Saturday, 8/ 13/16
For the First Commandment in the account of the ten commandments in Exodus, 20, we read, “I the Lord, your God am a jealous God, inflicting punishment for their fathers wickedness on the children of those who hate me down to the fourth and fifth generation.”
That led the centuries that came after Moses to believe that no matter how hard people tried to lead good lives, they would still be punished for the sins of their fathers. That idea gave rise to a proverb, “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.”
For fully appreciating that proverb it helps if you have tried eating sour grapes only to have your lower teeth involuntarily grind back and forth against your upper ones.
Today’s reading from Ezekiel tells us to no longer quote that proverb with its implication that God punishes the innocent children of parents who have sinned. No, God holds us responsible only for what we personally have done wrong.
You might ask,” If it isn’t so, why did the Book of Exodus tell us that innocent children are punished for the sins of heir fathers?”