FAITH BLOG

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BREAKING THE CYCLE

In the Scriptures we are told that sin can have a lasting effect on subsequent generations (Ex. 20:5; Deut. 5:9). We see this principle played out in families where alcoholism, physical or sexual abuse has taken hold—unless checked, those same patterns can show up in the children and grandchildren. 
 
But in today’s OT reading in Ezekiel 18, the people of Israel have taken that principle and twisted it into a lie: “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge.” (Ezek. 18:2) From the inside, this lie say that there’s no escape from the cycle. From the outside, this lie says that people who come from that cycle are worthless—just unredeemable, damaged goods. On both sides, there’s an implication that God isn’t fair.
 
God speaks directly to this lie in the rest of the chapter, giving hypothetical scenarios of people who are righteous or evil—and each is rewarded according to their deeds. At the end, God sits us down and tells us what we need to hear:
- God will judge each person fairly. (v. 20)
- Be careful when you wish for fair judgement. Remember the quality of your own character. (v. 25, 29)
- God is more interested in our turning away from evil in repentance than in condemning us. (v. 23, 30-32)
 
Are you affected by this cycle of sin and pain? Understand that God is fair and merciful, and wants us to be free from it—that’s why Jesus came (1 John 3:8)! Let the Holy Spirit empower you and give you both the desire and ability to live in freedom of life and peace (Romans 8:1-8).
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THE SONG OF THE REDEEMED

My friend David was sharing the other day about the need to cultivate thankfulness in our lives. It’s so important for us as believers to share what we’re thankful for, to tell others: “God has done this for me.” It helps strengthen our faith when we see that God is hearing and acting on the behalf of our brothers and sisters in Christ. 

 

That’s definitely the case in the first section of today’s OT passage (Isaiah 12:1-6). Isaiah looks forward to the day when those who have been redeemed will praise God in song, telling people everywhere—to the ends of the earth—what God has done. As Christians, this song takes on a special meaning because there’s a prophecy hidden in it:

 

- During the festival of tabernacles, the priests would walk down from the temple and draw water from the pool of Siloam, pouring out the libation on the altar in reference to Isaiah 12:3: “with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” 

- Some 700 years after this was written, Jesus — whose name can be translated “YHWH saves” or “God is Salvation” (see Isaiah 12:2) — called out during the feast: “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:37-38)

 

We as Christians have drawn water from the springs of salvation. Rejoice! Be thankful! And share what God has done for you.

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