King Solomon, in
his advises to youths, "The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear
God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God
will bring every act to judgement, everything which is hidden, whether it is
good or evil" (Ecc 12:13,14).
King David in his
psalms tells us, "O Lord, who may abide in thy tent? Who may dwell on thy holy hill. He who walks with integrity, and works
righteousness. And speaks truth in
his heart" (Ps 15:1-2). Even
though God accepts sinners, we learn here that only those who fear God, keep His commandments, the righteous and the truthful
can be near God.
important even in the secular world.
It goes without saying that as Christians, we should be all the more careful
to glorify God in all our deeds and words.
of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all the innermost parts of his
being" (Prov 20:27). Just as Asaph's
psalm says, 'I will remember my song in the night, I will meditate with my
heart; and my spirit ponders" (Ps 77:6), What we
fear is if the inner lamp dims. God
gives all of us the ability to "self-examine" the lamp in our
souls. Without this ability, one
would be without conscience. We can
see that many people in the world today lack this lamp in their souls. Without it, one knows not even to
repent. If we do not meditate with
our own hearts, how would we respond to others' inquiries?
GOD ASKED EVE, "WHAT IS THIS
YOU HAVE DONE?" (Gen 3:1-13)
When Eve ate of
the forbidden fruit, she was afraid to see God. When God asked her, "What is this
you have done?", she said, "The serpent
deceived me, and I ate." Because Eve sinned, sin entered into the world,
"and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all
sinned" (Rom 5:12).
tempted and deceived grew out of her own personal lusts. She gave a chance to the devil. James suggests that "each one is
tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives
birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death" (James
Actually, Eve had already desired the forbidden fruit when it looked
good to eat. She gave a chance to
the devil when she lusted with her eyes and desired to eat of it (I Jn 2:16). She reached
out to take the fruit because she gave way to lust, and sin was conceived,
which brought forth death.
commandments are absolute, have been tried and will never change. It is a pity that Eve did not regard the
Words of God, thereby forfeiting her life.
God's Words are "spirit and are life" (Jn
6:63). Jesus also said, "If
you keep My commandments, you will abide in My
love" (Jn 15: 10). Without keeping the commandments of God,
Eve's end was eternal isolation from the love of God.
THE LORD SAID TO CAIN, "WHAT
HAVE YOU DONE?" (Gen 4)
In the second
generation of mankind, a tragic murder occurred
involving two brothers.
When Cain killed
his brother, Abel, God asked him where his brother was. He gave the infamous reply, "I do
not know. Am I my brother's
keeper?" God asked, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's
blood is crying to Me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground,
which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you cultivate the ground, it shall
no longer yield its strength to you; you shall be a vagrant and a wanderer on
the earth" (v.9-12). Cain killed his brother. Should God not inquire of it? Could God not punish Cain?
The Bible teaches
us to love one another; if we do not love the brethren that we can see, how
could we love the God that we cannot see? (I Jn 4:20)
We also learn that, "We know that we have passed out of death into life,
because we love the brethren. He
who does not love abides in death.
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no
murderer has eternal life abiding in him" (I Jn
3:14-15). Here we learn a hard
lesson that we must love one another for to hate is to murder.
Jesus also said,
"You have heard that the ancients were told, 'you
shall not commit murder' and Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the
court.' But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be
guilty before the court; and whoever shall say to his brother, 'Raca,' shall be guilty before the supreme
court; and whoever shall say, 'You fool, 'shall be guilty enough to go
into the fiery hell. If therefore
you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your
brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar,
and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present
your offering." (Mt 5:21-24)
"Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a
sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart"
(I Pet 1:22). We are to love one
another from the heart in sincerity and in our actions, as opposed to only
paying lip-service. By loving one
another, multitudes of sins are covered.
Cain killed his brother because he did not have love, thereby increasing
SAMUEL ASKED SAUL, "WHAT HAVE
YOU DONE?" (I Samuel 13)
were besieged by the great army of the Philistines in a battle. Saul grew impatient while waiting for
Samuel, so he offered the burnt offerings to God himself. When Samuel the prophet came, he asked,
"What have you done?" Because Saul did not obey God's commandments
and took it upon himself to do what he thought was right, Samuel rebuked him,
"You have acted foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the Lord
your God, which He commanded you, for now the Lord would have established your
kingdom over Israel forever (v.8-13).
battle, came another one against the Amalekites. Saul still did not repent. This time God promised him victory and
commanded him to destroy the entire enemy including the spoils in it’s
entirely. He not only did not
follow God's orders by not killing the enemy's king and by keeping some of the
spoils, he had the audacity to tell Samuel that he had saved the choice flock
to offer to God as sacrifice. To
that, Samuel answered, "Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings
and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than
sacrifice. And to heed the fat of
rams." (I Sam 15:22-23).
From Saul's case,
we learn the importance of keeping God's commandments. Saul lost his reign as king as well as
his life. It would do us well to
learn from Jesus Christ, who was humble and submitted Himself to God's will in
service unto death (Phil 2:6-8).
Jesus said, "Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me" (Mt 11:29).
THE MEN ON THE SHIP ASKED JONAH,
"HOW COULD YOU DO THIS?" (Jonah)
Jonah was a
prophet during the reign of King of Israel, Jeroboam II. The time was
approximately 793 to 752 BC (II Kings 14:23-27). God wanted him to preach warnings to the
Ninevites, but he took off in another direction
towards Tarshish (what is now Tarifa
of Spain). The ship he was on
encountered a raging storm and all the passengers including the captain of the
ship were in disarray praying each to their gods for deliverance. A lot was cast and it pointed to Jonah
as being the cause. They asked him
all sorts of questions including how he could flee from God. Jonah explained what happened and
suggested that throwing him overboard would solve the problem of abating the
stone (John 1:15).
It may be
difficult for us to perceive, why as a prophet, Jonah would be so bold as to
out-rightly disobey God.
David told God,
"O Lord, Thou hast searched me and known me. Thou dost know when I sit down and when
I rise up; Thou dost understand my thought from afar Thou dost scrutinize my
path and my lying down, And art intimately acquainted
with all my ways. ... Where can I go from Thy Spirit? Or where can I flee from Thy
presence? If I ascend to heaven,
Thou art there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold,
Thou art there" (Ps 139:1-3,7,8).
God tells us
through the prophet Jeremiah, " Am I a God who is near,' declares the
Lord, And not a God far off? Can a
man hide himself in hiding places, so I do not see him? declares
the Lord. 'Do I not fill the
heavens and the earth? declares the Lord" (Jer 23:23,24).
The sacred eyes
of the Lord are everywhere. We must
be submissive to our missions whatever they may be and not run away from
them. Jonah was self-righteous and
thought it reasonable to run away from this particular mission (Jonah 4:1-9).
Romans 10 verse 3
says, "For not knowing about God's righteousness, and seeking to establish
their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God."
What this verse means is that when we do not know what is right, what the will
of God is and if we define God's will in our own way, then
there is a very good chance that the true will of God gets lost in the
shuffle. And nobody wins.
"So then do
not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is" (Eph 5:17).
Eve, Cain, Saul, and Jonah all sinned in various degrees, but the four people
all made one common mistake -- that is, they disregarded the will of God and
went in their own directions. They
gave more weight to what they personally felt, understood and desired to do.
As Christians, it
is expected of us to follow the will of God. "For if we live, we live for the
Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord.“ (Rom 14:8). That is, total
devotion -unto death. If we put
more effort on personal cultivation, our spiritual maturity will render the
many tricks of Satan as meaningless pranks which have no effect on us. May all Christians grow in God's Truth,
be able to discern, and reach God's definition of perfection. Amen.