“Now may the Lord’s strength be displayed, just as you have declared: ‘The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.’ In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.”
The Lord replied, “I have forgiven them, as you asked. Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth, not one of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times — not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it. Since the Amalekites and the Canaanites are living in the valleys, turn back tomorrow and set out toward the desert along the route to the Red Sea.”
- Numbers 14:17-25
After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so Job died, an old man and full of years.
- Job 42:16-17
“Porkypine: Ah, Pogo, the beauty of the forest primeval gets me in the heart.”
“Pogo: It gets me in the feet, Porkypine.”
“Porkypine: It IS hard walkin’ on this stuff.” (as they sit down to look at the forest floor covered with litter and garbage)
“Pogo: Yep, Son, we have met the enemy, and he is us.”
- Walt Kelly, Pogo Comic Strip (first seen on Earth Day, 1971)
Note that in the first Scripture, Moses is pleading for the people, telling God that He is slow to anger and willing to forgive our sin and rebellion. Thus, it is Moses speaking to God when referring to the sins of the father being punished to the third and fourth generation. Yet, in the case of King Ahab, Jehu arose to kill the family line of Ahab, 2 Kings 15:12, and God granted him the kingdom of Israel, the northern tribes, for four generations. But Jehu was a bloody ruler, and he did nothing to clean up the horrible religious practices. His family line only lasted four generations on the throne.
We know from Scriptures that we all sin and fall short. We know that if we confess our sins and repent, God is faithful and just, forgiving our sins (paraphrasing 1 John 1:9). We are each held accountable for our own sins, but there is generational baggage that needs to be dealt with on occasion. The ultimate promise is that once we genuinely turn to Jesus, repent of our sins, and become true believers, trusting in Jesus for everything, God will forgive us of our sins and never remember them again, even those that have yet to occur.
But that being said, there are consequences for some of our sins. Murderers and thieves go to prison. We get into financial trouble and we might pay dearly to the third, fourth, or fifth generation to get out of the hole that dear old grandpa put the family in. That is not God’s punishment, but then again, mankind is not as forgiving as God can be.
But God can be very forgiving. He can reward those who are faithful to Him, such as Job, who got to see four generations of “Job-ites.” God is indeed slow to anger and abounding in love.
But this article is not about any of that – sort of. It is not about the Earth Day comic strip for Pogo in 1971. The first Earth Day had been the previous year in 1970. I was not quite 18 years old in April of 1970. In September 1970, I registered as a freshman in college and our pie-eyed excitement regarding chemical engineering caused our entire class to talk more about saving the planet than creating new chemical compounds of improving production of what was already being made. I don’t know about the other people in my small group of chemical engineers, but I did a little of all of the above. I know two of them went on the careers in environmental engineering.
No, I am not even talking about that, but that speaks of a bridge between the protestors of the 60s and 70s and those clean-cut kids that quietly got down to doing something about what others simply protested about. A lot of what I have written about over the past nearly four full years has knitted together in my brain with some of the recent books that I have read, mostly Being the
Good Bad Guys by Stephen McAlpine, and recent documentaries that I have seen. I highly recommend McAlpine’s book.
No, in the midst of the Civil Rights movement of the 60s, people were also protesting the Vietnam War, the inequalities between men and women in the workplace, and environmental issues. The Love Canal pollution issues were suspected in the late 60s, but the trials and admission of guilt did not happen until the mid-70s. It was in the same timeframe when aerosols were largely eliminated to save the planet and then they changed it to ridding the atmosphere of chlorinated- fluorinated hydrocarbons to save the world, then refrigerants. Then, oops, that was wrong, and the list of emission no-no’s expanded.
Whenever I have gotten on these topics, I have talked about the history and how so much happened during my high school and college years. And then I read a book by someone from Australia who detailed how the secular society of today is “instantly” hostile toward Christians, and we have suddenly become the bad guys. Instantly? Suddenly? Rev. McAlpine thinks not.
Rev. McAlpine talks about how this movement has been going on for some time, might I say for a few generations. It is kind of like boiling a frog. That analogy has been used before. If you drop a frog into boiling water, the frog will simply jump out. But if you drop a frog into room temperature water and then slowly heat the water, the frog will not notice the rising temperature until the heat has zapped him of his strength and he is unable to jump out. And that is how we got here. We made compromise after compromise in order to keep peace with our non-believer neighbors until we had become silenced in many ways.
But who are the masterminds behind it, other than Satan? It could be a number of people, and I have heard many suggested, but who are the messengers? We are. Often, good Christians join a cause for the cause’s sake not understanding the underlying reason beneath the cause or the political platform of the organizing body that creates the catchy protest slogan. But in all my moments of looking at the 60s and 70s, it never dawned on me that the people in leadership today, political and industrial, are the protestors of the 60s and 70s, or the protestor-want-to-be people, or the children of those people who wanted to grow up to be just like Mom and Dad.
“We have met the enemy and he is us!”
The counterculture rebelled against the basic way of life in the 60s. It was not just the Vietnam War. It was the mundane life that Mom and Dad had sunk into after Dad returned from World War II and/or Korea. In most cases, the father worked in the local mill; the mother worked in the home; and the two and a half children went to school, preparing to do the same thing when they got old enough. The protestors said, “No way. We want a different destiny.” For many, the rebellion lasted their lifetime. For others, many left the movement and found their places in corporate America or other countries. But even then, they felt that they had not been faithful to the counterculture movement.
Many of these rebels would say that they tried Christianity in their youth, and it did not work out. Then the church changed their views on many points to bring them back, but the rebels had tried Jesus and Jesus had failed.
No, if anyone accepted Jesus without reservation, Jesus does not fail them, and they become new creations. In my experience, when you have any doubt, any reservation at all, you are showing a lack of faith. It takes a total commitment, thus many can honestly say that they “tried” Jesus and Jesus failed, because they never really had Jesus. Like Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5), they held out hope in something else while “trying” this Christian thing. True believers never want to return to their old lives. A thought might creep in every now and then, but they do not act upon them. Jesus is all they really want.
That makes those who “tried Jesus” even more angry, anger against Christians and anger against the God that works for those Christians and did not work for them. Then those who truly believe do not make it better by arguing about the changes in the world.
It is not like there is an uninhabited continent where the Christians can go. The Americas were not uninhabited and while some settlers worked well with their native counterparts, on the whole that mix of cultures was a disaster. But not everyone who settled in the Americas was a true believer. Slavery came to the colonies. And even within Christian groups sin was there. And then the philosophers of the modern-day use Jesus’ argument of the yeast spoiling the entire batch of dough against modern Christians. The argument that the average settler in the New World was seeking religious freedom does not fly too well when compared with the blood on our hands.
So, the protest movements of 50 years ago are all still going on. Some have been steadily progressing, others progressing in spurts when the opportunity arises.
The United Nations initiatives for climate change have been deemed impossible to achieve if there is not global governance, with that as one of their short-term goals.
Look at the manifesto of most of these protest movements. They want a global governance that abolishes God, abolishes the nuclear family of father, mother, and two and a half children, and abolishes many of the freedoms we now enjoy in favor of the government taking care of them.
The protest movements of the 60s did not dissolve. They entered the corporate world and politics, and they have taken over many aspects of society, including a near total control of mainstream media – brainwashing the next generation of leaders.
“We have met the enemy and he is us!”
But as Billy Graham said. He had read the last page of the Bible and it turns out just fine. But in reading the pages before that, to borrow a Bette Davis line from All About Eve (1950), it might be a bumpy ride.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.