Chattel slavery, lynchings, and abortion: the iniquities of our forefathers

Chattel slavery, lynchings, and abortion: the iniquities of our forefathers

Do not remember the iniquities of our forefathers against us; Let Your compassion come quickly to meet us, For we are brought very low. (Psalms 79:8)

While we’re eager to condemn social justice warriors, we must remember Scripture again and again warns us that God doesn’t conform Himself to our puny standards of fairness and justice. His ways are infinitely higher and wiser than ours. So commenting on this prayer above, Calvin writes:

By the iniquities of former times, some understand the sins committed by the fathers. Others think that the sins which the supplicants themselves committed in their childhood and youth are intended.

But the expression, I presume, has a more extensive signification, containing a confession not only of one offense or two, and these only recently committed, but an acknowledgement that they had for a long time been involved, along with their fathers, in manifold and old transgressions. Thus they acknowledge a long continued stubbornness, in which they had hardened themselves against God.

…Nor should it excite our surprise to find the children praying that God would not impute to them the iniquity of their fathers, when we consider that the law declares that God casts the sins of the fathers into the bosom of their children, and takes vengeance upon their iniquities unto the third and fourth generation, (Exodus 20:5.)

The contrast between the expressions, make haste, and the iniquities of former times, is worthy of notice. Had God called the Israelites to a strict account for all the sins which they had committed during three or four hundred years before, the time of their deliverance would have been long delayed. The faithful, therefore, beseech him to forget their former offenses, and to make haste to succor them. As their sins proved the great obstacle and cause of delay, we may see the propriety with which they farther implore that the compassions of God might speedily meet them.

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About The Author

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Tim Bayly has been senior pastor of Clearnote Church, Bloomington since 1996. Married to Mary Lee, the Baylys have five children and twenty-something grandchildren. Tim's book on fatherhood is titled "Daddy Tried" and he is co-author of a book on homosexuality titled "The Grace of Shame.’

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