Friday, November 6, 2009

Blessings.


I'm trying to read a book of the Bible every day.  (Not just the short ones.)  I'm not going to do it forever (I can't), but while I have the time, I thought it would be a good discipline.  Yesterday, I chewed through 1 Kings.  All 22 chapters.

Solomon's gift of wisdom makes me pretty jealous.  I'd like to think that if God told me to ask for anything I wanted, that I'd ask for a discerning heart and the ability to distinguish between right and wrong as Solomon did, but I just don't know.  Right now, I'd be more likely to ask for a clear path and a memory charm.  (Fail.  I know.)

Something jumped out at me as I read.  You know how God tells Solomon that if he continues to follow the statutes and commands laid out for him, he will be blessed with wisdom, riches, long life, and honor?  Yeah.  It seems so simple.  God says, "If you do this, you can continue to have this."  And Solomon is like, "Great."

But not so simple.  The next part of this story always reminds me of those lines from Gilbert & Sullivan:  "Of all the woes that curse our race; There is a lady in the case."   Remember Solomon's foreign wives?  He had like 700 of them.  Well, they served foreign idols, and I suppose, to stay on their good side (but that's no excuse), Solomon began to construct idols for the "detestable gods of Moab and the Amorites" around Jerusalem.  And his wives offered burnt incense and sacrifices to their gods.

And the Lord said to Solomon, "Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates." 

Now, get this part: 

"Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime.  I will tear it out of the hand of your son."

If I've learned anything this past year, it's that sin has consequences.  Of course, when I was young, my mom would tell me, "Be sure your sins will find you out," (ominous) and I figured that when (not if) I was found out, painful consequences would ensue.  But, after committing a few offenses that completely went over my parent's radar, I began to get self-assured.

At that young age, I didn't realize one very important fact: God sees everything.  Like, everything.  And He's called the Righteous Judge.  Whatever man fails to see and punish, God still sees.  And God punishes sin.

The thing that gets me here, though, is not just that God always punishes sin....it's the way God chooses to punish sin.  I mean, look at this!  Solomon was the one who sinned.  And God chose to punish the next generation -- Solomon's offspring.  They suffered for something they had no control over.  And Solomon was spared because his father (David) obeyed the Lord - and the blessing (for his obedience) was extended to the next generation.  

Have you ever heard the song, "Generations" by Sara Groves?  I probably listened to it a hundred times before realizing what she was singing.  I'd explain the words, but you'd probably lose the beauty.  So here's the song.

I can taste the fruit of Eve. 
I'm aware of sickness death and disease. 
The results of her choices were vast. 
Eve was the first, but she wasn't the last. 
If I were honest with myself, had I been standing at that tree,
My mouth and my hands would be covered with fruit. 
Things I shouldn't know and things I shouldn't see

Remind me of this with every decision.
Generations will reap what I sow. 

I can pass on a curse or a blessing
To those I will never know.


She taught us to fear the serpent. 
I'm learning to fear myself and all of the things I am capable of 
In my search for acceptance, wisdom and wealth. 
To say that the devil made me do it is a cop-out and a lie. 
The devil can't make me do anything when I'm calling on Jesus Christ 

To my great-great-great-granddaughter, live in peace. 
To my great-great-great-grandson, live in peace.

How often do we really think about the next generation?  The generations to come after them?  To be perfectly honest, when I sit here and try to think about how my great-great-great grandson's life could be affected by my obedience or my sin, it's kind of hard to care.  Who is my great-great-great grandson?  (And isn't the Lord going to return before that guy makes his appearance anyway?)

Regardless,  we've been given a clear picture in Scripture of how the Lord chooses to delay His blessings and curses.  (Think Moses, Joshua and the Children of Israel: the Lord promised to deliver the Israelites to the Promised Land, but because Moses sinned (by not trusting the Lord enough to honor Him before the people), he was cursed and Joshua was subsequently chosen to lead the Children of Israel into the Promised Land.  He (eventually) fulfilled His promise to the Israelites -- and blessed them; He just did it in an unexpected way.)

Today is the day to begin praying for the generations to come.  Pray that blessings, not curses, will follow you, and that your offspring and their offspring and the offspring to come after that will receive the favor of the Lord because of your obedience.



3 comments:

Malachi said...

i need the wisdom of solomon too! i never thot about prayin for my grandz, but thats a neat idea! god bless!

Chris said...

Excellent thoughts. We as humans tend to think very little about the generations to come. This should not be.

Sherri said...

I'm afraid I've passed on curses, not blessings. :-/