Visiting the Iniquity

You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. Deuteronomy 5:8-10.

Every young man has probably flinched at the words, “You’re just like your father!” It is part insult and part warning. And it is true that some sinful tendencies are learned from our parents. But God does not put them there, any more than the sarcastic relative or neighbor puts your lesser traits on you. The word that is translated “visiting” from the original language could also be rendered as “observed,” or “noticed.” If a mere human can notice your father’s faults in you, so can the almighty.

So we must choose sides. Will we embrace and defend our inherited weaknesses? Or will we renounce and reject them and let God be our father? When His commands come in conflict with our sinful nature, we must bow our knee to the commandment.

Many years after these commands were given, Christ came and took our punishment for sin. When He died, we died with Him. When He was raised to new life, we were raised with Him. But this benefit, and the power that comes with it, requires our faith in this supernatural event before we can enjoy it. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.

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