The passage I highlighted from today’s One-Year reading was one of the shortest. It was only a sentence, picked out of the second extensive census of the families of Israel. This is after several plagues laid out against Israel by their own arrogant, presumptuous disobedience. One of the more notable rebellions was Korah’s rebellion, where he accused Moses of being an iron-fisted and cruel leader, abusing God’s people — making aims to illegitimately overthrow God’s leader, who had been nothing but good and obedient for their sake. Korah and his cronies faced God’s judgement, swiftly and justly.

In this second census, the clans and families of the Levites are counted, and the incident with Korah is quickly mentioned. Korah and his followers are recorded as a dark point, albeit important for Israel to remember. Right after a summary of Korah’s sin and the supernatural judgement, there is one sentence that stood out to me:

“But the sons of Korah did not die.” (Numbers 26:11)

The God of Israel was and is a just God, who did not arbitrarily curse the children of a mortal who offended him, as some pagan deity of countless mythologies would. The punishment (death) fit the crime (attempted insurrection against God’s chosen leader). But that is as far as it went; the descendants of Korah were not held responsible for the sins of their father.

I thought and thought and something came to me. God does not hold you responsible for the failures of your parents. Maybe you were (or are) blessed with remarkable and godly parents, who were humble and good and treated you like royalty. But maybe you didn’t. Maybe they were perennially sinful and hurt you. Maybe you feel guilty, like you weren’t a good son or daughter, and that you deserve to feel badly for the bad they did before you.

“But the sons of Korah DID NOT DIE.”

It is God’s prerogative to judge and call to account, to set things right. It is not up to you to eat up your whole life by looking back at what they did, to see if you could have done better. If He says you are redeemed, that you do not bear the fault of the people who came before you — then you don’t. The sons of Korah were not held responsible for the sins of their father, and they lived.

God doesn’t blame you. There will come a moment where they stand before God for their sin. You won’t be there. He’ll look at your life based on what YOU did, or what YOU didn’t do. Look to the good you can do right now, not the bad that those before you did before.