Grapes have always been one of my favorite fruits. I mainly prefer the red seedless variety and often add them to enhance a chicken salad or fruit salad recipe. However, I’ve never been fond of sour grapes, and if you’ve ever bitten into one, you know how acidic they can be. The scripture below is a comparison of sour grapes and sin.
The word of the Lord came to Ezekiel and said. “What do you people mean by quoting this proverb about the land of Israel: “The parents eat sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge?” As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel. For everyone belongs to me, the parent as well as the child–both alike belong to me. The one who SINS is the one who will die” (Ezekiel 18:1-5 NIV).
What the Father is saying here is, He is not going to pass the parent’s sins down on their children. If the children are righteous, they will live, if the parents are wicked, they will die. But if the parents are righteous, they will live, and if the children are wicked, they will die. Their children were born in Babylon. After the exile, the children of Israel were taken to a foreign land, and they had children there. My generation has had children in Babylon.
My mother and father’s generation are dying off. That generation is in their late 60’s, 70’s and 80’s now. They are a passing breed. They were born before the baby boomers in the late 30’s. This group of men and women worked hard. They worked hard as children, and they worked even harder as adults. They didn’t backtalk or expect things from their parents. They were mostly farmers and factory workers, but a few were educated.
My father had one pair of overalls for school and one pair of shoes. My dad’s lunch pail had a biscuit in it and if he were fortunate, a piece of ham or sausage. Ignorant to unclean meats maybe so, but he was thankful. He walked to school, yes miles, as in plural. He didn’t complain. My mother walked too, they made their way to a one-room schoolhouse and they prayed, and they read His Word, and then they were taught.
If the children were naughty, they were taken outside, and they got a switch for misbehaving or a ruler swat. None of the parents thought it was wrong; they went by God’s Word; “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them” (Proverbs 13:24). The rod is not necessarily a belt, or switch off a tree, but discipline no less. Today parents are thought cruel or are even arrested for trying to discipline their children.
Teachers didn’t sleep with their pupils back then; they taught them. Pupils didn’t come in with guns and murder their teachers and classmates. No, it was a different time. A time when you said, “Yes Sir” and “No Ma’am.” It was a time when you found out Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor over the radio, not on CNN.
At night, the children gathered around that radio, and they listened to the Old Gospel Hour. Parents didn’t have to worry about them listening to songs with cursing or sexual content; it didn’t exist. Television was not screened– it was clean and mostly religious programming. Now, many families gather around and watch mostly filth. If the shows not filthy, then the commercials are. Idols are everywhere in Babylon.
My father worked the same job all his life. He had the same wife, and we were drug to “church” every time the doors were opened. We had prayer every night for our meals at the dinner table at five o’clock, and sometimes we had Bible study before bed. Every night at seven o’clock sharp, my father excused himself and went to his room for an hour to be with the Father. I remember this about my dad. It stuck with me.
How sour have our grapes gotten? Because each generation has become more lawless, it’s hard to tell. The word for wicked in Hebrew is a word that means to not work in the divine order it was created. I can’t get everlasting life holding on to the back of my father’s coattails. All the prayers he has said, all the missionary work in Ecuador and Mexico, only count for him. Being a deacon and Elder, praying over the sick and teaching the youth, those are his works. He does ministry at nursing homes, and at hospitals. Yes, those are his works, and faith without WORKS is DEAD.
“if a man does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, does not commit robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with clothing, 8if he does not lend money on interest or take increase, if he keeps his hand from iniquity and executes true justice between man and man, 9if he walks in My statutes and My ordinances so as to deal faithfully—he is righteous and will surely live,” declares the Lord GOD” (Ezekiel 18:7-9 NASB)>
“Then he may have a violent son who sheds blood and who does any of these things to a brother (though he himself did not do any of these things), that is, he even eats at the mountain shrines, and defiles his neighbor’s wife, oppresses the poor and needy, commits robbery, does not restore a pledge, but lifts up his eyes to the idols and commits abomination, he lends money on interest and takes increase; will he live? He will not live! He has committed all these abominations, he will surely be put to death; his blood will be on his own head” (Ezekiel 18:10-13 NASB).
People express grace, and yes, we are saved by grace through faith, but we will be judged by our works and deeds.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10 NASB).
“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality”( Colossians 3:23-25).
It’s time to spit out the sour grapes. It is time to get busy working while its still light.
Photography by Andrew Yisrael