The sins of one generation can affect those of the next generation. How detrimental are sins like drunkenness, anger, and child abuse? They can have long-lasting adverse effects and sometimes cause children to follow in their parent’s wicked footsteps. As Lamentations 5:7 says, “Our ancestors sinned and are no more, and we bear their punishment.” In Psalm 79, Asaph pleaded with God concerning the repetitive sins of God’s people that have brought about consequences to everyone. Not only have the evil ones been captured with their city destroyed, but so have their innocent children. Asaph prayed, “Do not hold against us the sins of past generations. May Your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need.” Our sins bring consequences that we and those around us must bear.
Asaph hoped to plead with God for intervention. He pointed out those who “defiled the holy temple” and “reduced Jerusalem to rubble” (v. 1). They did this against the Lord Himself. Although this was the people he loved, the city in which he lived, and the temple where he worshipped, Asaph used the word “your” to show how they were God’s enemies. These wicked people have invaded God’s inheritance, defiled His holy temple, left dead the bodies of His servants, and harmed the flesh of His own people (vv. 1-2). Asaph recognized these attacks occurred because the people of God continually sinned. He hoped God would rescue His people and show them mercy and kindness. While the wages of sin is death, there is a gift of God in Jesus to rescue us from the penalty of sin (Romans 6:23).
Asaph’s cry was “How long, Lord?” (v. 5). Sin can have long-lasting results, but so can holiness. The seeds we sow spring up and bear fruit that can bring life or death to our lives and those around us. Asaph felt the devastating penalties for sin and pleaded with God for leniency and compassion. He cried, “Help us, God our Savior for the glory of Your name. Deliver us and forgive our sins for Your name’s sake” (v. 9). Asaph desired God’s mercy for God’s glory. That should also be our desire. Asaph’s request for mercy for God’s people and retribution for those who hurt them (vv. 10-12) was not rooted in selfishness but holiness. He hoped to lead God’s people away from sin and once again back to worshipping the Lord. He desired that “We, Your people, the sheep of Your pasture, will praise You forever from generation to generation we will proclaim Your praise” (v. 13). It is never too late to turn back to God and seek His forgiveness and mercy. Repentance can change the course of future generations and cause them to be worshippers of the Lord.
- Are your actions causing future generations to sin or worship?
- Are you asking the Lord for mercy and forgiveness because of your sins?
- Do you desire His mercy for His glory or your selfishness?
Lord, help me to worship You. I do not want my children and their children to suffer the consequences of my sin. Where I have sinned, grant forgiveness and mercy. Please help me to lead my family in a way that produces a legacy of worshippers. Thank You for giving me compassion and kindness. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.
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