Tuesday, February 14, 2012

generational consequences

My God will reject them because they have not listened to him; they shall be wanderers among the nations.
Hosea 9:17

This is exactly the fate that the tribe of Ephraim met for their unfaithfulness to God. They rejected the Lord. He rejected them. They were given ample warnings through the ministry of the prophets and yet they continued to practice gross idolatry, sacrificing their own children in worship to false gods. But when God acted in justice, they would know it painfully and in many ways quite personally.

The thing that I notice in this chapter is the generational impact of both sin and consequential suffering. The Ephraimites involved their children in idolatry. At times they even murdered their young children at altars to appease false gods. God was angered by the lengths to which they went in their love for idolatry. They did evil acts and committed to sin at levels of commitment that were evil and that God would never ask of them in worship of Him. God promised to judge in a generational way as well. They were willing to kill their sons and daughters. God would take away entire families when this justice came to Ephraim. Their sin wiped out the lives of future generations. Their judgment would impact those generations too.

Families would be uprooted by the Assyrian army. History shows us that the Assyrians were particularly brutal and tortuous. Israel would be led away (Ephraim among them) to Assyria having watched their own families murdered in wartime atrocities committed gleefully by their captors. There in Assyria they would simply fade away as an ethnic identity, absorbed into a violent and idolatrous culture. The fact is that they still continue to wander among the nations even today. They never got back what they lost.

This generational impact of sin and judgment is fearful. There is no other way to accept it but with fear. It chills me to the bone to know that my sins can affect the spiritual lives of my own children. Consequences can be generational, but the love of Christ can transform the results. The flipside is that the love of God and the life of holy discipleship can leave a positive generational impact. And that is what I am living for today and every day I have on this earth!

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