Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Posts tagged ‘sin’

The First Three Sinners

It’s a new year, and I’m starting to read through a new Bible.  (This one is the “God’s Word” translation.  I enjoy reading different versions because it lends freshness.  It will be given to one of my grandchildren later with all my notes and markings.)

Each time I re-read this precious Book, I ask the Author to teach me something I hadn’t seen before, or that I had forgotten.  And He does!  Here’s what I saw this morning in the first chapters of Genesis:

Did you realize that of the very first three people who lived on the earth, each of them were given special instructions by God about something they should not do, each chose to do it anyway, each was visited by God for reprimand and punishment (banishment)—but was not killed.

I think this chart helps me see it better:

Chart of sins in Gen 3-4

 

What an amazing God we have—full of love, wisdom, justice and mercy! 

Who’s Watching You?

Black boxes, white boxes, this and that government agency spying on everyone… It’s quite disturbing really.  But you know what?  There’s Someone who knows my thoughts and my words even before they exist!—and who sees everything I do and has even planned out my life!  And do I think that’s scary?  No!  I am happily secure in the confidence that the all-wise, all-powerful and everywhere-present God loves me enough to care for me in that way. 

He knows my weaknesses–my pride, laziness, rebellious attitudes, fear, cynicism—and yet He loves me unconditionally.  What’s more, He assures me that He’s working on my character so that by the time I finally get to see His face, I’ll be exactly what I’ve always wanted to be:  perfect in His sight.  This is what keeps me going through ho-hum and challenging days when the news reads like a horror movie.  I’ve read the end of the story (Revelation chapters 21-22) and it’s good!

So go with me, Lord, into this day. 

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.  (Psalm 139:23-24 NLT)

When People Decide What Is Right

Speaking of sordid stories—the current headlines have nothing on the final chapters of the book of Judges which I read recently with growing loathing.  The “disclaimer” says, “In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.” (17:6 & 21:25)  Since they had already turned away from God in favor of pagan gods, these are the sorts of things that seemed “right” to them:

Abimelech killed 69 of his half-brothers and convinced the people of Shechem to make him their king solely on the grounds that he was their relative.  The whistle-blower went unheeded.  After three years, the citizens finally caught on that they’d made a poor choice.  Abimelech cared only for himself and for power, not for them.  But when they resisted, Abimelech slaughtered them all and demolished their city. (He met his end when a woman dropped a big stone on his head.)  (Judges chapter 9)

Micah stole 1100 pieces of silver from his mom.  When she found out, she blessed him (!) and dedicated that silver to be made into an idol for him to worship!  He made other religious trapping to go with it and even hired his own priest to serve his manmade religion—concluding that the Lord would bless him for it. (Chapter 17)

An unnamed man went to retrieve his runaway concubine.  On the way back home, they overnighted in the territory of Benjamin.  That night they were thronged by a gang of perverts who gang-raped the woman and left her dead.  The man rounded up an army from all over Israel to take revenge on the Benjaminites, who refused to hand over the culprits.  After three bloody battles, 40,000 of the Israelites were dead and 25,100 of the Benjaminites—all but 600 of them. Then, feeling sorry for their “cousins” whom they had almost wiped out, the Israelites sat down and wept and then took more drastic measures to procure wives for them.  (Chapters 19-21)

That’s enough!  Enough to make one sick!  These are the kinds of things that happen when people do what they think is right.  Are we any different today?  Should we be surprised at how low society stoops when they have turned their backs on God?

One more story, though.  After all the sordid stories of Judges, I turned the page and breathed a sigh of relief!  There is Ruth, a bright spot of faithfulness and hope in the midst of all that darkness.  God was still at work, preparing the way for the Savior who would be Ruth’s descendant. Interestingly, it was a foreigner (she was a Moabite) who showed this unfaithful nation the faithfulness of God.

Sinfully Sweet Tomatoes?

Sinfully sweet tomatoes

What is sinful about sweet tomatoes?  Now, the fruit that Adam and Eve ate may be called “sinfully sweet” because God had forbidden it.  But tomatoes?  Did God say not to eat sweet tomatoes?  (My husband might say so in jest, since raw tomatoes are definitely not one of his favorite foods.)

We did a quick search of current usage of “sinful” on the Internet, yielding these results, among others:

Sinful Colors—a line of fingernail polish. 

A certain kind of wine:  “Delicious!  So good it must be sinful.”

A recipe:  “Wow, I don’t know if banana bread can get any better than this!          Every bite was the ideal combination of sweet and salty! Sinful…fantastically sinful…”

What makes something sinful?  Is the advertiser trying to imply —
–that sin is fun?
–that God doesn’t want us to do enjoyable things? 

Either of these messages is blasphemous to the character of God who loves us, knows what is best for us, and gives us all good things to enjoy.  It also perpetuates Satan’s lie in the garden that sin is fun, tasty, and cool.  (After all, you’ll be like God!)

So if God provides you with sweet tomatoes, rich chocolate desserts or yummy banana bread—eat moderately and enjoy Smile.  It’s not a sin!  On the other hand, if something is truly sinful (offensive to God), it’s better to make tracks in the other direction!  Let’s not make the mistake of associating sin with enjoyment.

How Far Can We Go?

Since when is it “cool” and “progressive” to commit and tolerate sin?  Why are those who live within God’s laws viewed as weird?  Why are those who push the limits farther and farther admired and worshipped as heroes? 

To go back to my first question, I think the Garden of Eden would be the answer.  Eve certainly was persuaded that disobeying God would be the cool thing to do.  After all, she must have been so bored with exploring all the delights of paradise that God had provided for her enjoyment, with petting tigers and playing with bears, that there was nothing left to do but the one thing that God had forbidden.  But think of the consequences–not only to her but to all humankind!

Who are some others who defied God and paid dearly for it?

–Noah’s contemporaries: totally evil, corrupt, violent, & depraved. (Gen 6:5-13)  Drowned in a worldwide flood!

–The residents of Sodom & Gomorrah:  “extremely evil,” & “wicked.” (Gen 18:20)  Cremated by a heavenly holocaust!

–The nations of Israel and Judah, first tolerating and then indulging in the disgusting acts of their neighbors such as religious prostitution and child sacrifice. (Does this sound like anything in our culture?)  Finally, after centuries of patient warning and pleading, God had it “up to here,” and cruel nations were allowed to destroy them.

Psalm 1 contrasts the lives and destinies of those who honor God and those who mock Him:

1 Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners,
or join in with mockers.
2  But they delight in the law of the LORD,
meditating on it day and night.
3  They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do.
4  But not the wicked!
They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.
5  They will be condemned at the time of judgment.
Sinners will have no place among the godly.
6  For the LORD watches over the path of the godly,
but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.  (NLT)

Through the Red

Did you ever play “password”?  Each word on the list is obscured by red marks so you can’t read it.  That is, until you insert the list into the blue plastic sheath.  Then  the red screen neutralizes the marks and reveals the true shape of the original words.

Password

Take this as a picture of a human being marred by sin.  But when that one is “in Christ” and covered by His blood, all that God sees is what He originally intended that person to be.  No more ugly defacing sin—only Christ’s righteousness!

The Appeal and the Real Deal

This is the second in a two-part series on the temptation of Eve in Genesis 3. Last week’s posting dealt with Satan’s slick salesmanship. 

Now let’s look at Eve’s perspective.  What did she see (verse 6)?

–Physical appeal:  good for food.  (Hmm…Did Satan say “sinfully delicious”?)
–Aesthetic appeaI:  pleasing to the eye.
–Intellectual appeal: desirable for gaining wisdom.

When she ate it, did it live up to the advertisements?  What happened to her and her husband? 

Alienation
— from their own selves (They covered themselves.)
— from God (They hid from Him.)
— from one another (They blamed someone else for what they’d done.)
— from nature (“Cursed is the ground because of you..It will produce thorns and   thistles for you….)

And pain
–To the woman: “In pain you will bear children.” (Gen. 3:16)
–To the man:  “In pain you will eat food from the ground.”  (Gen. 3:17)

Now, was it worth it? 

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