Friday, August 2, 2013

Getting Back to Basics

In yesteryear's beauty pageants a question of the finalist always yielded a similar response "My desire for mankind is that we have world peace!" That was the answer most sought after by the pageant judges! That's as noble as it gets!

We all want world peace!  We want the killing to stop. We want our leaders to get along. We want partisan politics for the good of the nation. We want crime to stop. We want a society where child abuse and rape is non-existent! We want people to quit fighting over money. It goes on an on. Just think of what you want for mankind. I bet it's one or likely all of these things!

When did it all start? This jealousy, hate, selfishness, pride and hate?  I just noticed the negative connotation in all these words. God created us in his likeness, and surely that's positive, but now we're filled with negativity! I'll skip right over the "original sin" part. Most of us know the disobedience of Adam and Eve and the consequences.   What next?

Genesis 4:7 "If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. 8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. 9 And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?"
Cain, a dirt farmer, and Abel his brother, a shepherd, presented their offerings to God. I won't go into detail, but Abel presented to the Lord the best of his herd. On the other hand Cain brought some of his harvest. Both made a sacrifice, but Cain's was apparently offered out of  duty, not of respect. God didn't respect the offering because of Cain's countenance.
Countenance?  That's just "mood". We all know what that is? Cain just didn't offer God his offering with a right heart.  We see immediately how wrong Cain's heart was because out of jealousy his anger aroused to the point that he killed his younger brother! Then he immediately lied to God about it! He told an  outright lie, and a added a sidebar to try to fool God. "Am I my brother's keeper?"  Let's take a look at all the sins committed by Cain:
1) His offering was not of the "blood". Blood is a sin offering. Although grain was also used as an offering it was merely a "thank you" offering. Grain offerings were always offered secondary to the animal offering. God was due his offering for being gracious!  By withholding an appropriate offering, Cain stole from God. What became the "Eighth Commandment", "thous shalt not steal".
2) Cain's offering was disrespectful. We don't know how, but it as the attitude or mood in his offering. We are to make offerings to God cheerfully, not begrudgeonly. Cain placed himself over God. He violated what became the "First Commandment', "thou shalt not have no other gods before me."
3) "Cain rose up". He had malicious intent. His anger got the best of him. What probably caused the anger? Jealousy. Cain being the older brother was in a position of higher esteem since he was due his birthright. God recognized the offering of the younger brother with respect, not the eldest. Jealousy is what became the "Tenth Commandment", "thou shalt not covet"!
4)  Cain slew Abel. He broke what was to become the "Sixth Commandment", "thou shalt not kill".
5) Cain lied. (This is what people have annealed today and call "spin")/ He replied to God "I know not" when asked where Abel was. This violates what was to become the "Ninth Commandment", "Thou shalt not bear false witness".
6) And lastly, what "law" did Cain violate when he wise-cracked "Am I my brother's keeper?"?  He violated the greatest commandment and it's corallary Matthew 22: 37b "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." He showed a lack of love for God and a lack of love for his brother. In violating the "Greatest Commandment" he violated them all!
What "negative" personality traits or behaviors did Cain display? selfishness, jealousy, anger, lying, murder and blasphemy. Why does evil exist? Evil exists because mankind does not respect the desires, no commands, of God!  Mankind is most interested in the propagation of "self". Man wants what he wants. Man lives for pleasure, power and greed!
Unfortunately, Cain was not the last man to stand in the way of peace. Since that day mankind has repeated this activity, one I will call "The Wicked Commission". We think of Nebuchaddnezer, Pharoah, Caesar, Genghis Khan, and Hitler as leaders who caused world turmoil. They were certainly "Cain-like" in their behavior and all stood in opposition to world peace.
However, there are also "Little Cains"!  Those are the people who are Cain-like in their own personal small world. These are the people who "flip you off" because you make a driving error. They get angry because you're more prosperous than they are.  They dislike you because you have an education, or conversely, because you don't. They're angry because you have  a better family life and  perhaps a trophy wife. There are millions of reasons these folks are "Little Cains" because rebellion dwells in the hearts of mankind!
You may see that the people to whom I've referred are un-Godly, non-Christians even. However, there is a stench in the Christian world as well!  Why do you think we have church denominations? It's because we listen to and follow others instead of Christ!  (I confess that it's good to leave heretical churches and those which denigrate Christ and Scripture, but on non-substantial doctrinal issues, it's silly, even prideful!)  In essence, we are saying "I have pride in my interpetation and if you don't agree with me you're doomed!"  Woe are any who place pride over love. Yes, we can disagree, but leave room that each one of us may err!  The Bible is full of doctrine. Much of it is hard to understand because God is a mystery. We're just not meant to know everything, but we're always ready to put God in a box!  God cannot be defined. God just IS!  He doesn't follow scientific theories nor principles; he created them!
In writing this immediate text, I am making points to which I believe I am correct. However, I must leave room that I may not be. I've been wrong before and I may be wrong now. However, I seek my positions from Scripture in full context. I try to look at all related scripture. Sometimes I still don't get all the light. Please consider my thoughts, but realize that we may differ. You and I may use the same Scripture, but understand it differently. One is wrong, but each are sincere!
I attended a church recently which disagreed with me on one point of doctrine. When I was questioned about it by the pastor I replied "We'll find out when we get to heaven." I was trying to take pride out of the equation and remain amicable. The preacher got angry and ostracized me! That is a "Cain-like" attitude!  Shortly, thereafter that pastor resigned in a sex scandal. When a person sins there are other complementary sins? It's like cancer. When the primary location of cancer is found, there remains hidden secondary, even tertiary sites! Sin works the same way! Sin is "cancer of the soul".
Let's get back to basics! We're all wrong! We all sin and we all deserve death! Rhetorically speaking: If I'm a post-millenialist, so what? I'm saved and will someday be glorified!  So what that I like music in church? I'm still a child of God!  So what? So what? What is love of God and love of others! That's the basics we're to get back to! Love changes things! That's the basic idea.

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