‘The word of the LORD came to me: What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, ‘The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? As I live, says the Lord GOD, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. Know that all lives are mine; the life of the parent as well as the life of the child is mine: it is only the person who sins that shall die.’ (Ezekiel 18:1-4 NRSV)
The whole of this chapter expands upon these opening four verses, and it is well worth a read!
Who is responsible for their sin? A person themselves, their parents or their children? And likewise, who will be punished for that sin? In this chapter Ezekiel lays the facts out as they are, God holds each person accountable for their sinfulness or righteousness, and neither can it be passed from one generation to the next.
‘The person who sins shall die. A child shall not suffer for the iniquity or a parent, nor a parent suffer for the iniquity of a child; the righteousness of the righteous shall be his own, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be his own.’ (Ezekiel 18:10 NRSV)
It is true that the life choices of one generation may influence the life choices of another generation, but ultimately each person is responsible for themselves before God.
What about generational curses you may ask? Paul Scanlon has written an excellent blog on that, here is the link Generational Curses or Choices, like Paul I also believe that in Christ we all start again from square one!
For me the Israelites in the days of Moses and Joshua are all the examples we need as to how God deals with each generation.
Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt and through the Red Sea, yet they still had their hearts in Egypt and made false god, the golden calf, while Moses was still on Sinai with God! God prevented that generation from entering the Promised Land because of their sin, despite all he had done for them!
The next generation was born just before the Exodus or in the wilderness. The male children were not even circumcised, so great was the lack or concern for the things of God shown by Moses’ generation. Yet it was this generation that entered the Promised Land and served God until all those who had seen God working had died! The generation after them turned away from God once again.
If God had judged the following generation by the acts of the previous one then the story might have been very different!
I have been planning on writing this post for about a week or so but have only just got round to it, and this is definitely something on God’s heart at the moment. Why? God is moving the UK into a new season, and a new generation is coming to the fore. Yes, there are still Joshuas and Calebs who have been waiting and believing for change for a long time , but many others have lost their faith in what God has promised.
It is 45 years this year since Jean Darnall first gave her prophecy concerning revival in the UK, to read it follow this link Jean Darnall Prophecy. We are not there yet, although there are pockets of fire breaking out, but God is on the move in this land in a new way.
It is imperative that we pray with a new level of urgency and of expectation for God to move and revive this land. If you struggle to do that, then ask God’s forgiveness for your lack of faith and ask him to renew your faith and he will! Whys is this so important? I shall let Ezekiel have the last words, I can put it no better than this:
‘For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says the Lord GOD. Turn, then, and live.’ (Ezekiel 18:32 NRSV)
Heavenly Father, forgive us when we have doubted your ability to revive this land and help us to pray and seek your heart with renewed fervour so that we might burn brightly for you. In Jesus’ name, Amen!