The Sins of the Fathers
by Ayodeji Jeremiah
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Lamentations 5: 1-18
When describing the evil ways of all the kings of divided Israel from Nadab the son of Jeroboam down to Hoshea the last king under whom Israel was taken into exile from which they never returned, one peculiar phrase is noticeably used in the Bible to describe their conduct: ďand he walked in the way of Jeroboam and in his sin which he made Israel to sinĒ. (1 Kings 15: 25, 33-34, 1 Kings 16: 18-19, 25-26, 1 Kings 22: 51-53, 2 Kings 10: 28-29, 2 Kings 13: 1-2, 10-11, 2 Kings 14: 23-24, 2 Kings 15: 8-9, 17-18, 23-24, 27-28 and 2 Kings 17: 21-23). Among these evil kings is one that God even used to clean up the idolatry that Ahab had instituted in the land. Because of this act, God promises Jehu that his family shall occupy the throne of Israel up to the fourth generation and God kept his promise notwithstanding the evil ways of him and his sons. No better opportunity was given to Israel to repent of the sins of Jeroboam than that given to Jehu. However, while Jehu took care of every other evil thing in the land of Israel he did not take care of the sins of Jeroboam (2 Kings 10: 28-31). In the above text, the Prophet Jeremiah is offering a prayer of mercy to God and in it is confessing the affliction, the disgrace and the despondency of the Jews under their Babylonian captors. What brought them to this situation can be found in verse 7 of the above text and in Jeremiah 16: 10-11.
After seventy years of exile had been completed by the Israelites in Babylon, Daniel in Daniel 9: 1-19 repented and confessed the sins of their past. After the return to Jerusalem, Ezra and the returned Jews also made a public confession of the sins of their fathers in Nehemiah 9: 6-37. From time to time as Christians, we tend to fight battles that we do not know their origin. Things which our fathers have done suddenly rise up one day and start chasing us all over the place. We look for commonsense answers to some problems but what we get are implausible explanations. Some sins, habits, illnesses and failures just seem to run down the line from generation to generation. Though we are now operating under the New Covenant, everything in our lives both in the past and in the present no matter how small or unimportant must be brought under the cover of the blood of Jesus. Until we do that we give the devil a legal ground for using that thing whatever it may be against us. That is the whole purpose of confessing the sins of our fathers and taking care of our past. We ensure Godís mercy upon our lives no matter how grievous the past may be because we have brought it under the blood of Jesus. (See also Jeremiah 31: 29-30 and Jeremiah 31: 34)
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