God is love - a Lenten series 16 God's love extends to a thousand generations

Exodus 20: 5b I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, 6 but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

versus

Ezekiel 18:20 The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.

According to Moses, God punishes children for the sins of their parents. According to Ezekiel, God does no such thing. (I wrote more extensively on this topic in 2014 here.) Even Jesus said to not forbid children to come to him. He did not care what misdeeds their parents had committed. One thing Ezekiel and Jesus did not disagree with Moses about is God's love for thousands of generations.

A little context is needed.

Previous to Moses, the great patriarch of the faiths is Abraham. His story is God approaches him and offers to bless him and his descendants to be a blessing to the rest of the world. (I wrote about this last week, Love is unilateral.) Because Abraham believed God he was given a unilateral promise from God. This faith is equated with being made righteous before God. Moses wanted his people to know they were still living under the Abrahamic blessing.

Now let's get literal. A generation is about 40 years. A literal 1000 generations is 4000 years. He lived about that long ago. How many righteous, God believing people have produced descendants since then? Basically, is there anyone on this planet today who would not be under God's steadfast love?

Not by proof texting this, but by looking at the example of Jesus we know God is love. It is God's nature to love. God cannot not love God's children. This is good news!


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