TODAY’S BIBLE READING:
BIBLE VERSE(S) FOR TODAY:
Psalm 36:7 “How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.”
REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):
Did you know that you could experience negative consequences from God for a sin that you didn’t even commit?
That may not sound fair and it certainly doesn’t sound like something we are led to believe that God would do. But, God does this sometimes.
Leviticus 4:13 “If the entire Israelite community sins by violating one of the LORD’s commands, but the people don’t realize it, they are still guilty.”
Did you get that? The whole nation of Israel could be seen as guilty by God and they didn’t even know that they had sinned.
One specific illustration of this is found in the Old Testament book of Joshua. A man named Achan stole some items from Jericho when God had told them not to take anything. Most of the Israelites didn’t even know of his private sin. Yet, listen to the following verse…
Joshua 7:1 “But Israel violated the instructions about the things set apart for the LORD. A man named Achan had stolen some of these dedicated things, so the LORD was very angry with the Israelites…”
How do we make sense of this? Is God unfairly punishing us for someone else’s sin? Nope!
Ezekiel 18:20 “The person who sins is the one who will die. The child will not be punished for the parent’s sins, and the parent will not be punished for the child’s sins. Righteous people will be rewarded for their own righteous behavior, and wicked people will be punished for their own wickedness.”
God is not going to punish us for someone else’s sin.
So, how do we reconcile the original principle – that we can be declared guilty when someone commits a sin and we don’t even know it?
Simply put, God often looks at us as part of a group. When God see us, He may look at us as part of the group of our larger family. He may also see us as a part of our church. Or, He may see us as a citizen of our country. (The possibilities are endless.)
When a country sins and falls under the judgment of God, Christ-followers aren’t exempt from the trouble simply because they are Christians. As God moves against the nation, Christians will experience God’s disfavor, too. Why? Because they sinned? Nope. It’s because they are a part of the group that God is moving against.
When a church sins, even if it was 50-100 years ago, God’s favor may never be free to rest on that congregation until they repent. Even if those who committed the sin aren’t alive, the group they were a part of is not yet free to be blessed by God and anyone who partners with it will experience the same fate. Repentance – for a sin we didn’t commit and yet was committed by someone in our group – needs to take place.
So, what are we to do? We realize that we can experience negative consequences for our own sin AND the sin those in the group(s) we are a part of.
Simply put, repent. If you become aware of a sin that your church (family, business, school, etc.) committed years ago and you think that the group never repented of it, ask the spiritual leadership to lead in a time of corporate confession and repentance. Maybe you will find that in doing so that you will wipe the decks clean of any sin and God will be free to bless.