Deuteronomy 5:9- You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 10 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Exodus 34:6-7 (NIV)- And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 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 parents to the third and fourth generation.”
For many years, I took this to mean that God would curse generations. I mean, after reading Genesis, it is not hard to believe that God could and would do this. I couldn’t help but feel this was unfair. Generations were indeed seemingly cursed, but what I failed to see was that there was underlying sin that brought down some generations.
In order to lead you all where I want you to go, I must first start with the 10 Commandments. Yes, I’m talking obedience again! And, yes, I can already hear the groans.
Most people see the 10 Commandments as rules; a list of do’s and don’ts. However, as Beth Moore pointed out in Breaking Free, the Ten Commandments are meant to serve as boundaries for our safety and protection. Those who live beyond those boundaries (or move them) will live in bondage. And not only will they live in bondage, they will possibly lead generations into bondage.
Yeah, it is not earthshaking news that God uses the Ten Commandments for our protection, just as our lists of rules protect our own children. What I find important here is that it is not a curse from God, but our own choices to sin, and keep on sinning, that keep us in bondage.
Yes, I know it says in Deuteronomy 5:9 and Exodus 34:6-7 that the children will be punished for the sins of their parents, but as Beth Moore points out, God is simply stating that the sins will be passed down. All you have to do is look at a family prone to alcoholism. Many alcoholics have children who are alcoholics and their children are alcoholics. But we have also seen that pattern broken when one of those children makes a choice to live differently.
For those of you keen on playing the blame game (I’m cursed because of my family), I’m here to tell you that your parents or whomever may have led you into bondage, but your choices to sin have kept you there. Jesus did not come from a lineage of perfect people. No, his lineage included sin, drunkenness, prostitution, and more. However, Jesus chose to live differently. He chose to live within the boundaries, within the Ten Commandments.
So, one lesson here today is that good choices (godly choices) and living by the Ten Commandments can lead us out of bondage and break generational sins.
[ Now, I don’t want anyone to get confused as I am not talking salvation here. Salvation is not based on works, but a belief in Jesus Christ as one’s Lord and Savior. No, I am talking about walking victoriously and breaking free of generational sins. ]
Take a moment or two today to evaluate your life. Are there generational sins you have taken up? Now, it doesn’t have to be something as big as alcoholism. Sometimes the hardest sins to overcome are the little sins that we don’t even recognize as sin.
My family is full of bossy women. We like to disguise it as independence, but the truth is we are bossy. It is very hard to be a Proverbs 31 wife when you are bossy. I fight this constantly. I would like to think it is just nature, but deep down I know it is sin and I have to find a way to break free.
I’m also very insecure. At first glance, this doesn’t seem like much of an issue as the Bible says to be humble, but my insecurity leads to sin. My insecurity causes me to fear; it causes me to doubt God. My insecurity causes me to use my tongue as a gun. I tend to hurt people when I feel they have hurt me. Insecurity has cost me friendships because I could not trust my friends. I tend to come across mean or standoffish because I am afraid to let anyone get too close. I’m not as outgoing as I want to be because I am worried about what others think about me.
Are my insecurities genuine? Do I have reasons in my past to be insecure? You bet I do. But I have a choice. I can let those in my past and past circumstances keep me in bondage, or I can choose to make better choices, choose not to sin, and be freed. I may still feel insecure at times, but I will no longer act sinfully because of those insecurities.
Another lesson to be learned is that our sins are affecting our children and the generations to come. I wish I could get into this today, but I know I can’t keep your attention much longer. So, come back tomorrow and we will take a closer look at how our sins are affecting those around us now and those yet to come.
Be blessed and be a blessing,