When Someone Strikes You

Have you ever had anyone say something to you in such a vile manner that it left you wondering what you did to provoke such hatred and such wickedness? If so, you are not alone.

Recently, I had someone leave a review of something I had written. It was, to say the least, seething with anger. Each line of her criticism, was meant to tear down something that I had worked on for years. Her statements were exaggerated and inaccurate, but it didn’t matter because she was able to do so with nothing more than a few keystrokes, typed behind the cover of her computer for everyone to read. Her unjust rant would do what it was meant to do, namely put doubt in other people’s minds about what I had written. It left me wondering and thinking about it for days.

The more I thought about how easy it is for people to sit behind a keyboard and type out hateful spews and go on rants, the more I thought about Jesus Christ. He was not immune to hateful outbursts, nor was He immune to others saying things that were inaccurate about Him. He was the King of receiving insults and attacks and, in the end, He died because of the hatred leveled against Him. But little did all the haters know that His death was actually part of God’s plan to bring about Salvation- even to them!

Yes, Christ was the ultimate receiver of hate! He was the one that I had to turn to for an example of how to deal with people who behave in such a manner. One of the passages that I found where Christ teaches about this is found in Luke 6:28-29. It states: Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also.

Blessing those who curse us and praying for those who mistreat us is very difficult. He didn’t say it would be easy. He just said to do it. And honesly, I did. I prayed for this person. Not a spiteful prayer like that her computer would break or anything like that – though I was tempted! But I prayed for her salvation. Surely someone who spews hatred so easily is a very unhappy person and probably doesn’t know Christ, and if she does, well…she has some cleaning to do in her spiritual house.

The other thing that I did was absolutely nothing. I turned the other cheek. I didn’t respond to her, even though I wanted to! Everything in me wanted to reach out, but I didn’t. I remained silent. After all, that is what Christ tells us to do. This is another hard thing to do because you don’t get the opportunity to clear up any inaccuracies, lies, or anything else that is being said. You simply say nothing.

My mother used to love the saying, “The cream rises to the top.” Many of you might not know where that originated from, but many years ago, (No, I am not that old!), milk was delivered in glass bottles to your home. The “watery” part of the milk would settle while the good, thick, yummy stuff – the cream- would rise to the top. That became an analogy over time to mean that the best or the truth of a situation will eventually come to light. I cannot tell you how many times that this has proven to be the case.

Didn’t that happen with Christ? He prayed for God to forgive the very people who insulted Him, beat Him, mocked Him, and killed Him. He didn’t argue even when standing in front of Pilate. He turned the other cheek. He took the beatings, the earthly humiliation, and then died a brutal death on a cross. But in the end, He arose from the grave and is currently sitting at the right hand of God the Father. His silence while He was walking on earth speaks heavenly volumes today, doesn’t it? Would it have mattered if He tried to debate those who hated Him and spoke lies about him?

And so I want to encourage you today that if someone is speaking lies about you or criticizing you for something that is unfounded, take a step back. Instead of inflaming a situation, do your best to follow the example of Christ. Remember, you are the cream! You can and will rise above the situation!

Proverbs and the Wise Old Owl

Remember when you were a child and you would watch cartoons on a Saturday morning? (That was the life wasn’t it? ) Thinking back on some of those cartoons, I am reminded of some of the stupid antics that the characters would do – like blow themselves up and only walk away with a black mark on their stomach or some such nonsense. And in other cartoons, there was the wise old owl who would sit on his perch pompously watching the antics of the others. He was always the one that everyone went to for advice. What’s odd is that we always associate wisdom with age. After all, we do call him the wise old owl. But did you know that owls only live about twenty years? Not so old, is he? And what about in the old westerns where there was always that one man, whom everyone knew about, that lived up in the mountains? He was the one who was considered wise – like the patriarch of a family.

So what does an owl who lives approximately twenty years and a patriarch have in common, and is it only owls and old men that are wise? That’s such a silly question, isn’t it? Of course it is. But do you know the difference between wisdom and knowledge and does knowledge give you wisdom? I actually started thinking about this after reading some of the Proverbs.

Knowledge is something that is learned. I can learn the law, medicine, or finance, and be very skilled in those or any other subject. I can have a Doctorate in Law, but that doesn’t mean that I am wise. Book knowledge does not equate to wisdom. Take for example an attorney that commits a crime. You cannot tell me that they didn’t have the knowledge of the law to know and understand that they were breaking it. They certainly did. What they lacked was wisdom to understand that they were not above the law, that their actions would hurt those around them who loved them, and that they would go to jail, just like any common criminal. They did not consider wisdom as something to be gained.

A very true story about someone who discarded wisdom was King David. He had everything a man could want. He had money and women, fame, and power. But he wanted more. He was not content with what God had given him, and he wanted what wasn’t his to take – namely another man’s wife. Just like the attorney in the previous paragraph, David knew exactly what he was doing. He simply didn’t care. He threw away his relationship with God, didn’t care about the long term results, and went after momentary pleasure, which then culminated with deception and murder. Unfortunately, as he found out, you can’t just push God to the side, and so, it all caught up with him, and David was punished. Sadly for the child, its life was lost in the process, too

Wisdom is something that was so important, that Solomon wrote a great deal about it in the book of Proverbs. In Proverbs chapter 7, he tells his son to write what he was telling him on the “tablet of his heart.” In otherwords, ingrain it into your very being so that you never forget what I am telling you. That’s how important that it was to Solomon. Wisdom is considering the outcomes and denying yourself momentary pleasures for long term treasures. Wisdom looks at all situations and seeks God’s input. Wisdom is, in fact, given by God. Wisdom is not something that you get only in your old age. Wisdom can be something that even a child can have.

I find it interesting that King Solomon spent so much time teaching his son about adultery. Could it be that after his father, King David, was restored and began to walk again with God, that he taught Solomon about adultery and told Solomon what had happened to his older sibling? Could David have wanted to spare Solomon the grief and heartache that he and Bathsheba had when their child, that was conceived in adultery, died? I would almost bet that was the case. After all, Solomon would have no reason to commit adultery. He had so many wives and concubines that he could probably see a different one each night for two years! My guess is that David suffered such a pain from the loss of his child and his fractured relationship with God, that he taught Solomon, who in turn, wanted to teach his own child. And this is how we should model our lives. We should grow wise from our mistakes and impart that wisdom to our children or family and friends.

Wisdom is choosing to follow the laws of God rather than the foolishness of man. Wisdom cries out for you to follow after her so you will have a long life and finish it well. Wisdom says for you to choose her rather than riches and glory. Who among us will take riches with them to heaven? Or glory? But wisdom to find the Lord and serve Him takes all you will have, but will give you so much more!

As I thought about wisdom in today’s world, and the lack of it, I thought about so many of our younger generation who have no clue as to what wisdom is, and who believe that a college education will make you wise. My heartbeat and prayer, and I hope that yours is too, will be for those of this upcoming generation to gain wisdom – to seek wisdom and to apply wisdom. Just as it was so important for Solomon to write those Proverbs to impart his wisdom to his son, so it is extremely important for us as parents, sisters, brothers, mothers, and fathers to impart wisdom to the younger generation. After all, their very soul is at stake.

And lest any of us forget, the Bible tells us that Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived. So, if he took his God-given wisdom and told his own son to write it on his heart, why should we be any different?

The Footsteps of Hagar

Have you ever given any real thought to Hagar, the Egyptian maid servant to Sarai? Until recently, I had not. But in recently reading over Genesis Chapter 16, it caught my eye that Hagar was Egyptian. I mean, I knew it before, so why was it such a curiosity to me this time? At what time did the Egyptian maid servant come to be in the household of Abraham? Why was she a servant to his household? And furthermore, and most importantly, why was she so important? So, I went back in Genesis to find the answer.

So here is this young, beautiful Egyptian lady, sent away from her homeland, and her family, into a strange culture. Sent away with a strange group of people who worshiped only one God and not the many God’s of the Egyptians. Sent to live with a family who did not love her, but wanted to use her to conceive a child for Sarai because Sarai was barren. This young Egyptian lady forced to marry and have sex with a man she knew not nor loved not. And after she is sent to do the bidding of Sarai, namely sleeping with Abram, she conceives a child, Abram’s child.

Back in Genesis Chapter 12 verse 10 we read that there was a famine in the land and so Abram (not yet changed to Abraham) went to Egypt to live there for a while. And as the story goes, he tried to pass off his wife, Sarai, as his sister, because he was afraid the Egyptians would kill him and take Sarai, because she was so beautiful. And so, because Pharaoh wanted her, he gave to Abram sheep, cattle, male and female donkeys, menservants and maidservants, and then he took Sarai. God didn’t like that situation much, and so God inflicted illness on the Pharaoh to hasten the return of Sarai to Abram, and then Pharaoh kicked Abram and everyone in his household, along with all he had, out of Egypt – including Hagar the Egyptian.

And here is where the story takes an unusual turn regarding Hagar. The Bible tells us that when she realized she was pregnant, she began to despise Sarai. Have you ever thought about that? I really hadn’t until now. The very word despise means to detest, loathe, hate or abhor. Hagar didn’t just dislike Sarai, she hated her. She loathed her. She detested her. She abhorred her. I think there could be many reasons or motives for her to despise Sarai.

Start with the forced marriage. I wouldn’t want to be told I have to have marry and have sex with someone against my own will. What could that scene have been like? Was it a “you will go into his tent and become his wife and have sex with him” type of scenario or you will pay the penalty? What would have happened to Hagar had she disobeyed? Not only was she having relations with a Jewish man, a man with different beliefs and culture than her, but now she was going to have to bear a child, a child who would still be nothing more than a slave, just as she was. This child who was not going to be Egyptian, but half Egyptian and half Jewish, would be born and given to Sarai, just to please Sarai’s selfishness and stroke her ego because she wanted to be a mother. How would it make you feel to have to bear a child and give it to someone knowing the child will never really be more than a slave? I would have despised Sarah, too. I have heard preachers say that Hagar taunted Sarah. Kind of like a “Ha, ha I am pregnant and you are not”, but that is not what the Bible says. It says, Hagar despised or hated Sarah. It doesn’t say she teased her.

Hatred takes on many forms. The Bible does not give specifics as to how Sarai knew Hagar hated her. All it tells us is that Sarai blames Abram, and he could care less about Hagar, the woman he has had intimate relations with and who is now carrying his child. He says to Sarai do what you think is best. Really? Do what you think is best? Wow! And so what does Sarai think is best? Apparently, she thinks mistreatment of Hagar, a pregnant young woman, is best. It doesn’t say what this mistreatment was, but apparently it was so bad that Hagar ran away.

But God was not done with Hagar. He had allowed her to come into the household of Abram, and He had allowed her to become pregnant, and now He was going to show this woman, this idolatrous Egyptian woman, about His love and His mercy and His provision. So, He finds her in the desert and He encourages her. Basically, he says, “Go back, and I will bless your descendants. I have seen you and your suffering and I will take care of you.” It must have been very difficult for her to return, but she obeys and God blesses her – this non-Jewish Egyptian. I think she must have been a very strong woman to return to someone like Sarai and to return to the household of Abram, the man who said, in effect “I don’t care anything about you – Sarai do what you want with her. It was only about sex for me.”

If you find yourself in a situation where you are running away from something, stop at the spring in the desert. Pray to God and tell him why you are running away. Listen to his voice and then obey, even if that obedience is difficult for you. Sometimes obedience is the most difficult thing you will have to do. But remember that God always has a plan. He blessed Hagar’s obedience by making her descendants too numerous to count. He will bless your obedience also. Remember this, you are always exactly where God wants you to be. Just like Hagar the Egyptian. Her place in history was carved out from the beginning, even though she knew it not. Yours is too.


The Lord is My Shepherd

Fear is an interesting thing, isn’t it?  For some people it is a non-sensible irrational type of emotion, while for others it is a real and paralyzing prison.  I never completely understood the full aspects of fear until July 2017.  It is interesting to me how the mind can take an event and pile it onto another event and then another until one day an event becomes the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

As a child growing up in a home with a less than functional normalcy, there were many many things that I encountered that no child should have to endur, yet I seemed to grow up and get passed them, or so my conscious mind wanted me to think.  But in the background, my unconscious mind was keeping track.  And then in 2017, things were going to change for me, and the emotion of fear would become a dark presence that would grip me in a way I hadn’t ever thought.  And even though I am a Christian and knew all the “proper” verses to quote during my troubled times, my mind, body, and soul seemed to have a disconnect to which I still have not fully recovered.

In early 2017 I had a pretty serious surgery and within days of being released from the hospital found myself in the emergency room with complications.  Before I knew it, a nurse was injecting several things into my IV, one of which made me feel as if I couldn’t breathe.  When I began telling her this, she seemed to almost discredit my concern and my chest continued to tighten and my legs started to jerk, among other things, and at one point I thought I was going to die on the table there in the emergency room.  I found myself unable to say anything audibly but repeated over and over in my head, “The Lord is My Shepherd, The Lord is My Shepherd, The Lord is My Shepherd.”  This was all I could think of for the period of time in which I thought I was going to meet my Maker.  I said it over and over for 30 minutes.  But believe it or not this situation was not my proverbial straw, but it was close and it was soon to follow.

The final straw came just a few months later as I watched my mother die, one fateful July day, in the Intensive Care.  It had been a horrible illness for her that had lasted years.  And while I knew she was going to die, I never expected what I witnessed.  As the breathing machine was taken off of her, prior to her death, she suddenly sat up and grasped my sister in desperation because she couldn’t breathe.  It was her final voiceless plea for help and comfort.  Then followed her collapsing backward and turning blue.  I did not know it at the time, but fear entered me.  Paralyzing fear.  A fear of death.  A fear of death that is irrational, especially for a Christian who believes that she will be immediately transported to Heaven upon death.

So I had sought counseling and still the fear is gripping.  It has my mind in shackles.  I cannot even take an ibuprofen without a fear that I will have a bad reaction (courtesy of the emergency room nurse!).  If I take that pill, I will begin to sweat and feel like I can’t breathe.  I have to mentally talk myself out of the physical situation I find myself in.  I have anxiety over the smallest things.  Irrational anxiety.  It doesn’t help that I work in a nursing home and am around death all day long reminding me of and feeding that fear.

So why is it I can not simply join the throngs of Christians who are “looking forward” to death because they will be with Christ?  Why do I not have joy over that comfort? I continue to ask myself this question.  Am I weak minded?  Am I really a non-believer in Christ’s promises?  Well this morning, I felt an overwhelming burden to pray and simply ask God for help.  And as always, God is faithful.  My mind went to Christ when he knew he was about to be arrested and face the ultimate – death.  He didn’t walk up to the soldiers haughtily and say, “Go ahead, do what you will.  I will be with God soon….you can kill the body but not the soul….yadda yadda yadda….”. He didn’t smile as he walked past the people in the streets watching him carry his cross.  He didn’t shout for glee when they nailed his hands and feet to the cross.  And if anyone knew about eternity it was him for goodness sake!!!!  He was God in human flesh, and that there is the key….he was in human flesh.  Flesh that feels pain.  Flesh that has emotion.

Jesus was in the garden praying prior to his death.  What was he saying?  “God if it 5AD4CA31-FD90-46FA-85B9-49EB7DAA167Dbe your will, take this cup from me! But not my will, but your will be done.”  Christ knowing the suffering he was about to endure asked God to take it from him, YET, stated at the end, but even though I am asking in my humanness, I want your will, your desire, your purpose to be accomplished.  So if Christ was praying and dreading what he was about to go thru, why would I be any different?  My soul knows the God of the Universe, but it does not know what it is like to be in eternity with God – Christ did.  So fear grips me, yes….I still have not completely overcome the mental trauma I went thru, but I know one thing……I am following in Christ’s footsteps…..my humanness does not want to suffer and die and that creates a fear in me….but my spirit says it is God’s will to take my life whenever he desires and I know He will be there on the other side.

I find the Bible and the words written therein can give us direction and comfort in any issue we are having in life.  I think this is why I recited, The Lord is My Shepherd so many times…He really is the Good Shepherd watching over his sheep and caring for them even in the darkest of times.

Did God Really Say Woman Is Inferior to Man?

I was following the geneology of Noah and came to the account of Terah.  The Bible doesn’t say much about Terah, but what it does say speaks volumes.  One of the only things that seemed to be of any importance about Terah was that he had three sons, or so I thought.  He had Abram, who eventually became Abraham, Nahor, and Haran.  And as I read about these three sons, I thought about how thru the nine generations or so after Noah, man once again had strayed from the direction of God’s will and imposed his own interpretation of the way things should be.

Take for example the three sons of Terah. All three of them had a very low opinion of   God’s role for the female creation.  I can only speculate that this thinking had been passed down for quite a while because certainly these three sons didn’t just wake up and decide it on their own one morning.

One of his son’s, Haran, was also the father of three children.  He had a daughter named Milcah, a second child named Iscah, who sex is not mentioned,  and Lot- yes, the same Lot from the Biblical account of Sodom and Gomorrah.

E9969430-9881-4617-BA54-70C87C5CD212Milcah, Haran’s daughter, was given to his brother, Nahor, in marriage.  Hence, he was Milcah’s uncle.  So this marriage was incestuous.  I have heard many people say that inter family marriage happened all the time back in those days.  Maybe so. But it was not necessary to marry that close in the blood line any longer.  There had been at least nine generations since Noah.  There was quite a group on the earth again, and these people were still living longer than you or I, meaning they each had lots of children, and those children had children and so on.   So,  I find it disturbing that Milcah, had to marry the man who had watched her grow up, whom she called Uncle.  It is perverted, regardless of whether or not families inter married.  Not only is it perverted on her Uncle Nahor’s side, but it is also disturbing that Haran gave his daughter to his brother.  I wonder what Haran got in return for her?  You know he would have received something.  Men traded women as they did cattle – for financial gain.  I wonder what the conversation was between Nahor and Haran.  Who initiated it?  Was it Nahor who just had to have Milcah as his wife, or was it Haran who wanted something that Nahor owned and so he traded his daughter for it?  Did it not bother him that his brother, who was many years older than his daughter,  was going to be having sex with his daughter?    Where is the value of her as a human being with feelings?   And Haran passed on this lack of care for a human woman to his own son, Lot.

If you recall that story, there was a group of men surrounding Lot’s home because Lot had two male visitors inside his home.  What did Lot do?  He told this group of men, a group so large that they surrounded his home, that he would give them his daughters, who were virgins, and they could do anything they wanted with his daughters.  In otherwords, he cared less if his two innocent daughters were gang raped by a group of filthy men.  I can only imagine the fear those girls must have had listening to their father says such a thing – knowing he didn’t care about their safety or value them as human beings.  They were pawns to be used as a man so intentioned.

And then there is Abram.  We want to believe he was a righteous man because God used him, but the fact is, he was no better than his brothers and his nephew, Lot when it came to valuing a woman.  Abram was married to Sarai, his half-sister,  and they were in the land of Egypt and to protect himself,  he has his wife Sarai lie and tell the Egyptians that she is his sister and not his wife so they will treat HIM well.  And all the while he is being treated well and having cattle and animals lavished on him, she is taken to the palace and made to be the wife of the Pharoah.  She was in a position of having to have sex with a man, other than her husband, risk having a child and did Abram care?  No.  He was taught, like his brothers, that woman are to be used for sex, bearing children, and bargaining them like property to better oneself or, as in this case, protect oneself.   This thinking was not of God.  Nowhere did God ever say for them to treat women in such a manner.  God’s directive was that a woman was to be a helper, not a slave, not a tool for barter, not a lower human creation.  After all, she too was made in the image of God.

Just thinking about this downfall of man shows how corrupt and perverted the human mind can become when left to its own.  I find it very interesting that before God used Abram, he told him to “leave your country, your people, and your father’s household.”  That shows me that God needed him away from the influence of the corrupt way of living and thinking and needed him to go elsewhere.  And God did use Abram, then.  He then became the Abraham that went on to become a faithful follower of God.

So for all the Bible doesn’t say about Terah in the geneology, it speaks volumes because it shows how the knowledge he imparted to his sons, was not from God.  And it shows how it filtered down thru his sons, and his son’s son, and actually continued for many generations.  But make no mistake, it was never a command from God.

 

What were they really trying to accomplish?

I was reading the story of Noah and wondering why the Bible makes a point to say, in Genesis Chapter 11, “now the whole world had one language and a common speech.”  I kept thinking to myself, isn’t that the same thing – language and speech?  And since Google and I are really good friends, I looked it up, and to my surprise, they are not the same thing.  If you are smarter than me, you already knew that.  But if you, like me, don’t know the difference, speech is the production of sounds that make up words and sentences, and language is how we use words and sentences to communicate ideas.  But knowing this still didn’t answer the question as to why both those terms were listed in the beginning of Chapter 11.  So I read on.

The Bible continues here to talk about how all the descendants of Noah had moved eastward and wanted to build a great tower of brick, instead of stone (keep that in BC14205C-27C7-4D51-B4AB-625C1660FBFDmind), and they wanted to also use tar for mortar.  They had a grand plan to build this tower that they thought could reach to the heavens.  And their reason for this?  “so they would make a name for themselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”  But, the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building.  And He put an end to their plans by confusing their language so they could not communicate with one another, and they would be forced to abandon the plan, divide off into groups, and go their own way.  As I thought about all of this,  I realized that God had to not only change the language – or the way they used the words and sentences to communicate ideas, but he had to change the speech so that the sounds they were making would also be foreign to one another.  Had He just changed the language, they might still have been able to piece together the ideas that each other had and continue on their project.  But changing the way they even formed words, made it that much more difficult to understand.  I equate this to, for example, the Mandarin language.  Not only is the speech extremely different from mine, but the way that they form their sentences is also very different.  This drastic change to these men had to signal to them that God was punishing them and scattering them.  Yes, I did say punishing them.  No, the Bible does not specifically state that.

Go back to the beginning of Genesis.  What was the original sin?  Eve wanting to “be like God”, thus eating the fruit.  What was the result? Punishment and being driven to another part of the earth.  What were these men, in Noah’s day, really trying to accomplish here?  They “wanted to make a tower that reaches to the heavens”. They wanted to “make a name for themselves.”  They, in essence wanted to be like gods (little g).  So the very act of relying on themselves and even how great their ideas were, like using brick instead of stone and tar for mortar, was placing their focus on themselves and not the God who had delivered their ancestors from a Great Flood.

Some people today are the same way.  They elevate and build themselves up, wanting everyone to focus on them and how great they and their accomplishments are.  We only need to watch a few of the award shows on TV to witness this “human worship”.  God was reminding the people in Noah’s day,  that His purpose for them is not to “make a name for themselves” and  not to have others worship  them and stand in awe of their accomplishments.  The focus needed to be then, just as it is today, only on God and to stand in awe of Him and what He has accomplished for us.

 

The Reason God HAD to save Noah

I find the account of Noah fascinating for one amazing reason and that reason is not that he built a mammoth ark and housed all the animals in it, etc.  While those facts are fascinating in their own right, the reason I am fascinated by that story is because I realize that God HAD to save Noah.  Yes, you read that right.  God had to save Noah becasue God could not wipe out all mankind as He wanted to do.  And for many years, I never really understood the purpose behind God saving Noah and his family.

We all know the story about the ark, the animals coming two by two, and the great flood.  But how many of us take a moment to realize that when God said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth – men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air, -for I am grieved that I have made them,”  that God HAD to save Noah.  Yes, that is true, and this account of Noah is in the Bible to show us more than just ‘God saw a good man in Noah and saved him and the animals.’

To understand why God had to save Noah, you need to go back to Genesis Chapter 3 verse 15.  Here is where God punished the serpent because he had tricked Eve into eating the fruit and disobeying God’s direct command for her and Adam not to eat the fruit.  And the punishment ends with these words, “and I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”  So what does that mean exactly and what does it have to do with Noah many generations later?  To start with, this punishment held within it a promise of God for the future redemption of man.  The redemption or “purchasing back” of man had to occur because, when Adam and Eve sinned, God could no longer walk with them in the Garden, as He had been doing,  because God is Holy, meaning He is without sin, and Adam and Eve had now brought sin into what was a sinless world, so God couldn’t fellowship with them any longer in the same way that He had been before.   So He punished them and the Serpent, but inside that punishment also made a way for man to fellowship with God in the future, and this redemption would come thru Jesus Christ.  So the enmity spoken of in the punishment of the Serpent is speaking of the coming of Jesus Christ, the offspring of the woman.

While on the Earth, Satan would attempt to “strike his heal” by organizing and propitiating Christ’s death on the earth.  And while Satan was successful in that event, what he was not smart enough to know was that the very death of Jesus Christ would be the very way Jesus would “crush his (Satan’s) head”.  Because Jesus’ death was the final perfect offering, for the sin of man, to pay for man’s redemption, so that man would be again able to fellowship with a Holy God for eternity.

So when God wanted to wipe out all mankind, He had to save a man and a woman in order to again propagate the earth in order to fulfill his promise in the Garden of Eden.  Noah fit the bill because he was a righteous man on the earth during a time when there was so much sin that “every inclination of man’s heart was mostly evil all the time.”  And so, by saving Noah and his family, God fulfilled a promise (because a holy God cannot lie), and thru the line of Noah, Jesus Christ would eventually be born in order to die to save the creation that God loved.

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Only one righteous man?

Have you ever given thought to verse 5 in Genesis chapter 6 that states “ …every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time….” referring to the status of the inhabitant’s on the earth during the time right before the Great Flood?

I have to stop there and really ask myself the question, ‘How can EVERY inclination be ONLY evil?’  How could there not be any good thought, at one time or another, in ANY of these people?  What had occurred on the earth to cause such a degeneration of society to this degree?  We know from the genealogy in Chapter 5 that thousands of years had passed since the Creation of man and the Garden of Eden.  So what exactly happened?  Were there no good people on the earth besides Noah?  I pause to ask you to think of our country, America.  Can you imagine within our population there being only ONE good person that God finds favor with enough to spare that person from destruction while pronouncing judgment on all the rest?  It is almost an inconceivable thought.  Yet this is what is written in the Bible.

I am more inclined to believe that the idea here that is being conveyed was that man’s moral compass had degenerated to such a degree and they had no remorse for their sins or the sins of their generation, nor did they consider God in anything they did.  God was a non-existent entity for them at that time.   Very similar to what is happening in our country and countries around the world today.  What exactly do I mean?

Take a simple example when I was in high school during the 80’s.  A pregnant girl was considered shameful and you thought of her with less than good thoughts.  You simply didn’t hang around with her.  In the same way, there was a certain respect that you had for parents and teachers and adults.  To attend church was a common practice and sin was considered exactly that – sin.  You simply didn’t have torture and murder as a commonplace news item.  Today, we accept pregnant teens as “normal” and disrespect to others as “common”.  Most people don’t attend church or attempt to help those less fortunate.  Videotaping torture is something people enjoy posting to social media.  We live in a very morally sick society.  Our moral compass today has degenerated drastically from even what it was even during my own short lifetime.  So it is not difficult to believe that after thousands of years since the Creation, it is more of a moral degeneration of society that is being described here than it is that man sat around and only thought of evil thoughts.  I believe this is the idea behind the “thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time” idea.  I can back up this thought process by looking at verse 11, “now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence.  God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways.”   And, in contrast,  God looked at Noah’s heart and realized he still had a good moral compass, and that out of all the inhabitants on the earth, Noah still had a heart for God and wanted to please God and do right – which is why Noah is written about as a righteous man.  However, even Noah had his faults and he could not have been perfectly good because we know that just shortly after the ark landing his sons find him drunk.  And while drunkenness was not a becoming quality, it was not a disqualifying character quality to condemn him to a watery grave as the others were condemned to. B48F10BA-5CB6-486A-A6EF-F798FCA3C5CB

But more so than any of this, I see in this passage how God hints to us as Noah being a pre-cursive type of savior to the preservation of the human race on the earth, just as Jesus Christ would be, but only Jesus Christ would be the perfect righteous man to save the human race for eternal salvation.

Coincidental Genealogy ?

In continuing my study in Genesis Chapter 4, I stopped to ponder the genealogyE529EA72-830F-41DA-9943-AAD0E2A3305A mentioned at the end of Chapter 4 and the beginning of Chapter 5 of Genesis.  I wonder if I just have a curious mind or if anyone else notices the incredible similarities between the names in the genealogy of Cain and the genealogy of Seth. They were brothers, but we know Cain was sent away for murdering his other brother, Abel.  So they didn’t live near each other.  And in describing the genealogy, the Bible does something very interesting, and I just couldn’t resist writing about it.

So first off, let me give you an initial visual before I show the oddities:

 

Cain’s descendants                                    Seth’s descendants

Enoch.                                                         Enosh

Irad.                                                              Kenan

Mehujael.                                                    Mahalel

Methushael.                                                Jared

Lamech.                                                       Enoch

.                                                                      Methusela

.                                                                       Lamech

.                                                                        Noah

So first I thought it was odd that the writer of Genesis goes into great detail to show how old Seth and his descendants were at the time they had a son, but does not indicated how much time elapsed between Cain and his descendants.  I also noticed the similarities in the names.  We see Cain had Enoch, Seth had Enosh – different by only one letter.  Then in Cain’s line we see Mehujael, while Seth’s line had Mahalel – close isn’t it?  Then we see on Cain’s side Methushael and on Seth’s side Methusela – again very close.  Both sides had a Lamech.  So of course my curious brain kept wondering.

As I continued to look, I couldn’t help but wonder if the writer of Genesis got it correct.  The spellings are so incredibly close that it is either a huge coincidence, error, or God wants us to see something.   But the oddities didn’t stop there.

If I take off the first four names on Seth’s side and start with Enoch and match up both sides like that, it gets even weirder.  You have this:

Cain’s side                    Seth’s side

Enoch                         Enoch

Irad                            Methusela

Methushael              Lamech

Lamech

If I eliminate Irad from Cain’s side then we have:

Enoch.                        Enoch

Methushael.             Methusela

Lamech.                     Lamech

Furthermore, in Cain’s geneology after Lamech it states Lamech had three sons and one daughter.  Odd, isn’t it that they list the daughter?  Her name was Naamah and guess what the name of the descendant on Seth’s side from Lamech was?  Noah.  So here we have:

Enoch.                       Enoch

Methushael.             Methusela

Lamech.                    Lamech

Naamah.                  Noah

So, since the writer did not mention the time lapse on Cain’s side, we have no idea if the time lines match up or not, but the oddity is too much for me to overlook.   Why are the names on both sides so similar?  Why did the writer include a time line for one and not the other? Why did they mention the daughter?  What was her importance? They did not consider women as heirs,  so why list her?  She obviously was well known for something or she would not have made it to the Bible. But, we do know that Noah, the last in our list here for Seth’s descendants, would go on to save the animals and a few human beings from the flood.

So in conclusion, this could all be coincidence or it could have a greater importance that God wants us to examine.  I just know one thing, the Bible is amazing and every time I think that there is nothing new there, I see something like this!

Lamech’s arrogance

Lamech, a fifth generation of Cain’s dependents, (if I have counted correctly) follows the same pattern of ungodliness as Cain did.  There is so much to discover about Lamech that the six verses he is mentioned in the Bible almost make him seem like a “passover reading”, so to speak. But his fifteen minutes of fame have a lot to show us.

Genesis chapter 4 verse 19 begins with the phrase, “Lamech married two women…”. Okay, let’s start there because it caused me to wonder when did the marrying of multiple women come into existence?  It wasn’t as though one of his wives had died and the other was the second wife – verse 23 disputes that fact.  So it is stated as if the marrying of more than one woman had been a practice for a while because the writer of Genesis never comments on it other than to say “Lamech married two women” – sort of nonchalantly.   So logically,  somewhere between Cain “laying with his wife (singular)” in verse 17 and Lamech being married to two women in verse 19, life on the earth had changed quite drastically from God’s original plan of one man and one woman, as in Adam and Eve.  Now this “marrying of more than one woman” might not have been the practice every where on earth at the time, but it was certainly the practice in the Cainite civilization and the city of Enoch, which Cain had built.

And so we see that Lamech called his wives together in verse 23 and explains to them that he, like his ancestor Cain, is also a murderer.  He states, “I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me.”  The Bible doesn’t tell us what type of “wound” it was.  Maybe it was a territorial argument and a physical fight.  Maybe it was a financial wound in that the “young man” stole a piece of property owned by Lamech, like a sheep or something.  The two important things here are that the man was “young” and Lamech had a foul temper – a temper so foul that instead of dealing with a situation as an adult, he resorted to murder and hatred for another human being – very similar to Cain.  And was the young man a teenager?  The writer made special note that it was a young man not an adult man.  Was the penalty for killing a “young man” different during those times?  I don’t know.

It is also important to make you aware that he told his wives about it.  Doesn’t it make you wonder why?  Men during those days did not value a woman’s opinion, nor were women treated like anything other than property and baby machines.  So isn’t it curious that he tells his wives about his crime? It is almost as if he is running or hiding in a way, like, “Quick come here, I have to tell you this before anyone else shows up or finds out.”  Was he expecting his wives to cover for him in some way?  Was he going to run away and he needed to tell them before he left?  We can only wonder.

But it is his arrogance in the next verse, verse 24, that I find incredible.  He states, “If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times.”  So first off, we are aware that God had placed a mark on Cain after Cain had killed Abel and God was sending him away so that if anyone attempted to kill Cain, then they would suffer vengeance seven times over – a vengeance decreed from Almighty God.  But at this point in the Bible when Lamech makes his statement, we are unaware of anyone who attempted to harm Cain, and furthermore, the knowledge of this “vengeance” had been passed down through multiple generations because Lamech knew of it.  Maybe the noticeable mark on Cain was a physical marking that somehow set him apart from the others and so when people talked about why Cain was different it became known what he had done to his brother Abel and the vengeance decreed against anyone who tried to “avenge” Abel’s blood.   Again, we do not know.  All we know is that Lamech knows about the vengeance if anyone were to harm Cain because Lamech mentions it in his statement to his wives. B124624A-3D36-45A7-9CE8-43E4CE051902

But here Lamech thinks that his own sin of murder isn’t possibly as bad as Cain’s and therefore he (Lamech) should have more vengeance if someone tries to harm him because of his sin.  Basically, he is saying, “Listen my wives.  While it is true I did something bad, it wasn’t nearly as bad as what Cain did.  I was JUSTIFIED because that man injured me, whereas Cain killed Abel when Abel did nothing to him to deserve it.  The man I killed deserved it.”  Doesn’t it amaze you how he tries to justify his sin of murder and make himself out to be the victim in the situation? And doesn’t it amaze you how he feels that he is worthy to pass judgement on anyone who tries to harm him because of his sin?

It is of further curiosity to see how the writer of Genesis leaves the story there.  He mentions it and then nothing further is noted.  Why even mention it?  It had to have some importance if it were to be mentioned and included in the Bible.  I think the lessons here are to show us that civilization had continued to degrade into a downward sinful spiral.  That only five generations removed from the first-born child of Adam and Eve,  man had continued to disregard God and HIS laws.  It also shows us that man had no reverence for God in that man thought he could place himself into the righteous seat of God and invoke a binding punishment on his fellow man.

We never hear from Lamech again, nor do we know what happened to him.  I do know this, however.  Lamech eventually died, whether by the hands of another or by natural causes.  Lamech’s sin will be judged and he will be held to account by the only One who can pronounce judgement – God – and this God sees all and saw the truth to what Lamech had done – just as He does with us.