The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:6-7 ESV)
Perhaps we have not considered the “iniquity of the fathers” concerning antisemitism. The uncomfortable promise of perversity, depravity, or punishment being thrust upon us as a result of our forefathers iniquity is included in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:5), repeated in Exodus 34:6-7 (above), as well as Numbers 14:18, and Deuteronomy 5:9. Four times the Creator warns that our actions will affect our children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren.
Notice in the passage above that God precedes this declaration with His attributes of mercy, love, faithfulness, and FORGIVENESS! It is as if He is begging us to take advantage of these things!
Did any of you grow up hearing the phrase “let’s see if we can Jew him down” in conjunction your parents shopping for a car or home or some other intended purchase?
I heard it all my life and confess that I repeated it in absolute ignorance, never once connecting it with the Jewish people. It was only some years after I began to pursue Torah observance that it dawned on me what that phrase meant and that it was, at best, dishonoring.
My sin was completely unintentional. To my knowledge, no Jew ever crossed my path in rural North Carolina until I walked into an attorney’s office as an adult. One of the finest lawyers in my town happened to be Jewish, which made absolutely no difference to me. My parents never said derogatory things about the Jews. But, they did use that phrase, most likely because their parents did. And, like me, they apparently never imagined it could be harmful.
As we are considering the hurtful words and deeds of our forefathers (THE LIST) in this 40 days leading up to Yom Kippur 2018, forgiving them, and asking God to forgive us and them, it will be profitable to weigh the effect of their words on successive generations.
We discussed yesterday that Ignatius of Antioch (35-107 AD), a venerated church father, recorded that anyone who participated in a Passover seder was in league with those who killed Messiah (page 4 THE LIST). (I can’t help but wonder if that is the reason my pastor responded, when I informed him that I was going to a seder in 2004, that people who did so could not be saved. )
Less than 100 years later, Justin Martyr (100-165), another exalted church leader came to the conclusion that the Jews were originally selected by God because they were so thickheaded that they needed laws. He condemned the Jews for rejecting Jesus and accused them of killing Him, claiming the destruction of the Temple was their just reward. His words, passed down and accepted by his colleagues and unsuspecting flock, may well have been the flame that fueled Christian antisemitism, according to an article in Wikipedia.
No truer words were ever written, “Do you know know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?” (1 Corinthians 5:6)
The attitude we are repenting of today, Day 3, is the carnal tendency to vilify others in order to justify ourselves.
Merciful Father, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, forgive us and forgive our forefathers for evil speech. Help us to weigh our words like fine gold and to speak only that which is helpful, for Your glory, in Yeshua’s name we pray.
Lev 26:40-42 ESV “But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers in their treachery that they committed against me, and also in walking contrary to me,
so that I walked contrary to them and brought them into the land of their enemies—if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their iniquity, then I will remember my covenant with Jacob, and I will remember my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land.
John 20:22-23 ESV And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
James 3:5-6 ESV 5-6 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.
Ezr 9:7 ESV 7 From the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great guilt. And for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plundering, and to utter shame, as it is today.
[Neh 9:16-17 ESV] 16 “But they and our fathers acted presumptuously and stiffened their neck and did not obey your commandments. 17 They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them.
[Dan 9:8 ESV] 8 To us, O LORD, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you.