REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on October 9, 2014.
Devotional Thoughts for This Morning
“The Sins of the Parents”
“The greedy bring ruin to their households . . .”
While traveling in Mexico, I stayed in many different homes, but none was like the home I stayed in Guerrero. At first, the husband told me that his wife was visiting relatives in the states, but his melancholy face and subdued children told another story. Later in the week, the husband told me everything: his wife, after crashing her car into someone’s property, fled the city when an unfavorable ruling resulted in grave consequences. The husband had no idea when she might return; he wasn’t even sure where she was. In the meantime, what’s left of the family was passing another lonesome, silent night.
The prophet Ezekiel made it clear that the children do not share the guilt of their parents, saying, “The soul who sins is the one who will die” (Ez. 18:20). However, the sins of parents can hurt their children. Long before the time of Ezekiel (6th century BC), there was a period in Israel when God “punish[ed] the children for the sins of the fathers” up to the fourth generation (Ex. 20:5). No incident better illustrates this than what greedy Achan (15th century BC) did, which led to God punishing him and his family (Jos. 7:24-6). Instead of obeying God by destroying the devoted things that belonged to the enemy, Achan stole and then buried them. Consequently, Israel, “hav[ing] been made liable . . ., [couldn’t] stand against their enemies” (v.12).
On the one hand, God certainly punished Achan’s children for their father’s sin, but on the other hand, it can be said that the sin of Achan hurt his children. While parents can hold to Ezekiel’s revelation in believing that the children do not share their guilt, that does not, of course, mean that the children do not get hurt because they do; just like the children of the Guerrero mother who fled.
No sin graphically illustrates this better than the sin of divorce: even the “no-fault” divorce hurts the children—a lot. Are you married? Do something nice this weekend to strengthen the marriage. Have you committed something wrong that affects others? Own up to it; rectify it today.
Prayer: Father, I confess that I continue to fall short of your holiness and righteousness. Because of it, I have hurt the very people whom I love. God, I need your help to turn this around. I look to You only to draw the strength I need to live a life that pleases You. Lord, minister to those whom I have hurt. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 14
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 Samuel 30:3-4, 6-10: When David and his men reached Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. 4 So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep . . . 6 David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God. 7 Then David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelek, “Bring me the ephod.” Abiathar brought it to him, 8 and David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?” “Pursue them,” he answered. “You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue.”
9 David and the six hundred men with him came to the Besor Valley, where some stayed behind. 10 Two hundred of them were too exhausted to cross the valley, but David and the other four hundred continued the pursuit.
Questions to Consider
1. What is the main reason the men wanted to stone David? What does this say about how they felt toward their children?
2. Two hundred men stopped searching for their kidnapped children on account of being exhausted, while the rest, who was just as tired, continued the mission and eventually recovered everyone, including the children belonging to the fathers who stayed behind. Describe how this kind of situation could have affected these children?
3. Why did these fathers make a choice that, in effect, was indifferent to the pains of their children? How is our Heavenly Father different from these fathers?
1. Each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. This shows that they really cared and were concerned about them.
2. These children had to be devastated, realizing that while other fathers risked everything to save their children, their own fathers chose not to rescue them. Since this was a matter of life and death, the effect of this de facto rejection wouldn’t have been resolved overnight.
3. This happened because these fathers put meeting their need to rest above the need of their families to be rescued from those who could have killed them at any moment. Yes, even parents can become supremely selfish, unlike the Heavenly Father who gave us His Son to save us.
As this day draws to its end, reflect on the faithfulness of our Heavenly Father who never does anything to harm us but always “looks” for ways to bless us. Thank Him.