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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

6/22/11 Deuteronomy 5:8-9 Power of Punishment and Power of Goodness

8 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 9 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 10 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

1 John 5:21- "Little children, keep yourselves from idols." 

(Left Canaanite fertility godess Asherah)

Thoughts: Hauerwas and Willimon say that the punishment associated with this command is found in the sin of idolatry itself.  It is much harder to be complicated than simplistic- to have false gods than have the true one.  "Monogamy tends to take less work and far less rationalization than adultery. There are those who argue about the punishment of the children for the sins of the parents.  Yet, it is clear that sin is often handed down from one generation in learned tendencies or even genetic tendencies.  The child who has been abused is (wrongly) taught that this is how you treat children. There are many proofs that alcoholic tendencies are passed on.  Perhaps if we knew our sin would affect our children and grandchildren we would shape up more.  (cf. Ex. 34:7; Ps. 103:3).  This command also gives more weight to keeping the commands than breaking them.  Godliness in this sense, is more powerful than wickedness- for it affects the world longer. The light is clearly more strong than the darkness.

Prayer: May my love for you grow strong.  May my faithfulness to you flow to those who come behind me.

John Calvin Abridged: (on Dt. 5:10)- He does not promise faithfulness and justice to those who keep the commands, but mercy.  The most perfect among us should seek the liberal mercies of God.

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