Monday, December 11, 2006

Generational Curses Through Disobedience

"It is my life, after all." How many times have I said this statement? Probably a little less than the times I thought - "It is my life", but it is a lie. Our rationalizations affect not only our lives, but the lives around us. It can even affect centuries of generations.

"And Samuel said to Saul, "The LORD sent me to anoint you king over his people Israel; now therefore hearken to the words of the LORD. Thus says the LORD of hosts, 'I will punish what Am'alek did to Israel in opposing them on the way, when they came up out of Egypt. Now go and smite Am'alek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.'" 1Samuel 1:1-3 RSV

So God set Saul as king of Israel and ordered him to destroy Am'alek sparing not a woman, child or even their livestock. At first glance, this passage portrays a ruthless and hard hearted God possibly leaving questions and unrest in the mind of Saul.

" And Saul defeated the Amal'ekites, from Hav'ilah as far as Shur, which is east of Egypt. And he took Agag the king of the Amal'ekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep and of the oxen and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them; all that was despised and worthless they utterly destroyed. " 1Samuel 1:7-9 RSV

So we see that Saul did not obey the Lord's command to destroy everything and we should question - What did God know that Saul did not?

"After these things King Ahasu-e'rus promoted Haman the Ag'agite, the son of Hammeda'tha, and advanced him and set his seat above all the princes who were with him. " Esther 3:1RSV

"Then Haman said to King Ahasu-e'rus, "There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from those of every other people, and they do not keep the king's laws, so that it is not for the king's profit to tolerate them." Esther 3:8 RSV

Haman was a direct descendant of the spared Agag and we find him in the book of Esther coercing the king of Persia into ordering the execution of all Jews in their land. So we see that Saul's disobedience centuries before now threatened the people of Israel.

God knew the future, and knowing, he wanted to protect his people by ordering Saul to destroy all of the Amalekites. However, even Saul's sin was covered by the mercy of God. Esther was now the Queen of Persia and she called the people of Israel to fast for three days. She then presented herself before the King at great peril to herself as no one comes before the King unless summoned. The King finds favor in Esther and accepts her presence in court. So Esther invites the King and Haman to a banquet.

"Then said the king, "Bring Haman quickly, that we may do as Esther desires." So the king and Haman came to the dinner that Esther had prepared. And as they were drinking wine, the king said to Esther, "What is your petition? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled." Esther 5:1-7 RSV

"Then Queen Esther answered, "If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request. For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to be annihilated. If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have held my peace; for our affliction is not to be compared with the loss to the king." Then King Ahasu-e'rus said to Queen Esther, "Who is he, and where is he, that would presume to do this?" And Esther said, "A foe and enemy! This wicked Haman!" Then Haman was in terror before the king and the queen." Esther 7:3-6 RSV

"And the king rose from the feast in wrath and went into the palace garden; but Haman stayed to beg his life from Queen Esther, for he saw that evil was determined against him by the king. And the king returned from the palace garden to the place where they were drinking wine, as Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was; and the king said, "Will he even assault the queen in my presence, in my own house?" As the words left the mouth of the king, they covered Haman's face. Then said Harbo'na, one of the eunuchs in attendance on the king, "Moreover, the gallows which Haman has prepared for Mor'decai, whose word saved the king, is standing in Haman's house, fifty cubits high." 10 And the king said, "Hang him on that." So they hanged Haman on the gallows which he had prepared for Mor'decai. Then the anger of the king abated." Esther 5:7-10 RSV

God saved the people of Israel from death and destruction in spite of Saul's sin, and since we know that God is consistent, he will save the people of Israel once again from the descendants of the Amalekites - Iran.

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