Sins of the Father

Today’s Bible passage is going to come from Genesis 26. Genesis 26:7 says, “And the men of the place asked about his wife. and he said, ‘She is my sister’; for he was afraid to say, ‘she is my wife’, because he thought, ‘lest the men of the place kill me for Rebekah, because she is beautiful to behold.'”

If the lie of “she’s my sister” seems familiar, it’s because it is. You may be think that Genesis 26 is recounting the lie that Abraham told a few chapters back. While it is the same lie, this isn’t a recounting of Abraham telling it; this is Abraham’s son, Isaac telling the same lie. The amazing thing about this story is that the circumstances for Isaac are similar to what they were for Abraham when he told this same lie. Not only were the circumstances similar for both, but so was the reason for the lie. They told the lie to preserve their life.

I believe this story along with Abraham’s gives us two very important warnings. The first is we must guard our heart and life. Solomon wrote in Proverbs 4:23, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Our attitudes, words, and actions spring forth from what is in our heart. Jesus said in Matthew 15 that every sin begins in our heart. This leads to the second warning, and it is geared towards parents, but also other Christians. The warning is this, our words, attitudes, and actions don’t just affect us. What we say and do affects those around us. In Exodus 20:5, “For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me.” This doesn’t mean that God will punish the children for sins that their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents commit. In fact, God says that He won’t do that in Deuteronomy 24:16. What it means is that the consequences of our sin extend down for generations. The primary way this happens is that often what the parents struggle with, their children will struggle with to some degree if not even more than their parents. It reminds me of what I heard Pastor Jonathan Falwell say years ago, “what one generation does in moderation, the next will do in excess.” This certainly speaks to parents, and should give us pause in what we do, especially in front of our children. But it also extends to those who identify as Christians, because people are watching and listening to us. And in doing so, they are deciding what God is like, and is He worthy of their love and devotion. Therefore, when we gather together in the church building for worship or events, our children, teens, and others are listening and watching. I like how one of our Bible study teachers here at WBC put it; Adam said, “Kids in the church are looking around and deciding if they stay in church, what will they become like?” As I told him after he finished teaching that morning, “brother, that will preach!” It’s not meant to be a condemnation, but rather a loving warning from a loving heavenly Father that we are more influential than we think we are, so let’s influence people towards Christ.

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

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