|Volume 19 Number 2 February 2017||
Adam and Eve
From the time Adam and Eve disobeyed God, the human race continues to sin against Him. Rather than listen to God, Eve chose to listen to the serpent; Adam chose to listen to Eve. Through that choice, sin entered the world. S-I-N is why we are in the perpetual mess that plagues each of us daily throughout our lives.
Cain and Abel
The first time the word “sin” is used in Scripture, God was talking directly to Cain. When he realized that God had no respect for his offering, Cain became very angry and his face fell (Genesis 4:5). Genesis 4:6-7 reads, “The LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it’” (ESV).
Then, Cain spoke to Abel, and when they were in the field, Cain rose up against Abel and killed him. When God asked Cain where was his brother, Cain lied and said, “I do not know.” He compounded his lie with arrogance in his question to God, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9). First John 3:11-12 tells us why Cain committed this despicable act. “For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.”
God gave Cain every opportunity to confess and repent of that sin, but he chose not to acknowledge his sin in any way. Cain did not, however, get to choose the consequences of his sin. God asked him, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground” (Genesis 4:10). Cain first sinned against God—the giver of life. He, then, sinned against Abel by taking his life.
Cain’s sin brought brutal consequences. God said, “So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth” (Genesis 4:11-12). Think of it; Cain, the firstborn son of Adam and Eve, a bum on the run!
“And Cain said to the LORD, ‘My punishment is greater than I can bear!’ [Really?] Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me” (Genesis 4:13-14). God removed all such thoughts from Cain’s mind as He told him of the further consequences he would bear as a result of murdering his brother. “And the LORD said to him, ‘Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.’ And the LORD set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him” (Genesis 4:15).
Sodom and Gomorrah
The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah were an abomination in God’s sight! The possessions of Abram, his herdsmen, Lot and his herdsmen were so massive that they had to separate from each other because the land was not able to support them. Abram gave Lot first choice of the whole land, and they separated from each other. Genesis 13:12-13 reads, “Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom. But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the LORD.” Genesis 18:20-21 records, “And the LORD said, ‘Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know it.’”
Sodom and Gomorrah was the hub of deviant sexual perversion as noted by the outcry and the treatment of the two angels God had sent to those cities. Lot had invited them into his home, and the men of the city came from every quarter and surrounded the house. Genesis 19:5 says, “And they called to Lot and said to him, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally.’”
Lot pleaded with them not to do such a wicked thing, but they refused to listen. Lot even offered his two virgin daughters to these men, pleading with them not to do anything to his male guests, but they still refused to listen. The men of the city attempted to break down the door, but the angels pulled Lot into the house, shut the door, and struck the men at the doorway with blindness.
The angels directed Lot, his wife and his daughters with the greatest of urgency to get up and get out of the city because the Lord would destroy it. In Genesis 19:13 the angels said, “For we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it.” As Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, he seemed to be joking (Genesis 19:14). When Lot, his wife and daughters were out of the city, “Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens. So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground” (Genesis 19:24-25).
Joseph and His Brothers
Joseph’s brothers were driven by their feelings of envy because of the favoritism of their father, Jacob. Genesis 37:3-4 reads, “Israel [Jacob] loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age. Also he made him a tunic of many colors. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him.”
The occasion arose that Jacob sent Joseph to see if all was well with his brothers who were away from home feeding their father’s flock. When his brothers saw Joseph coming, they conspired against him to kill him. Reuben, the oldest, talked them down from that and suggested they put Joseph in a pit. His intent was to deliver him out of their hands and bring him back to his father (Genesis 37:1-22). Judah had the idea to sell Joseph to Ishmaelite traders, who took him to Egypt. When Reuben returned and learned what his brothers had done, he was totally distraught! They deviously devised a story or lie to deceive their father into believing that Joseph had been devoured by a wild beast. Jacob mourned for many days and refused to be comforted (Genesis 37:23-35).
In Egypt, Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there (Genesis 39:1). Genesis 39:2-3 reads, “The LORD was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all he had he put under his authority.” God blessed Potiphar’s house and all that he had for Joseph’s sake. Potiphar left all that he had in Joseph’s care, and he did not know what he had except for the food that he ate (Genesis 39:5-6a).
Genesis 39:6b-9 notes:
Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. And it came to pass after these things that his master’s wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, and she said, “Lie with me.” But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand. There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”
Joseph immediately recognized that succumbing to an illicit sexual encounter with Potiphar’s wife would have been a sin against God first—not Potiphar!
Joseph’s refusal did not deter Potiphar’s wife one iota. Her pursuit of him continued day after day, but he continued to refuse her. One day when he went inside to do his work and none of the men of the house were inside, she caught him by his garment saying for him to lie with her. Determined to stay true to his God and his moral conviction, he left his garment in her hand and ran out of the house (Genesis 39:10-12)!
David and Bathsheba
In 2 Samuel 11 is the account of King David who had an adulterous encounter with Bathsheba, who was the wife of Uriah, the Hittite. Uriah was one of David’s 37 mighty fighting men (2 Samuel 23:39). Second Samuel 11:1-2 reads, “It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel… But David remained at Jerusalem. Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold.”
David inquired about whom she was; David sent for her; she went to him, and they had a sexual encounter. Bathsheba returned to her house, but she had conceived. So, she sent and told David. Therefore, David sent to Joab, the commander of his army, and told him to send Uriah to him. Uriah came to David, whereupon David began asking how Joab was doing, how the people were doing and how the war was going (2 Samuel 11:7).
David, then, put his conniving scheme into action. He urged Uriah to go and be with his wife, but Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants and did not go to his house! So David asked Uriah why he didn’t go to his house. Uriah said that as long as his fellow warriors were dwelling in tents and encamped in open fields, he would not eat, drink and lie with his wife. David further manipulated that situation and got Uriah drunk. However, Uriah went out and slept on his bedding with David’s servants, but he did not go to his house (2 Samuel 11:8-13).
The next day, David wrote a letter and sent it by the hand of Uriah. The letter instructed Joab to set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and draw back from him so that he would be struck down and die. Joab did as he was commanded, and Uriah died (2 Samuel 11:14-17).
When Bathsheba heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. 2 Samuel 11:27 records, “And when her mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.”
God sent Nathan the prophet to David, who told him about his sins of adultery and conspiracy to commit murder. Nathan said to David:
Thus says the LORD God of Israel: “I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul… And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more! Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon.” (2 Samuel 12:7-9)
Psalm 51 is perhaps the most penitent utterance of repentance for sin ever expressed by King David. Verses 1-5 overflow with the full acknowledgment of his sin and his pleas for forgiveness.
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your loving kindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight—that You may be found just when you speak, and blameless when You judge.
Sin is not a bad characteristic; sin is a behavioral choice! God looks upon sin as a personal affront, an insult and disrespect—the highest offense—because it cost His Son His life! Any and all sins we commit are first committed against God. That stark, grave and most profound, inescapable reality should give us pause as we reflect upon our relationship with our Creator.
Living for Christ Modestly
Martha Lynn Rushmore
When we become Christians, we are saying to the world that my life is to be for Christ and not for Satan. I am going to live and act differently than I did before I put Christ on in baptism.
How do you live for Christ as a Christian woman? Maybe you are a daughter, a wife, a mother, a mother-in-law or a grandmother? As Christian women, we can be more than one of the above at any given time. We must remember how we live and act lets others know if we want to live for Christ or for Satan! We are being watched by our families, friends, acquaintances, neighbors and even by others that we have never met. Let us think, act and live more like Christ.
Living for Christ as a teenage young lady is hard because one wants her classmates and especially the boys to like her. Sometimes we let wanting to be popular with our friends lead us down the wrong path of life. We dress or should I say undress, go places and do things that are not becoming of Christians. We should be a better influence on our friends instead of letting them lead us to be more like the world. Unfortunately, our dress can be revealing with low cut tops, spaghetti straps, exposed midriffs, short-shorts or miniskirts. At other times, we may wear pants that are so skintight that there is nothing left for boys and men to imagine. Unfortunately, this applies to ladies of all ages, whether thin or heavy. This kind of dress is sinful because it is immodest.
In 1 Timothy 4:12, Paul wrote to the young, “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” Young people, you can have a great influence on the older generation—as well as upon your peers!
Unfortunately, mothers and fathers do not teach their teenage daughters to dress properly. The daughters are permitted to leave the house improperly dressed. We as parents have a very grave responsibility to teach our teens how and why they should dress properly. We as parents are to lead these young ladies to respect themselves and most importantly to respect God’s Word. Therefore, parents ought to dress modestly, also. We cannot expect our teens to dress properly if we as parents neither teach them nor set the right example.
First Timothy 2:9-10 reads, “In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.” The definition of modesty is not bringing excessive attention to oneself. We should dress in a way that professes godliness. This verse is for all women of all ages and all women around the world.
Older women are to teach younger women through instruction and example. Paul penned in Titus 2:3-5, “The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things—that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”
Ladies, let us all put on holiness—living for Christ and not living for Satan. Our souls depend on our way of life! The souls of our daughters may very well depend on our way of life, too.