What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge? ~Ezekiel 18:2
I enjoy eating grapes, especially when they are firm, crunchy, and sweet. My favorite grapes are black and red. Sour grapes can be a challenge to eat, unless you like sour things. Generally speaking, sour grapes did not ripen long enough on the vine to allow the sweetness to develop. The Lord speaks about the fathers of Israel having eaten sour grapes and the teeth of their sons being set on edge. Let us see, this morning, a lesson on sour grapes.
We see the comparison.
Grapes were an important part of Judah’s economy. The Judean hills glistened with grapes that grew on the vine during harvest. The Jews had a proverb about the older men, the fathers, eating grapes. They had eaten sour grapes. Unless you have a palate that enjoys them, they are not appetizing to most people. Sour grapes just don’t feel as refreshing as sweet grapes. In addition, sour grapes are avoided and not considered as a first fruit of choice when other sweet fruits are available. However, in this proverb, it was not the father’s teeth that were set on edge; it was teeth of the sons, or descendants. In other words, the fathers were the ones who ate the grapes, but it was the sons who experienced the sour taste.
We see the conduct.
This proverb was used by the Jews to describe the conduct and sins of the nation. This proverb was saying that the fathers were the ones who committed sins (sour grapes), but it was the sons, or descendants, who were feeling the effects. It was a way of saying that, even though the fathers sinned against God, it was their descendants who were being punished. The fathers thought that they escaped any penalty for their sins of idolatry, disobedience to God’s laws, and neglect of His work. This proverb was teaching that God would get payback from their descendants.
We see the consequence.
God told them to no longer teach this proverb. It was an incorrect teaching concerning the consequences of sin. God corrected them by telling them that all sin committed by everyone has serious consequences. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” God made it very clear that each soul is individually accountable before God. “All souls are mine….” Every man has individual responsibility for his actions and decisions. God told them that the soul that sinneth, it shall ide. From the moment Adam and Eve sinned, the consequences of sin fell upon all men. “The wages of sin is death.” Sin has a terrible and fatal penalty, and that is eternal separation from God. The wrath of God on sin is eternal punishment in Hell. No one is excluded from sin’s penalty.
We see the clemency.
Sin is terrible. The penalty of sin must be paid in full by each sinner. However, we see God’s mercy at work in this. In fact, Paul said, “But God, who is rich in mercy….” Jesus Christ, God’s sinless Son, became the perfect Sacrifice and Substitute for the payment of sin for every sinner. His shed blood and death on the cross paid sin’s debt completely and left a zero balance. When a sinner repents of his sin and, by faith, calls on the Lord to be his Saviour, his sins are immediately washed away and he is forgiven completely. He receives eternal clemency and the gift of eternal life through the Lord Jesus. Every sinner must come clean to the Lord for forgiveness. “Sour grapes” is a consequence that every sinner will experience. The solution is faith in the saving work of Jesus on the cross for us. Place your faith in Christ today and receive His forgiveness and cleansing.
Have a forgiven God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Ezekiel 21-22