Generational Patterns and Punishment
By Joe Keim
November 1, 2012
Does the thought ever occur to you that, as a parent, you are doing more than just raising ONE generation of children and then you're done? The point I'm making is: what you do or don't do with your children will have a direct impact on the outcome of your grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.
So the questions is: how do you want your great-great grandchildren (people you will never meet on earth) to live and believe?
- Do you want them to live for and serve God with a passion? Then teach your own children to live for and serve God with a passion.
- Do you want them to focus on money, work and material things? Then teach your own children to focus on money, work and material things.
The point is that you and I are not only teaching and training our own children, we are teaching and training future generations, even though we will never meet them face to face on this earth. This truth should cause us to be even more concerned how we teach and train our children today.
With that said, let's do a Bible study on how God says our lives will affect our children up to a third and fourth generation. Let's start with three questions.
- What would you feel like if you knew that God was going to make your children pay for a sin that you committed?
- What if the punishment for your sin carried through to four generations?
- How would you feel if you learned that you were being punished by God for a sin that your great-great grandfather committed?
My guess is you would answer those three questions the same way I would by saying, "That does not seem fair at all!"
In Exodus 20:5, the Bible says ...I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting (punishing) the iniquity (sins) of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation
Since the context of this Old Testament Scripture is specifically talking about the sin of bowing to graven images and following other gods, let's discuss it. Some would say, "I have never bowed to a graven image, nor have I followed anyone other than the one true God."
Before you become too comfortable with that thought, let me ask you to consider some other facts. People very seldom think of money and possessions as a god; however, Jesus was very quick to point out that our material things can replace God and become our master.
Matthew 6:24: No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon [material things].
Friend, Jesus speaks about two masters, God and materialism. And as the Scripture points out, when it comes to serving one or the other, there is no middle ground. It is either one or it's the other. You cannot serve both at the same time.
When both masters call upon the man at the same time, he has to make a choice. He favors, serves, helps, and loves one; and while he is doing so, he is disfavoring, rejecting, and showing disrespect and hate for the other. A man cannot serve two masters.
You see, there are only two treasures for us to latch onto in this world: the earth and its treasures or God and His treasurers. Which one are you latched onto? You can tell by becoming totally honest and asking yourself: which one do I get the most excited about? Which one do I know best?
People who follow and serve the material god more than the Lord God make God so jealous and angry that He promised Moses He would punish the sin all the way through to a fourth generation.
I would like to go a step further and say that there are many other types of sins (or sometimes known as curses) that can be passed on to our children and beyond.
- Have you ever seen a family where the father has a problem with uncontrollable anger, his son seems to have "inherited it," and the grandpa had the same problem?
- Have you noticed that not only do some suffer from fears and/or depression, but so did the mother and/or father.
- Do you know someone who struggles with sexual lust, abuse and addiction? Chances are, if you know the previous generation well enough, you will find that this curse was a hand-me-down.
Lamentations 5:7 says Our fathers have sinned, and are not; and we have borne [been punished for] their iniquities [sins].
Exodus 34:7 says The Lord... visiting (punishing) the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.
The previously mentioned patterns are not a learned behavior but rather hand-me-downs from generations as far back as our great grandparents. Consider for instance: often people who were adopted end up with the same negative patterns as their birth parents, not because they were around their birth parents to learn how they behaved, but because they inherited their spiritual bondage.
Some other types of symptoms that are passed on from previous generations are:
- Family illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease.
- Financial difficulties.
- Mental problems.
What is the purpose of a generational curse and punishment?
I believe the reason God punishes future generations with the sins of their fathers is because of God's bitter hatred of sin. He knows that one of the most prized possessions we have is our children. Therefore, it makes (or should make) living in a continual sinful lifestyle harder to do, knowing that you are not the only one that is being punished for it, but also your children are going to pay the price for your foolishness.
The price for generational curses has been paid!
Do you have to carry the curses and punishment from previous generations or is there a way out? I have good news for you. The answer is you can be delivered and freed from every negative pattern (curse) you are dealing with. Why? Because God said so! You see, the apostle Paul writes that Jesus Christ was made a curse for us.
Galatians 3:13: Christ hath redeemed (delivered) us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
Once you give your life over to Christ and believe in Him alone for the salvation of your soul, you will immediately be freed from every curse and stronghold that was transferred to you from previous generations.
Jeremiah 31:29-30: In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity:
The very moment you are born into God's family, you are also given power to overcome any and all strongholds and curses, no matter how great and powerful they are. Note however, the power to overcome is not in your own might, but rather in the might and strength of Christ.
Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
2 Corinthians 12:9: "...My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness."
Romans 8:37: Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.
2 Corinthians 9:8: And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
Confess what is rightfully yours.
Here's a great sample confession prayer you can use to do just that:
In the name of Jesus, I confess the sins and iniquities of my parents, grandparents (name specific sins if known), and all other ancestors. I declare that by the blood of Jesus, these sins have been forgiven, and Satan and his demons can no longer use these sins as legal grounds in my life!
In the name of Jesus and by the power of His blood, I now declare that all generational curses have been renounced, broken and that I am no longer under their bondage!
In the name of Jesus, I declare myself and my future generations loosed from any bondage passed down to me from my ancestors. AMEN!
In conclusion, I would like to share the flip side of generational curses and punishments.
What if God was so honored by your life of obedience to Him that He decided to go beyond just blessing you personally? What if He also chose to extend those blessings on your children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, great-great grandchildren and great-great-great grandchildren, all because of YOU! Well, I would like to assure you; that is exactly what God said He would do.
Exodus 20:6 says: And shewing mercy unto thousands [generations] of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
-- Joe Keim
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