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May 22, 2009

Rising Above Our Forefathers

by Dave Malnes

People were asking for a change of course in the White House and they elected an untested, charismatic speaker in Barack Obama. People were looking for a change in the economy and a change in the war on terror. Perhaps our country needs is a total transformation and a change in direction in their lives and in their relationship with God.  Are we a nation that has begun to see the anger of God being played out? Are we a nation that must heed the warning to turn from our idolatrous ways?

It’s funny how things never change.

Much of the same types of issues were found in ancient times when a prophet was raised up by the name of Zechariah.

The word of the Lord came to Zechariah and he said, “The Lord was very angry with your forefathers. Therefore tell the people: This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the LORD Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the LORD Almighty.  Do not be like your forefathers, to whom the earlier prophets proclaimed: This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Turn from your evil ways and your evil practices.’ But they would not listen or pay attention to me, declares the LORD. Where are your forefathers now? And the prophets, do they live forever? But did not my words and my decrees, which I commanded my servants the prophets, overtake your forefathers?”   (Zechariah 1:2-6)

It is fathers that not only help to determine the physical characteristics of their children, but also play a huge role in influencing their spiritual characteristics. Children will not only bear family resemblances, but will also model the spiritual pursuits of their father if they are properly trained in the way they should go. When a father forsakes his duties, by providing a poor example not only in their spiritual life, but also in their daily life at home and on the job, he already has built a tough road for any child to embark on. The Bible says that the sins of the fathers can pass down to many generations.

The message given in the verses above is to change your ways. Turn from your selfish and evil ways. Change your minds and your attitudes toward God. Taking the context from the book of Zechariah, he is saying, “Change your minds about what is important in life. Get your priorities straight. Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you. As your fathers are examples of the wrath that comes and is to come on those I hate because of their sin, so also are they examples of the love that I show to those who turn.”

Throughout the Bible and throughout history, there are many examples of the Lord working circumstances so that they may return to him.  More often than not, it was through great adversity.  By sending turmoil, enemies, famine and destruction, can we get the attention of humans and show that there is a God who does extend mercy and love to those who call on Him.

We live in a culture today where our young generation must turn from the sins of their forefathers, to rise above the sinful and idolatrous examples of their forefathers and turn to God. And this is so difficult to do! It can only be the Lord who makes it possible for children to break loose from the stranglehold their father’s exampled have on them.

It can be done. We see it in the lives of people who live godly and faithful lives in spite of terrible examples at home. And we wonder, “Why do they do it? Why do they come to church?” The answer must lie in this verse. The Lord has impressed upon them the necessity of being better than their fathers.”

I pray for the future of our world and shudder to think of what type of culture and nation will my grandchildren live through. What type of judgment on their forefathers must they endure? I do know, however, that they can only through the power of God. And the future generations will be blessed by the choices and confessions they make today.

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