogether. God will not bless a people who refuse to remove sin from their midst (vv.1,11-13, 20-21, 25; cf. 1Cor 5:1-13).
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