Sunday, November 17, 2019

Sins Of The Fathers

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Among my initial assignments in ministry was to reach out to one local Jail Inmate who was to be transferred into a State Prison. Word of mouth spread, and within two years, I received referrals to about 500 State Prison Inmates. My electric typewriter and copy machine were busy printing up newsletters with Bible Studies and words of comfort and encouragement to for both male and female Inmates. Teaching tapes from my Senior Pastor followed.

What I learned was that most all were incarcerated for the bad choices they had made, not for their “criminal minds.” Educated, or lacking in education was not the issue. More often than not, they had (sometimes inadvertently) surrounded themselves with others that seemed to lack direction and discipline. 

“There but by the grace of God go I,” I would think to myself. Criminal behavior can be adopted for a variety of reasons, but then, God gifted us with the ability to reason through issues and choices to see where we might find ourselves in the future, envisioning the results of every decision. Learning to make righteous choices is also acquired from a variety of places: parents, role models, friends, and siblings all present examples. Good examples, or bad, nobody is worthless. We can learn from all. 

Into bondage, or into prison, one will long for the old days when life’s consequences were easier, and blessings more frequent. Many have learned these lessons the hard way: Inmates long to go home; the Jews heading to Babylon would long for Jerusalem again, and for the “old paths.” 

In this week’s chapter of Jeremiah, hardships abound as God’s tough love takes effect to woo the Jews, and to give them a longing desire to return to righteousness, obedience to God’s Word, and to Jehovah Himself. 

The prodigal Son of the New Testament languished in his bad choices for a short time. The Jews longed for Jerusalem for seventy years, but God’s eye was never off them. His purpose would be completed, they would be going home. Deuteronomy 31:6 – “...He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

“Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.” ~ Jeremiah 6:16

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